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1887. British philosopher and sociologist, Herbert Spencer was a major figure in the intellectual life of the Victorian era. He was one of the principal proponents of evolutionary theory in the mid nineteenth century, and his reputation at the time rivaled that of Charles Darwin. From the Preface: Though the direct bearings of the arguments contained in this Essay are biological, the argument contained in its first half has indirect bearings upon Psychology, Ethics, and Sociology. My belief in the profound importance of these indirect bearings, was originally a chief prompter to set forth the argument.