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Principles of Ethics: Anthology

Principles of Ethics by Herbert Spencer

Tags Philosophy and Methodology

08/29/1898Herbert Spencer

This two-volume treatise by the classic liberal political theorist and philosopher Herbert Spencer has been considered by many to be his most influential work. The full compilation of its parts lasted almost a half century from the early 1840s to its publication in 1898.

In this treatise, Spencer attempts to provide a basis for ethics built on principles of evolutionary biology. A wide array of topics are covered and explored involving conduct and the induction of ethics as well as justice, rights, and beneficence. This work is a crucial philosophical contribution to these and other subjects related to ethical conduct.


Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer was one of the leading 19th-century English radical individualists. He began working as a journalist for the laissez-faire magazine The Economist in the 1850s. Much of the rest of his life was spent working on an all-encompassing theory of human development based upon the ideas of individualism, utilitarian moral theory, social and biological evolution, limited government, and laissez-faire economics.

The image comes from "The Warren J. Samuels Portrait Collection at Duke University."