Assumptions of Herbert Spencer and Karl Marx

Difference and similarity in Ontological view by Spencer and Herbert

Ontology is the study of objects and their ties. It gives criteria on how to differentiate objects which are real or non real, abstract or concrete with their ties. In short it is the study of reality. Marx idea on how human’s perception suggests that humans believe they see but they do not see (Allan, 2010). He says human nature is expressed in the work produced or created. The aftermath of the work should act as a mirror to the human being.

Marx ontological work is based on human’s material dialect. To Marx, reality is perceived in two ways; by idealism and materialism. He says that the world only exists in our idea. Marx believes that what exists to man in the world is only man’s idea. In his materialism aspect he argues that reality is similar to physical properties which are the simple reflections structured by the innate physical properties. Marx disregarded the idea of materialism but was in at least support of idealism (Allan, 2010).

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Ontology in other words can be seen as what exactly occurs. Herbert on the other hand demonstrates the evolutionary theory to explain various phenomena. Herbert explains the aspect of organic and inorganic evolution. This he projects on human society, animal and the physical world at large. His work completely disregards the issue of idealism (Allan, 2010).In addition Herbert elaborates the issue of human liberty and moral rights.

To him a life projected by these two issues means an amazingly free and enjoyable life. Also in his discussions he reveals that, progress in a free environment enables man to use all his faculties. This implies that the government’s sole work is to protect man. Moral sentiments and social condition are inextricably connected, constantly interact. For Herbert moral habits are the primary motivators of man (Elwick, 2003).

Difference and similarity in Epistemological view by Spencer and Herbert

Epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified beliefs. Knowledge here includes; sufficient conditions, sources, structure and limits. It focuses on knowledge production and dissemination of that knowledge to areas that need clarification. Epistemology can be combined with ontology to form metaphysics.

To Karl Marx who is an idealist, knowledge is a product of the mind (Allan, 2010). The main concept of knowledge to him is to reason. On the other hand Spencer tries to inquire the basis of scientific study of education, psychology, sociology, and ethics of man from an evolutionary point of view (Alston, 1989).

His work although not valued in the present time brought out the distinguishing factor between sociology and social science. His work on evolutionary progress from a single unit of matter was justified. Spencer social philosophy dominated in the 19th century (Craig, 2002). The main ideas he coined were of free existence or laissez-faire and survival for the fittest. His work was against reform because this affected the balance between nature and human society.

Difference and similarity in Human nature view by Spencer and Herbert

Karl Marx idea on human nature is based on society as a key survival tactic of different species. His thoughts linked how the human species survive with human consciousness. In addition is survival by creative production. The human conscious therefore has evolved by economical changes.

Marx illustrates that through production and creation of products, man did form an intimate relation with his/her environment. Hence, products made by other human being were as if they were made by him, hence man viewed himself as a creative producer (Allan, 2010). This depicted a form of social relation since every human identified with the product made by other human beings. They did communicate by the world they created.

Marx believes in communism. He says the world has dictated the current attributes of man. He adds that for man to be a communist again, he will have to undergo a social restructuring process. Marx argues that every species is defined by the mode of its survival or existence. Marx says to understand a human being is to understand his alienation, ideology and false consciousness.

On the other hand Spencer argues that human nature is flexible and is in the process of advancement (Elwick, 2003). He says ancient man was very primitive, aggressive and irrational. He envisioned human beings to be perfect at the end of evolution, hence completely adapted to social life. This was due to the adaptations to the requirements of the society in future. His notion was based on generations passing quality trait mantles to the next generation.

He saw a society that would be living in balance, harmony, and peace because of the calm nature of environment they would live in (Allan, 2010). Hence, no one would inflict pain on the other. This of course would be from the idea of natural selection as new adaptation would create a perfect human being (Craig, 2002) .Spencer last years of writing depicted him as a pessisimst regarding human’s future.

Reference List

Allan, K. (2010). Exploration in classical sociological theory. Seeing the social: London: Pine Forge Press. (2nd Edition).

Alston, W (1989). Epistimitic justification; Essays in the theory of knowledge. Ithaca: Conwell University Press.

Craig, J. (2002).Classical Sociological theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Elwick, J. (2003). Herbert Spencer and the disunity of the social organism. History of science journal. 41, (pp, 35-72).


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