picture and image of the universe? How much can he mirror of the illimitable cosmos, material and spiritual, knowable or unknowable? How much can he realize the abstruse relation between its two antithetical but complementary sides? That is how to judge in any deeper and wider sense of a brain and its capacity. I was talking once in a London drawing-room with Cotter Morison and a famous and able literary hostess. I happened to say, as I say now, that Spencer seemed to me by far the greatest mind I had ever met with. “What?” cried the lady surprised; “would you put him above George Eliot?” To me, I confess, the question seemed almost ludicrous. Imaginative work is beautiful and attractive, just as artistic work is; but to suppose it can be put on a par, so far as the measure of intellect is concerned, with scientific or philosophic work seems to me to betoken a certain lack of just standards of capacity. “Vanity Fair” is great in its way; and its way is just as incommensurate with the greatness of the “Principia” or of the “Principles of Biology” as is the greatness of the Transfiguration or the Venus of Milos. But if we want to measure minds, as minds, one against another, I say fearlessly that scientific and philosophic grasp is the one true standard of the highest attainment, and that no man who ever yet trod our planet gave proof of such mastery in both these lines as Herbert Spencer.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 58,797
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Works of Herbert Spencer.Herbert Spencer - 1880 - [Osnabrück, Zeller.
A Letter From Mr. Herbert Spencer.Herbert Spencer - 1893 - The Monist 3 (2):272-272.
Herbert Spencer.William Sweet - 2004 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
The Philosophical Work of Herbert Spencer.John Dewey - 1904 - Philosophical Review 13 (2):159-175.
From 'Circumstances' to 'Environment': Herbert Spencer and the Origins of the Idea of Organism–Environment Interaction.Trevor Pearce - 2010 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 41 (3):241-252.


Added to PP index

Total views
6 ( #1,079,737 of 2,425,667 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #546,862 of 2,425,667 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes