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GIFT OF
Prof. Max Radin






D. Applelon & Co.



FIRST PRINCIPLES



BY

HERBERT SPENCER

AUTHOR OF SOCIAL STATICS, THE PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY,

ESSAYS I SCIENTIFIC, POLITICAL AND SPECULATIVE,

EDUCATION, ETC.



NEW YORK
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY

1897



COPYRIGHT, 1864,

BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.




PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.



To the first edition of this work there should have been
prefixed a definite indication of its origin; and the misappre-
hensions that have arisen in the absence of such indication,
ought before now to have shown me the need for supply-
ing it.

Though reference was made in a note on the first page
of the original preface, to certain Essays entitled " Progress :
its Law and Cause," and " Transcendental Physiology," as
containing generalizations which were to be elaborated in
the " System of Philosophy " there set forth in programme,
yet the dates of these Essays were not given ; nor was there
any indication of their cardinal importance as containing,
in a brief form, the general Theory of Evolution. No clear
evidence to the contrary standing in the way, there has
been very generally uttered and accepted the belief that
this work, and the works following it, originated after,
and resulted from, the special doctrine contained in Mr.
Darwin's Origin of Species.

The Essay on " Progress: its Law and Cause," coexten-
sive in the theory it contains with Chapters XV., XVI.,
XVII., and XX. in Part II. of this work, was first published
in the Westminster Review for April, 1857; and the Essay
in which is briefly set forth the general truth elaborated in
Chapter XIX., originally appeared, under the title of " The
Ultimate Laws of Physiology," in the National Review for
October, 1857. Further, I may point out that in the first

v

M110255



vi PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION.

edition of the Principles of Psychology, published in July,
1855, mental phenomena are interpreted entirely from the
evolution point of view; and the words used in the titles of
sundry chapters, imply the presence, at that date, of ideas
more widely applied in the Essays just named. As the first
edition of The Origin of Species did not make its appear-
ance till October, 1859, it is manifest that the theory set
forth in this work and its successors, had an origin independ-
ent of, and prior to, that which is commonly assumed to
have initiated it.

The distinctness of origin might, indeed, have been in-
ferred from the work itself, which deals with Evolution
at large Inorganic, Organic, and Super-organic in terms
of Matter and Motion; and touches but briefly on those
particular processes so luminously exhibited by Mr. Dar-
win. In 159 only (p. 447), when illustrating the law
of " The Multiplication of Effects/' 7 as universally dis-
played, have I had occasion to refer to the doctrine set
forth in the Origin of Species pointing out that the general
cause I had previously assigned for the production of diver-
gent varieties of organisms, would not suffice to account
for all the facts without that special cause disclosed by
Mr. Darwin. The absence of this passage would, of
course, leave a serious gap in the general argument;
but the remainder of the work would stand exactly as it
now does.

I do not make this explanation in the belief that the
prevailing misapprehension will thereby soon be rectified;
for I am conscious that, once having become current, wrong
beliefs of this kind long persist all disproofs notwithstand-
ing. Nevertheless, I yield to the suggestion that un-
less I state the facts as they stand, I shall continue
to countenance the misapprehension, and cannot expect it
to cease.

With the exception of unimportant changes in one of
the notes, and some typographical corrections, the text of



PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION. vii

this edition is identical with that of the last. I have, how-
ever, added an Appendix dealing with certain criticisms
that have been passed upon the general formula of Evo-
lution, and upon the philosophical doctrine which pre-
cedes it.

May, 1880.



PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.



THE present volume is the first of a series designed to un-
fold the principles of a new philosophy. It is divided into
two parts: the aim of the first being to determine the true
sphere of all rational investigation, and of the second, to
elucidate those fundamental and universal principles which
science has established within that sphere, and which are to
constitute the basis of the system. The scheme of truth de-
veloped in these First Principles is complete in itself, and
has its independent value; but it is designed by the
author to serve for guidance and verification in the con-
struction of the succeeding and larger portions of his philo-
sophic plan.

Having presented in his introductory volume so much of
the general principles of Physics as is essential to the devel-
opment of his method, Mr. Spencer enters upon the subject
of Organic nature. The second work of the series is to be the
Principles of Biology a systematic statement of the facts
and laws which constitute the Science of Life. It is not to
be an encyclopedic and exhaustive treatise upon this vast
subject, but such a compendious presentation of its data and
general principles as shall interpret the method of
nature, afford a clear understanding of the questions in-
volved, and prepare for further inquiries. This work is
now published in quarterly numbers, of from 80 to 96

pages. Four of these parts have already appeared, and some

viii



PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION. i x

idea of the course and character of the discussion may be
formed by observing the titles to the chapters, which are as
follows :

PART FIRST: I. Organic Matter; II. The Actions of
Forces on Organic Matter; III. The Keactions of Organic
Matter on Forces; IV. Proximate Definition of Life; Y.
The Correspondence between Life and its Circumstances;
YI. The Degree of Life varies with the Degree of Corre-
spondence; VII. Scope of Biology. PART SECOND: I.
Growth; II. Development; III. Function; IV. Waste and
Eepair; V. Adaptation ; VI. Individuality ; VII. Genesis;
VIII. Heredity; IX. Variation; X. Genesis, Heredity, and
Variation; XL Classification; XII. Distribution.

The Principles of Biology will be followed by the Princi-
ples of Psychology; that is, Mr. Spencer will pass from the
consideration of Life to the study of the Mind. This subject
will be regarded in the light of the great truths of Biology
previously established ; the connexions of life and mind will
be traced ; the evolution of the intellectual faculties in their
due succession, and in correspondence with the conditions
of the environment, will be unfolded, and the whole sub-
ject of mind will be treated, not by the narrow metaphysical
methods, but in its broadest aspect, as a phase of nature's
order which can only be comprehended in the light of her
universal plan.

The fourth work of the series is Sociology, or the science
of human relations. As a multitude is but an assemblage of
units, and as the characteristics of a multitude result from
the properties of its units, so social phenomena are conse-
quences of the natures of individual men. Biology and Psy-
chology are the two great keys to the knowledge of human
nature; and hence from these Mr. Spencer naturally passes
to the subject of Social Science. The growth of society,
the conditions of its intellectual and moral progress, the de-
velopment of its various activities and organizations, will be
here described, and a statement made of those principles



x PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.

which are essential to the successful regulation of social
affairs.

Lastly, in Part Fifth, Mr. Spencer proposes to consider
the Principles of Morality. The truths furnished by Biolo-
gy, Psychology, and Sociology will be here brought to
bear, to determine correct rules of human action, the princi-
ples of private and public justice, and to form a true theory
of right living.

The reader will obtain a more just idea of the extent and
proportions of Mr. Spencer's philosophic plan, by consulting
his prospectus at the close of the volume. It will be seen
to embrace a wide range of topics, but in the present work,
and in his profound and original volumes on the " Principles
of Psychology " and " Social Statics," as also throughout
his numerous Essays and Discussions, we discover that he
has already traversed almost the entire field, while to elabo-
rate the whole into one connected and organized philosoph-
ical scheme, is a work well suited to his bold and comprehen-
sive genius. With a metaphysical acuteness equalled only by
his immense grasp of the results of physical science alike
remarkable for his profound analysis, constructive ability,
and power of lucid and forcible statement, Mr. Spencer has
rare endowments for the task he has undertaken, and can
hardly fail to embody in his system the largest scientific and
philosophical tendencies of the age.

As the present volume is a working out of universal prin-
ciples to be subsequently applied, it is probably of a more ab-
stract character than will be the subsequent works of the
series. The discussions strike down to the profoundest basis
of human thought, and involve the deepest questions upon
which the intellect of man has entered. Those unaccus-
tomed to close metaphysical reasoning, may therefore find
parts of the argument not easy to follow, although it is
here presented with a distinctness and a vigor to be found
perhaps in no other author. Still, the chief portions of the
book may be read by all with ease and pleasure, while no one



PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION. x i

can fail to be repaid for the persistent effort that may be re-
quired to master the entire argument. All who have
sufficient earnestness of nature to take interest in those
transcendent questions which are now occupying the
most advanced minds of the age, will find them here
considered with unsurpassed clearness, originality, and
power.

The invigorating influence of philosophical studies upon
the mind, and their consequent educational value, have been
long recognized. In this point of view the system here pre-
sented has high claims upon the young men of our country,
embodying as it does the latest and largest results of posi-
tive science ; organizing its facts and principles upon a natu-
ral method, which places them most perfectly in command
of memory; and converging all its lines of inquiry to the end
of a high practical beneficence, the unfolding of those laws
of nature and human nature which determine personal wel-
fare and the social polity. Earnest and reverent in temper,
cautious in statement, severely logical and yet presenting
his views in a transparent and attractive style which com-
bines the precision of science with many of the graces of
lighter composition, it is believed that the thorough study of
Spencer's philosophical scheme would combine, in an un-
rivalled degree, those prime requisites of the highest educa-
tion, a knowledge of the truths which it is most impor-
tant for man to know, and that salutary discipline of
the mental faculties which results from their systematic
acquisition.

We say the young men of our country, for if we are not
mistaken, it is here that Mr. Spencer is to find his largest
and fittest audience. There is something in the bold han-
dling of his questions, in his earnest and fearless appeal to
first principles, and in the practical availability of his conclu-
sions, which is eminently suited to the genius of our people.
It has been so in a marked sense with his work on Education,
and there is no reason why it should not be so in an equal



x ii PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.

degree with, his other writings. They betray a profound
sympathy with the best spirit of our institutions, and that
noble aspiration for the welfare and improvement of society
which can hardly fail to commend them to the more liberal
and enlightened portions of the American public.



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.



WHEN the First Edition of this work was published, I sup-
posed that the general theory set forth in its Second Part,
was presented in something like a finished form; but sub-
sequent thought led me to further developments of much
importance, and disclosed the fact that the component
parts of the theory had been wrongly put together.
Even in the absence of a more special reason, I had decided
that, on the completion of the Principles of Biology j& would
be proper to suspend for a few months the series I am
issuing, that I might make the required re-organization.
And when the time had arrived, there had arisen a more
special reason, which forbade hesitation. Translations into
the French and Kussian languages were about to be made
had, in fact, been commenced ; and had I deferred the re-
organization the work would have been reproduced with
all its original imperfections. This will be a sufficient ex-
planation to those who have complained of the delay in the
issue of the Principles of Psychology.

The First Part remains almost untouched : two verbal
alterations only, on pp. 43 and 99, having been made to
prevent misconceptions. Part II., however, is wholly trans-
formed. Its first chapter, on " Laws in General," is omitted,
with a view to the inclusion of it in one of the latter volumes
of the series. Two minor chapters disappear. Most of the
rest are transposed, in groups or singly. And there are nine

new chapters embodying the further developments, and

xiii



XIV



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.



serving to combine the pre-existing chapters into a changed
whole. The following scheme in which the new chapters
are marked by italics, will give an idea of the transforma-
tion :

FIRST EDITION. SECOND EDITION.

Philosophy Defined.
The Data of Philosophy.



The Law of Evolution.

The Law of Evolution (continued).

Tho Causes of Evolution.

Space, Time, Matter, Motion, and

Force.

The Indestructibility of Matter.
The Continuity of Motion.
The Persistence of Force.



The Correlation and Equivalence

of Forces.

The Direction of Motion.
The Rhythm of Motion.



The Instability of the Homoge-
neous.

The Multiplication of Effects.
Differentiation and Integration.
Equilibration.

Summary and Conclusion.



Space, Time, Matter, Motion, and
Force.

The Indestructibility of Matter.

The Continuity of Motion.

The Persistence of Force.

The Persistence of Relations among
Forces.

The Transformation and Equiva-
lence of Forces.

The Direction of Motion.

The Rhythm of Motion.

Recapitulation, Criticism, and Re~
commencement.

Evolution and Dissolution.

Simple and Compound Evolution.

The Law of Evolution.

The Law of Evolution
(continued).

The Law of Evolution
(continued).

The Law of Evolution (concluded).

The Interpretation of Evolution.

The Instability of the Homoge-
neous.

The Multiplication of Effects.

Segregation.

Equilibration.

Dissolution.

Summary and Conclusion (Re-
written).



Re-ar-
ranged
with ad-
ditions.



Of course throughout this re-organized Second Part
the numbers of the sections have been changed and hence



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.



xv



those who possess the Principles of Biology^ which many
references are made to passages in First Principles, would
be inconvenienced by the want of correspondence between
the numbers of the sections in the original edition and in the
new edition, were they without any means of identifying the
sections as now numbered. The annexed list, showing which
section answers to which in the two editions, will meet the
requirement :



First Second


First Second


First Second


First Second


First Second


Edit. Edit.


Edit. Edit.


Edit. Edit.


Edit. Edit.


Edit. Edit.


43 119




'107


72 58


92 81


121 161


44 117




108


73 59


93 82


122 162


45 118




109


74 60


94 83


123 163


46 120




110


75 61


95 84


124 164


47 121


56 <


111


76 62


96 85


125 165


48 122




112


77 66


97 86


126 166


49 123




113


78 67


98 87


127 167


50 124




114


79 68


99 88


128 168


51 125




,115


80 69


109 149


129 169


52 126


61 " 46


81 70


110 150


130 170


53 128


62 47


82 71


111 151


131 171


54 129


63 48


83 72


112 152


132 172




f!30


64 49


84 73


113 153


133 173




131


65 50


85 74


114 154


134 174




132


66 52


86 75


115 155


135 175


f f


133


67 53


87 76


116 156


136 176


55 <


134


68 54


88 77


117 157


, 7 (177




135


69 55


89 78


118 158


137 1 183




136


70 56


90 79


119 159


144 193




,137


71 57


91 80


120 160


145 194



The original stereotype plates have been used wherever
it was possible ; and hence the exact correspondence between
the two editions in many places, even where adjacent pages
are altered.

London, November, 1867.



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.



THIS volume is the first of a series described in a prospectus
originally distributed in March, 1860. Of that prospectus,
the annexed is a reprint.

.A SYSTEM OF PHILOSOPHY.

MR. HERBERT SPENCER proposes to issue in periodical parts a
connected series of works which he has for several years been
preparing. Some conception of the general aim and scope of
this series may be gathered from the following Programme.

FIRST PRINCIPLES.

PART I. THE UNKNOWABLE. Carrying a step further the
doctrine put into shape by Hamilton and Mansel; pointing
out the various directions in which Science leads to the same
conclusions; and showing that in this united belief in an Ab-
solute that transcends not only human knowledge but human
conception, lies the only possible reconciliation of Science
and Religion.

PART II. LAWS OF THE KNOWABLE. A statement of the
ultimate principles discernible throughout all manifestations
of the Absolute those highest generalizations now being
disclosed by Science which are severally true not of one class
of phenomena but of all classes of phenomena; and which
are thus the keys to all classes of phenomena.*

* One of these generalizations is that currently known as " the Conser-
vation of Force ; " a second may be gathered from a published essay on
"Progress: its Law and Cause;" a third is indicated in a paper on
" Transcendental Physiology ; " and there are several others.

xvi



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. xv ii

[In logical order should here come the application of these
First Principles to Inorganic Nature. But this great division
it is proposed to pass over : partly because, even without it, the
scheme is too extensive j and partly because the interpretation
of Organic Nature after the proposed method, is of more im-
mediate importance. The second work of the series will there-
fore be]

THE PKINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY.
VOL. I.

PART I. THE DATA OF BIOLOGY. Including those general
truths of Physics and Chemistry with which rational Biology
must set out.

II. THE INDUCTIONS OF BIOLOGY. A statement of the
leading generalizations which Naturalists, Physiologists, and
Comparative Anatomists, have established.

III. THE EVOLUTION OF LIFE. Concerning the specula-
tion commonly known as " The Development Hypothesis "
its a priori and a posteriori evidences.

VOL. II.

IV. MORPHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT. Pointing out the
relations that are everywhere traceable between organic forms
and the average of the various forces to which they are sub-
ject; and seeking in the cumulative effects of such forces a
theory of the forms.

V. PHYSIOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT. The progressive dif-
ferentiation of functions similarly traced; and similarly in-
terpreted as consequent upon the exposure of different parts
of organisms to different sets of conditions.

VI. THE LAWS OF MULTIPLICATION. Generalizations re-
specting the rates of reproduction of the various classes of
plants and animals; followed by an attempt to show the de-
pendence of these variations upon certain necessary causes.*

* The ideas to be developed in the second volume of the Principles of
Biology the writer has already briefly expressed in sundry Review- Arti-
cles. Part IV. will work out a doctrine suggested in a paper on " The
2



Xviii PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

THE PBINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY.
VOL. I.

PART I. THE DATA OF PSYCHOLOGY. Treating of the
general connexions of Mind and Life and their relations to
other modes of the Unknowable.

II. THE INDUCTIONS OF PSYCHOLOGY. A digest of such
generalizations respecting mental phenomena as have already
been empirically established.

III. GENERAL SYNTHESIS. A republication, with addi-
tional chapters, of the same part in the already-published Prin-
ciples of Psychology.

IV. SPECIAL SYNTHESIS. A republication, with exten-
sive revisions and additions, of the same part, &c. &c.

V. PHYSICAL SYNTHESIS. An attempt to show the man-
ner in which the succession of states of consciousness con-
forms to a certain fundamental law of nervous action that
follows from the First Principles laid down at the outset.

VOL. II.

VI. SPECIAL ANALYSIS. As at present published, but
further elaborated by some additional chapters.

VII. GENERAL ANALYSIS. As at present published, with
several explanations and additions.

VIII. COROLLARIES.- Consisting in part of a number of
derivative principles which form a necessary introduction to
Sociology.*

Laws of Organic Form," published in the Medico- CJiirurgical Review
for January, 1859. The germ of Part V. is contained in the essay on
" Transcendental Physiology : " See Essays, pp. 280-90. And in Part VI.
will be unfolded certain views crudely expressed in a " Theory of Popula-
tion," published in the Westminster Review for April, 1852.

* Respecting the several additions to be made to the Principles of
Psychology, it seems needful only to say that Part V. is the unwritten
division named in the preface to that work a division of which the
germ is contained in a note on page 544, and of which the scope has since
been more definitely stated in a paper in the Medico- Chirurgical fteview
for Jan. 1859.



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION. x i x

THE PBINCIPLES OF SOCIOLOGY.

VOL. I.

PAET I. THE DATA OF SOCIOLOGY. A statement of the
several sets of factors entering into social phenomena human
ideas and feelings considered in their necessary order of evo-
lution; surrounding natural conditions; and those ever com-
plicating conditions to which Society itself gives origin.

II. THE INDUCTIONS or SOCIOLOGY. General facts, struc-
tural and functional, as gathered from a survey of Societies
and their changes: in other words, the empirical generaliza-
tions that are arrived at by comparing different societies, and
successive phases of the same society.

III. POLITICAL ORGANIZATION. The evolution of gov-
ernments, general and local, as determined by natural causes;
their several types and metamorphoses; their increasing com-
plexity and specialization; and the progressive limitation of
their functions.

VOL. II.

IV. ECCLESIASTICAL ORGANIZATION. Tracing the dif-
ferentiation of religious government from secular; its suc-
cessive complications and the multiplication of sects; the
growth and continued modification of religious ideas, as caused
by advancing knowledge and changing moral character; and
the gradual reconciliation of these ideas with the truths of
abstract science.

V. CEREMONIAL ORGANIZATION. The natural history of
that third kind of government which, having a common root
with the others, and slowly becoming separate from and sup-
plementary to them, serves to regulate the minor actions of
life.

VI. INDUSTRIAL ORGANIZATION. The development of
productive and distributive agencies, considered, like the fore-
going, in its necessary causes: comprehending not only the
progressive division of labour, and the increasing complexity
of each industrial agency, but also the successive forms of



xx PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION.

industrial government as passing through like phases with
political government.

VOL. III.

VII. LINGUAL PROGRESS. The evolution of Languages
regarded as a psychological process determined by social con-
ditions.

VIII. INTELLECTUAL PROGRESS. Treated from the same
point of view: including the growth of classifications; the
evolution of science out of common knowledge; the advance
from qualitive to quantative prevision, from the indefinite
to the definite, and from the concrete to the abstract.

IX. ^ESTHETIC PROGRESS. The Fine Arts similarly dealt



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