Herbert Spencer Quotes

Who is Herbert Spencer?

Herbert Spencer was an English philosopher, biologist, anthropologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist of the Victorian era. He is most famous for coining the phrase "survival of the fittest" based on Charles Darwin's natural selection.

Born April 27, 1820
Died December 08, 1903

Books by Herbert Spencer


Best 33 Quotes by Herbert Spencer – Page 1 of 2

“All evil results from the non-adaptation of constitution to conditions. This is true of everything that lives.”

“All socialism involves slavery.”

“And yet, strange to say, now that the truth [of natural selection] is recognized by most cultivated people... now more than ever, in the history of the world, are they doing all they can to further the survival of the unfittest.”

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

“Consumptive patients, with lungs incompetent to perform the duties of lungs, people with defective hearts that break down under excitement of the circulation, people with any constitutional flaw preventing the due fulfillment of the conditions of life are continually dying out and leaving behind those fit for the climate, food, and habits to which they are born... And thus is the race kept free from vitiation.”

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

“Evil perpetually tends to disappear.”

“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.”

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

“Science is organized knowledge.”

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

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

“The profoundest of all infidelities is the fear that the truth will be bad.”

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

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“Those who cavalierly reject the Theory of Evolution, as not adequately supported by facts, seem quite to forget that their own theory is supported by no facts at all.”

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

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“An entirely new dispensation has been given to the world. All the materials and forces of nature have been thus placed completely under the control of one of the otherwise least powerful of the creatures inhabiting the earth. Nature has thus been made the servant of man.”


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

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

An Autobiography, Part 1 Quotes

“No man is equal to his book. All the best products of his mental activity go into his book, where they come separated from the mass of inferior products with which they are mingled in his daily talk.”

An Autobiography, Part 1

Essays on Education Quotes

“Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry, may truly be called the efflorescence of civilised life.”

Essays on Education

“Every cause produces more than one effect.”

Essays on Education

“Music must take rank as the highest of the fine arts — as the one which, more than any other, ministers to human welfare.”

Essays on Education

Essays: Scientific, Political, and Speculative Quotes

“The saying that beauty is but skin deep is but a skin-deep saying.”

Essays: Scientific, Political, and Speculative

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

Essays: Scientific, Political, and Speculative

“Under the natural course of things each citizen tends towards his fittest function. Those who are competent to the kind of work they undertake, succeed, and, in the average of cases, are advanced in proportion to their efficiency; while the incompetent, society soon finds out, ceases to employ, forces to try something easier, and eventually turns to use.”

Essays: Scientific, Political, and Speculative

Social Statics Quotes

“Morality knows nothing of geographical boundaries, or distinctions of race.”

Social Statics

“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.”

Social Statics

The Man Versus the State Quotes

“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 Man Versus the State

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The Principles of Biology, Vol 1 Quotes

“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

“This survival of the fittest implies multiplication of the fittest.”

The Principles of Biology, Vol 1

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“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”


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