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Herbert Spencer (1820 – 1903)


English philosopher, prominent classical liberal political theorist, and sociological theorist of the Victorian era.
Herbert Spencer
The blindness of those who think it absurd to suppose that complex organic forms may have arisen by successive modifications out of simple ones becomes astonishing when we remember that complex organic forms are daily being thus produced. A tree differs from a seed immeasurably in every respect... Yet is the one changed in the course of a few years into the other: changed so gradually, that at no moment can it be said—Now the seed ceases to be, and the tree exists.
Spencer quotes
The saying that beauty is but skin deep is but a skin-deep saying.
Spencer
The universal basis of co-operation is the proportioning of benefits received to services rendered.




Spencer Herbert quotes
Surely if a single cell may, when subjected to certain influences, become a man in the space of twenty years; there is nothing absurd in the hypothesis that under certain other influences, a cell may, in the course of millions of years, give origin to the human race.
Spencer Herbert
Should the believers in special creations consider it unfair thus to call upon them to describe how special creations take place, I reply that this is far less than they demand from the supporters of the Development Hypothesis. They are merely asked to point out a conceivable mode. On the other hand, they ask, not simply for a conceivable mode, but for the actual mode.
Herbert Spencer quotes
A clever theft was praiseworthy amongst the Spartans; and it is equally so amongst Christians, provided it be on a sufficiently large scale.
Herbert Spencer
The tyranny of Mrs. Grundy is worse than any other tyranny we suffer under.
Spencer Herbert quotes
Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts — as the one which, more than any other, ministers to human welfare.
Spencer
He who carries self-regard far enough to keep himself in good health and high spirits, in the first place thereby becomes an immediate source of happiness to those around, and in the second place maintains the ability to increase their happiness by altruistic actions. But one whose bodily vigour and mental health are undermined by self-sacrifice carried too far, in the first place becomes to those around a cause of depression, and in the second place renders himself incapable, or less capable, of actively furthering their welfare. In estimating conduct we must remember that there are those who by their joyousness beget joy in others, and that there are those who by their melancholy cast a gloom on every circle they enter.
Spencer Herbert
We have, indeed, in the part taken by many scientific men in this controversy of "Law versus Miracle," a good illustration of the tenacious vitality of superstitions. Ask one of our leading geologists or physiologists whether he believes in the Mosaic account of the creation, and he will take the question as next to an insult. Either he rejects the narrative entirely, or understands it in some vague non-natural sense. ...Whence ...this notion of "special creations"...Why, after rejecting all the rest of the story, he should strenuously defend this last remnant of it, as though he had received it on valid authority, he would be puzzled to say.
Herbert Spencer
Education has for its object the formation of character. To curb restive propensities, to awaken dormant sentiments, to strengthen the perceptions, and cultivate the tastes, to encourage this feeling and repress that, so as finally to develop the child into a man of well proportioned and harmonious nature — this is alike the aim of parent and teacher.




Herbert Spencer quotes
The Republican form of government is the highest form of government; but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature — a type nowhere at present existing.
Herbert Spencer
The essential trait in the moral consciousness, is the control of some feeling or feelings by some other feeling or feelings.
Spencer quotes
We have a priori reasons for believing that in every sentence there is some one order of words more effective than any other; and that this order is the one which presents the elements of the proposition in the succession in which they may be most readily put together.
Spencer Herbert
Every cause produces more than one effect.
Spencer Herbert quotes
Ethical ideas and sentiments have to be considered as parts of the phenomena of life at large. We have to deal with man as a product of evolution, with society as a product of evolution, and with moral phenomena as products of evolution.
Herbert Spencer
That the uneducated and the ill-educated should think the hypothesis that all races of beings, man inclusive, may in process of time have been evolved from the simplest monad, a ludicrous one, is not to be wondered at. But for the physiologist, who knows that every individual being is so evolved—who knows, further, that in their earliest condition the germs of all plants and animals whatever are so similar, "that there is no appreciable distinction amongst them, which would enable it to be determined whether a particular molecule is the germ of a Conferva or of an Oak, of a Zoophyte or of a Man";—for him to make a difficulty of the matter is inexcusable.
Herbert Spencer quotes
Like the majority of men who are born to a given belief they demand the most rigorous proof of any adverse belief but assume that their own needs none.
Herbert Spencer
When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.
Spencer Herbert
The pursuit of individual happiness within those limits prescribed by social conditions, is the first requisite to the attainment of the greatest general happiness.


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