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Extra resources for A History of Classical Sociology
Then, for several years, he contributed to the press. In 1853, having inherited a tidy legacy from an uncle, he resigned his post and began the modest life of an independent scientist and publicist. Even after he had attained fame, he refused all official honours. In the early 1860s Spencer made a tremendous effort to create a system of synthetic philosophy that would unite all the theoretical sciences of the time. This work included ten volumes, consisting of five separate titles: First Principles 43 (1862), Principles of Biology (two volumes, 1864, 1867), Principles of Psychology (1870-1872, three volumes, the first edition of which appeared in 1855); Principles of Sociology (three volumes, 1876, 1882, 1896), which was anticipated in 1873 in an independent book The Study of Sociology, and Principles of Ethics (two volumes, 1892, 1893).
In the second chapter of Social Statics he had stressed that progress, therefore, is not an accident, but a necessity... 12 But later he turned away from this point of view, and the very concept of progress, considering the term too anthropocentric. When speaking of the ‗law of evolution‘, the mature Spencer already had in mind not ‗improvement of life‘ but only the regular, law-governed, and ever accelerating movement from homogeneity to heterogeneity. He no longer claimed that ‗universal progress‘ applied to any given society.
The quantitative growth and complication of the structure of social aggregates entailed a process of functional and structural differentiation of the whole. In primitive social organisms their separate parts and functions were weakly differentiated and similar to one another. One and the 49 same partial structure could perform several different social functions in them, and one and the same function could be performed by several different structures. As society grew its parts became more and more unlike one another.