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Spencer, Herbert

(1820–1903). B. Derby, Derbyshire, N cen. Eng. His philos., a materialistic monism* influenced by A. Comte's* positivism,* distinguishes bet. the knowable and the unknowable. To explain the knowable, he developed a system of philos. influenced by the theory of evolution, which he applied also to mental and soc. phenomena; coined the phrase “survival of the fittest.” Held that all religion began in ancestor* worship. Works include a series projected as A System of Philosophy, of which the following appeared: First Principles; The Principles of Biology; The Principles of Psychology; The Principles of Sociology; The Principles of Ethics. See also Agnosticism; Skepticism.

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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