Quotations by Spencer, Herbert


The original and essential office of government is that of protecting its subjects against aggression external and internal.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
“Representative Government — What Is It Good For?” Westminster Review (Oct 1857)
Added on 27-Apr-11 | Last updated 27-Apr-11
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The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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All theories of morality agree in considering that conduct whose total results, immediate and remote, are beneficial, is good conduct; while conduct whose total results, immediate and remote, are injurious, is bad conduct. The happiness or misery caused by it are the ultimate standards by which all men judge of behavior.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
Education: Intellectual, Moral, and Physical, ch. 3 (1860)
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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.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
Essays Scientific, Political and Speculative (1891)
Added on 29-Sep-10 | Last updated 29-Sep-10
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The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
Essays: Scientific, Political, and Speculative Vol. 3, ch. IX, “State Tamperings with Money and Banks” (1891)

This essay is also cited to be found in Essays: Moral, Political and Aesthetic (1866).

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We too often forget that not only is there “a soul of goodness in things evil,” but very generally also, a soul of truth in things erroneous.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
First Principles, Pt. I “The Unknowable,” ch. 1 “Religion and Science”” (1862)
    (Source)

Quoting Shakespeare.
Added on 3-Dec-08 | Last updated 9-Apr-18
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Volumes might be written upon the impiety of the pious.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
First Principles, pt. I “The Unknowable,” ch. 5 “The Reconciliation” (1862)

Full text.

Added on 10-Dec-08 | Last updated 10-Dec-08
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There is no more mischievous absurdity than this judging of actions from the OUTSIDE as they look to us, instead of from the INSIDE as they look to the actors; nothing more irrational than to criticize deeds as though the doers of them had the same desires, hopes, fears, and restraints as ourselves.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
Social Statics, 3.20.6 (1851)
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No apparatus of senators, judges, and police can compensate for the want of an internal governing sentiment. … No adminstrative sleight of hand can save us from ourselves.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
Social Statics, 3.21.7 (1851)
Added on 12-Jan-11 | Last updated 12-Jan-11
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A right rule of conduct must be one which may with advantage be adopted by all.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
The Data of Ethics, ch. 13 (1879)
Added on 26-Nov-12 | Last updated 26-Nov-12
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Men are not rational beings, as commonly supposed. A man is a bundle of instincts, feelings, sentiments, which severally seek their gratification, and those which are in power get hold of the reason and use it to their own ends, and exclude all other sentiments and feelings from power.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
Letter to J. A. Skilton (10 Jan 1895)
Added on 22-Mar-13 | Last updated 22-Mar-13
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Those who enslave other peoples enslave themselves.

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) English philosopher, naturalist
Letter to Sir Robert Giffin (17 May 1901)
Added on 17-Apr-14 | Last updated 17-Apr-14
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