Bernie Lightman: Herbert Spencer et ses disciples

Noeud de réseau: 
Me., Sep. 19, 2012, 12:30pm

(en anglais)

Professor Bernard Lightman of York University is a leading authority on science, evolution and religion in nineteenth century Britain. He will be visiting the University of Alberta on Wednesday September 19th to deliver two talks on these subjects. Everyone welcome!

“Herbert Spencer and His Disciples”
Tory Building 2-58
12.30pm, September 19th

Herbert Spencer was arguably one of the most important evolutionists in the second half of the nineteenth century.  His ideas were dissemated to the British public by disciples, who celebrated him as one of the great minds of the nineteenth century. Since Victorians often conflated Darwin and Spencer’s evolutionary theories, they argued for his unique contributions to the edifice of modern science.  However they were attracted to different aspects of Spencer’s thought.  Spencer had devoted his life to building a tightly integrated system of thought based on evolutionary theory.  In his mind, the ten volumes of the System of Synthetic Philosophy formed an organic whole.  His disciples tended to focus on specific books and ideas, depending on their agenda.  They picked Spencer’s System apart.  Moreover, two of his British disciples later adopted positions viewed by Spencer as inimical to his entire project.  Turning on their master, their apostasy led to schisms within the Spencerian “church”.
This visit has been supported by the SSHRC Cluster Grant on `Situating Science' and the Program in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta.

Dr.Lightman is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and his books include The Origins of Agnosticism: Victorian Unbelief and the Limits of Knowledge. (1987), Victorian Faith in Crisis: Essays on Continuity and Change in Nineteenth Century Religious Belief, co-edited with Richard Helmstadter (1990), “Science and Religion in Modern Western Thought,” co-edited with Bernard Zelechow, special theme issue of The European Legacy 1, No. 5 (August 1996),  Science in Context. Ed. Bernard Lightman.(1997), Figuring it Out: Science, Gender and Visual Culture, co-edited with Ann Shteir, (2006), Science in the Marketplace: Nineteenth-Century Sites and Experiences, co-edited with Aileen Fyfe, (2007), Victorian Popularizers of Science: Designing Nature for New Audiences, and  Naturalism in Victorian Britain: The ‘Darwinians’ and Their Critics (2009).

For further information on these talks, please contact Robert Smith, Department of History and Classics at