British philosopher and sociologist. He was an early adherent of evolutionary theory, which he set down in his Principles of Psychology (1855). Spencer embraced Darwin's theory of natural selection proposed four years later, coined the phrase the ‘survival of the fittest’ (1864), and advocated social and economic laissez-faire. He later sought to synthesize the natural and social sciences in the Programme of a System of Synthetic Philosophy (1862–96).
Subjects: Arts and Humanities.