(spĕn′sə-rĭz′əm) also Spen·ce·ri·an·ism (spĕn-sîr′ē-ə-nĭz′əm)
The system of thought developed by Herbert Spencer, setting forth the idea that evolution is the passage from the simple, indefinite, and incoherent to the complex, definite, and coherent.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(60.) Bernard Lightman, "Spencer's American Disciples: Fiske, Youmans, and the Appropriation of the System," in Global Spencerism: The Communication and Appropriation of a British Evolutionist, ed.
In the absence of accurate data, conclusions are being drawn that reify notions of 19th century racial classification (Graves 2005c.) There have also been historical fallacies that have resulted in great harm, such as the social-Darwinism (Spencerism) and eugenics.
Accordingly, the effort to naturalize a laissez-faire social policy might well be called Spencerism.
Spencerism was not just a lapse of moral reasoning.
He then offers a foundation for the rest of the articles in the volume by introducing principles that have gained consensus among scientists and commentators, including a recognition of the complexity of behavior, the rejection of genetic determinism, and the critically important agreement that the science of behavioral genetics and its introduction into the criminal law does not implicate or justify Social Spencerism or eugenics.
As Sir Michael Sadler said on hearing the news of his death in 1918, 'He saved many men of a very hesitating generation, from being over-mastered by Herbert Spencerism and the first kind of Huxleyism.'
"Social Darwinism," the ideology underpinning ultra-liberalism, is "born" not of Darwinism, but of Spencerism, which shaped this ideology as a synthetic system.
Sociobiology repeats Spencerism, for since it was introduced to the United States in 1860 in the form of the "Programme" of the "system of synthetic philosophy," Spencerism became the mean of North American ideology, whose reign is expressed in contemporary neo-liberalism, and whose theoretical thrusts occur in reaction to the moments of weakness of a system shaken by periodical crises.
Social Darwinism is really social Spencerism, but the fact that the idea has been misnamed has not made it any less powerful.
Over time, people have found cause--often good cause--to be concerned about ways that biology can be invoked in the service of sexism, racism, genetic determinism, eugenics, and Social Darwinism (more properly though less commonly known as Social Spencerism (41)).