|Biography: Herbert Spencer |
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was an English philosopher, scientist, engineer, and political economist. In his day his works were important in popularizing the concept of evolution and played an important part in the development of economics, political science, biology, and philosophy.
Herbert Spencer was born in Derby on April 27, 1820. 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. His father, a teacher, had been a Wesleyan, but he separated himself from organized religion as he did from political and social authority. Spencer's father and an uncle saw that he received a highly individualized education that emphasized the family traditions of dissent and independence of thought. He was particularly instructed in the study of nature and the fundamentals of science, neglecting such traditional subjects as history.
Spencer initially followed up the scientific interests encouraged by his father and studied engineering. For a few years, until 1841, he practiced the profession of civil engineer as an employee of the London and Birmingham Railway. His interest in evolution is said to have arisen from the examination of fossils that came from the rail-road cuts.
Spencer left the railroad to take up a literary career and to follow up some of his scientific interests. He began by contributing to The Non-Conformist, writing a series of letters called The Proper Sphere of Government. This was his first major work and contained his basic concepts of individualism and laissez-faire, which were to be... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2009, 11). Herbert Spencer Essay. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 11, 2009, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Herbert-Spencer-Essay-256614.html
"Herbert Spencer Essay" StudyMode.com. 11 2009. 11 2009 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Herbert-Spencer-Essay-256614.html>.
"Herbert Spencer Essay." StudyMode.com. 11, 2009. Accessed 11, 2009. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Herbert-Spencer-Essay-256614.html.