Course Content
Survival of the Fittest
Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer
Moral Actions – Spencer
Types of Cooperation – Herbert Spencer
Critique of Communism and Socialism
Society as a Thing – Spencer and Realism
Comparative-Historical Method
Value Free Sociology of Spencer
Criticism of Herbert Spencer
Herbert Spencer
    About Lesson

    Social Darwinism

    Spencer said that sociologists shouldn’t be in charge of changing society. He said that if they did, it would stop a natural process that makes societies better. Instead, societies are changing from more “barbaric” to more “civilized” ways of living.

    As generations pass, only the most intelligent and capable people in a society (called “the fittest”) remain, while the weaker ones die out. If misguided “do-gooders” don’t get in the way and help the less fit (the lower classes) survive, these fittest people improve society.

    Spencer called this the “survival of the fittest” principle. Spencer said that societies change over time as the best people adapt to their surroundings.

    Darwin took this idea and applied it to living things. Spencer’s theory is called “social Darwinism” because Darwin is better known.

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    Sociology Plus