42 Herbert Spencer Quotes | Kidadl


42 Herbert Spencer Quotes

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Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher and sociological theorist who was best known for social Darwinism, an evolutionary theory asserting that evolution's principles and processes include innate selection for individuals and society.

He published various books and articles, including 'The Principles Of Sociology', 'The Principles Of Biology', a piece supporting the idea of biological evolution, and an essay, 'Progress: Its Laws and Cause', in the Westminster Review. Below is a list of Herbert Spencer quotes about ideas, scientific pursuits, human happiness, and self-control.

Herbert Spencer Quotes On Education

The following is a list of educational quotes from the classical liberal political theorist and philosopher Herbert Spencer.

“When a man's knowledge is not in order, the more of it he has the greater will be his confusion.” 

- 'The Study Of Sociology', 1873.

“Before he can remake his society, his society must make him.”

“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.”

“Only when Genius is married to Science can the highest results be produced.” 

- 'Education: Intellectual, Moral, And Physical', 1861.

“Be bold, be bold, and everywhere be bold.”

“But the order is not intrinsically indifferent, and hence the fundamental reason why education should be a repetition of civilization in little.” 

- 'Education: Intellectual, Moral, And Physical', 1861.

“Education has for its object the formation of character.”

“Education is preparation to live completely.”

“Opinion is ultimately determined by feelings, and not by the intellect.”

“Reading is seeing by proxy — is learning indirectly through another man's faculties instead of directly through one's own.” 

- 'The Study Of Sociology', 1873.

“The wise man must remember that while he is a descendant of the past, he is a parent of the future.”

“Progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity…It is a part of nature.”

(Check out the best educational and informative Herbert Spencer quotes.)

Famous Herbert Spencer Quotes

These quotes of the philosopher, Herbert Spencer, are about ideas, society, culture, civilization, and life.

“Civilization is a progress from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity toward a definite, coherent heterogeneity.”

“Whatever fosters militarism makes for barbarism; whatever fosters peace makes for civilization.”

“It is provable both that the historical sequence was, in its main outlines, a necessary one; and that the causes which determined it apply to the child as to the race.”

“The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality. The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.”

“In science, the important thing is to modify and change one's ideas as science advances.”

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”

“All socialism involves slavery. Every cause produces more than one effect.”

“Marriage: A word which should be pronounced 'mirage'.”

“Love is life's end, but never-ending. Love is life's wealth, never spent, but ever-spending. Love's life's reward, rewarded in rewarding.”

“The most important attribute of man as a moral being is the faculty of self-control.”

“They who employ force by proxy are as much responsible for that force as though they employed it themselves.”

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance - that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

“This survival of the fittest which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms is that which Mr. Darwin has called 'natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life.” 

- 'The Principles Of Biology, Vol 1', 1864.

“...if the thing denied is the possibility of reducing Sociology to the form of an exact science; then the rejoinder is that the thing denied is a thing which no one has affirmed.” 

- 'The Study Of Sociology', 1973.

“Objects we ardently pursue bring little happiness when gained; most of our pleasures come from unexpected sources.”

“A function to each organ, and each organ to its own function, is the law of all organization.”

“The forces which are working out the great scheme of perfect happiness, taking no account of incidental suffering, exterminate such sections of humanity as a stand in their way, with the same sternness that they exterminate beasts of prey and herds of useless ruminants.”

Popular Herbert Spencer Quotes

Here is a list of the most popular and well-known quotes from the English philosopher and sociological theorist Herbert Spencer.

“Those who have never entered upon scientific pursuits know not a tithe of the poetry by which they are surrounded.”

“The more specific idea of Evolution now reached is - a change from an indefinite, incoherent homogeneity to a definite, coherent heterogeneity, accompanying the dissipation of motion and integration of matter.”

“Society exists for the benefit of its members – not the members for the benefit of society.” 

- 'Principles Of Ethics', 1879.

“The belief, not only of the socialist but of those so-called Liberals who are diligently preparing the way for them is that by due skill ill-working humanity may be framed into well-working initiations. It is a delusion.”

“No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.”

“If a single cell, under appropriate conditions, becomes a man in the space of a few years, there can surely be no difficulty in understanding how, under appropriate conditions, a cell may, in the course of untold millions of years, give origin to the human race.” 

- 'The Principles Of Biology, Vol 1', 1864.

“Increasing power of a growing administrative organization is accompanied by decreasing power of the rest of the society to resist its further growth and control.” 

- 'The Principles Of Sociology', 1879.

“In the course of social evolution, usage precedes law; and that when usage has been well established it becomes law by receiving authoritative endorsement and defined form.”

“What, then, do they want a government for? Not to regulate commerce; not to educate the people; not to teach religion, not to administer charity; not to make roads and railways, but simply to defend the natural rights of man.”

“A living thing is distinguished from a dead thing by the multiplicity of the changes at any moment taking place in it.”

“Time: That which man is always trying to kill, but which ends in killing him.”

“Nay, indeed, have we not seen that government is essentially immoral? Is it not the offspring of evil, bearing about it all the marks of its parentage?” 

- 'The Right to Ignore the State', 1851.

“Much dearer be the things which come through hard distress.”

Written By
Joan Agie

<p>With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.</p>

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