Nevertheless, by the end of his life, his political views were no longer as popular as they had once been, and the dominant currents in liberalism allowed for a more interventionist state. We self-consciously invest our utilitarianism with stringent liberal principles in order to advance our well-being as never before. His childhood, described in An Autobiography 1904 , reflected the attitudes of a family which was known on both sides to include religious nonconformists, social critics, and rebels. It should be noted that Spencer published his idea of the evolution of biological species before the views of and the British naturalist were known. It resolutely though judiciously embraces indefeasible moral rights as necessary conditions of general happiness, making utilitarianism rigorously and uncompromisingly liberal. If Mill and Sidgwick are critical to making sense of our liberal canon, then Spencer is no less critical. The Factors of Organic Evolution.
Indeed, Mill regarded this difference as the fundamental one between them. Regrettably, this ideological reconstruction of new liberals like Green and Bosanquet continues largely unabated see Skinner, 2002: 16. Recommended for general historical background are Ernest Barker, Political Thought in England, 1848-1914 1915; 2d ed. He argued that there is a gradual specialization in things--beginning with biological organisms--towards self-sufficiency and individuation. Although he found that, because of his ill health, he could write for only a few hours each day, he embarked upon a lengthy project--the nine-volume A System of Synthetic Philosophy 1862- 93 --which provided a systematic account of his views in biology, sociology, ethics and politics. Changing philosophical fashions and ideological agendas invariably doom us to reconstructing incessantly our political philosophical heritage. He was born in Derby, Derbyshire, England.
While progress was an inevitable characteristic of evolution, it was something to be achieved only through the free exercise of human faculties see Social Statics. The purpose of each science or field of investigation was to accumulate data and to derive from these phenomena the basic principles or laws or 'forces' which gave rise to them. In both he found a regulative system the central in the one, government in the other , a sustaining system alimentation in the one case, industry in the other , and a distribution system veins and arteries in the first; roads, telegraphs, etc. They are interim devices conditional on our moral imperfection. Indefeasible liberty, properly formulated, and utility were therefore fully compossible.
And whenever common sense fails us with conflicting or foggy guidance, we have little choice but to engage in order-restoring, utilitarian calculation. He prophetically saw in the industrial might of the United States the seeds of world power. Spencer, by contrast, had more grandiose aspirations for repairing utilitarianism. They consequently promote general happiness indirectly. Born Methodist, he later drifted to Quakerism.
One's 'moral sense,' then, led to the recognition of the existence of individual rights, and one can identify strains of a rights-based ethic in Spencer's writings. When parliaments attempt to do more than protect the rights of their citizens by, for example, 'imposing' a conception of the good--be it only on a minority--Spencer suggested that they are no different from tyrannies. Spencer's ethics and political philosophy, then, depends on a theory of 'natural law,' and it is because of this that, he maintained, evolutionary theory could provide a basis for a comprehensive political and even philosophical theory. Due to his ill-health he could not go to any conventional school. Moral societies are happier societies and more vibrant and successful to boot. Although many of his specific ideas are no longer fashionable, Spencer went a long way in helping to establish the separate existence of sociology as a social science. His father, a teacher, had been a Wesleyan, but he separated himself from organized religion as he did from political and social authority.
As individuals become increasingly aware of their individuality, they also become aware of the individuality of others and, thereby, of the law of equal freedom. He left provision in his will for it to be completed after his death. He could hardly overcome it completely. Spencer left the railroad to take up a literary career and to follow up some of his scientific interests. In his early writings, Spencer defended a number of radical causes-- particularly on land nationalization, the extent to which economics should reflect a policy of laissez-faire, and the place and role of women in society--though he came to abandon most of these causes later in his life. He denied as Darwin had argued that evolution was based on the characteristics and development of the organism itself and on a simple principle of natural selection. First Principles was published in 1862, and between then and 1896, when the third volume of The Principles of Sociology appeared, the task was completed.
He died at Brighton on Dec. This 'synthetic philosophy' brought together a wide range of data from the various natural and social sciences and organized it according to the basic principles of his evolutionary theory. Spencer also wrote on the most controversial issues of the day such as — opposition to Boer War, proposal for the introduction of the metric system in England etc. His views concerning a science of sociology are elaborated in two major works, Descriptive Sociology published in 17 volumes, 1873-1934 and The Study of Sociology 1873. We have salvaged utilitarianism as a happiness-promoting, if not a happiness-maximizing, consequentialism.
. Promoting utility is never simply a matter of choosing options, especially when much is at stake, by calculating and critically comparing utilities. For both Spencer and Sidgwick, utilitarian practical reasoning exposes, refines and systematizes our underlying moral intuitions, which have thus far evolved in spite of their under-appreciated utility. Spencer followed earlier liberalism, then, in maintaining that law is a restriction of liberty and that the restriction of liberty, in itself, is evil and justified only where it is necessary to the preservation of liberty. He concluded the evolution of an organism was circumstantial and heavily influenced by its surrounding. Herbert Spencer: Structure, Function and Evolution. His father, George, was a school teacher, but an unconventional man, and Spencer's family were Methodist 'Dissenters,' with Quaker sympathies.
In 1881, after publication of eight volumes, the project had to be abandoned due to lack of funds; but he never gave it up. Moral Philosophy Spencer saw human life on a continuum with, but also as the culmination of, a lengthy process of evolution, and he held that human society reflects the same evolutionary principles as biological organisms do in their development. Evolution theory can be considered the foundation of both spencer and Durkheim theoretical work. Social philosophy in the latter part of the 19th century in the United States was dominated by Spencer. His father, William George Spencer, was a rebel of the times and cultivated in Herbert an anti-authoritarian attitude. Happily, in rehabilitating him, some scholars have begun to appreciate just how fundamentally utilitarian his practical reasoning was.