Herbert Spencer

"...either there has been the inheritance of acquired characters or there has been no evolution..." (1893)

Widely influential, if self-taught British philosopher, a popularizer of evolutionary theory as far back as 1851. Coined the term "survival of the fittest" and popularized the term "evolution." Had strong Lamarckian and progressivist leanings, advocating laissez-faire economics in accord with "social Darwinian" theories that actually had little to do with natural selection per se. Like Butler, he opposed Weismann and nearly abandonded natural selection in the 1890's. A member of the X-Club, and a close friend of Huxley until a feud in later years.


Studied under:



Key publications:

Lefalophodon Home - Timeline - Bibliography - Related Sites - Comments & Suggestions