American Philosophy

Social Darwinism

Did nineteenth-century American philosophers directly take up evolution?

Yes. Both John Fiske (1842–1901) and Chauncey Wright (1830–1875) believed in the evolution of consciousness and human morality. Fiske was best known as an historian for his two volume The American Revolution (1891). Wright was an empiricist philosopher of science who opposed transcendentalism and was to be influential in subsequent pragmatist thought, although he himself published very little. Lester Ward (1841–1912) was a sociologist best known for Dynamic Sociology (1883), but his main ideas in favor of intervention in social evolutionary processes proved to be relevant for future social and political philosophy.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Philosophy Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App