Herbert Spencer, English social philosopher, c 1860s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Carte de visite photograph by John Watkins of Parliament Street, London. Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) was a social philosopher, and one of the first English sociologists. In 1850 Spencer published 'Social Statics', which stresed the importance of individual freedom and the inevitability of progres. He was also an advocate of social Darwinism, which applied Charles Darwin's (1809-1882) theory of the survival of the fittest to human society.