Sociological theory of Herbert Spencer

Principle of non-intervention: Spencer thought that his sociological theory should demonstrate that man should not intervene arbitrarily in the natural process of society. He pointed out that nature, through the successive progress of society, would provide man with a better society free of coercion.

Spencer was against the distortion of the natural variables that made him evolve; He was also against government intervention in social affairs. He was a supporter of Laissez Faire.

Method: According to Spencer’s own words, the method used should be that of inspection, “through it we will know the relations of coexistence and succession in which social phenomena are with each other. By comparing societies of different types and societies in different phases, we must find out what features of size, structure, functions, appear associated with each other“.

The author claimed to use the comparative and functional method, but in reality Spencer proceeded by deduction to find his sociological laws. Methodologically it had tremendous contradictions for which it has been criticized a lot, since deduction is not a good method of analysis for the social sciences.

Author’s deficiencies: Spencer had tremendous contradictions in building his sociological theory.

He was individualistic, which made him contradict his law of organic analogy, which was difficult to reconcile with his organicism.

He even denied the use of his organic analogy, telling his detractors: “I have used analogies, but only as scaffolding to help me build a coherent body of sociological induction.” He was ultimately a prisoner of the phantasm he had constructed.

His law of evolution is a cosmic law, his theory, consequently, is essentially philosophical and not sociological.

Spencer’s philosophy was a sublimation of the physics of his time. His theory responded to two needs of his time: First, the desire to unify knowledge; and, second, the need to scientifically justify the principle of Laissez Faire, a dominant note in the ideological climate of that time.

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