Herbert Spencer Biography
(Philosopher and Sociologist Known for His Hypothesis of ‘Social Darwinism’ and the Expression 'Survival of the Fittest')
Birthday: April 27, 1820 (Taurus)
Born In: Derby, Derbyshire, England
Herbert Spencer, a leading figure in the intellectual revolution of the nineteenth century England, was a noted philosopher, sociologist, biologist, anthropologist and a political theorist. Born to a nonconformist father, he was educated at home first by his father and then by his uncle in mathematics and science. Later he acquired his vast knowledge as much through personal reading as from conversations with his friends. He was an early advocate of the theory of evolution, coining the famous phrase, ‘Survival of the Fittest’. He believed that the principles of evolution, including the theory of the natural selection, apply as much to the human societies as to individual beings and other biological species. He also advocated the supremacy of individual over society and science over religion. However, he believed that individualism would come into effect only after a socialist era and subsequent war. Though himself a liberal, he feared that in coming days liberalism will give rise to a new kind of despotism, far worse than any despot of the past.