Erasmus Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and the Origins of the Evolutionary Worldview in British Provincial Scientific Culture, 1770–1850

@article{Elliott2003ErasmusDH,
  title={Erasmus Darwin, Herbert Spencer, and the Origins of the Evolutionary Worldview in British Provincial Scientific Culture, 1770–1850},
  author={Paul A. Elliott},
  journal={Isis},
  year={2003},
  volume={94},
  pages={1 - 29}
}
The significance of Herbert Spencer’s evolutionary philosophy has been generally recognized for over a century, as the familiarity of his phrase “survival of the fittest” indicates, yet accounts of the origins of his system still tend to follow too closely his own description, written many decades later. This essay argues that Spencer’s own interpretation of his intellectual development gives an inadequate impression of the debt he owed to provincial scientific culture and its institutions… 
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