Survival of the fittest

survivalstruggle for existenceDarwinian struggleDarwinistdifferential survivallife is for the strongperformancestruggle for survivalsurvival advantageSurvival of the Unfittest
"Survival of the fittest" is a phrase that originated from Darwinian evolutionary theory as a way of describing the mechanism of natural selection.wikipedia
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Herbert Spencer

SpencerSpencerianSpencer, Herbert
Herbert Spencer first used the phrase, after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, in his Principles of Biology (1864), in which he drew parallels between his own economic theories and Darwin's biological ones: "This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called 'natural selection', or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life." Though Spencer’s conception of organic evolution is commonly interpreted as a form of Lamarckism, Herbert Spencer is sometimes credited with inaugurating Social Darwinism.
Spencer is best known for the expression "survival of the fittest", which he coined in Principles of Biology (1864), after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species.

Natural selection

selectionselectiveselected
"Survival of the fittest" is a phrase that originated from Darwinian evolutionary theory as a way of describing the mechanism of natural selection.
However, some thinkers enthusiastically embraced natural selection; after reading Darwin, Herbert Spencer introduced the phrase survival of the fittest, which became a popular summary of the theory.

Fitness (biology)

fitnessbiological fitnessreproductive fitness
The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. The biological concept of fitness refers to reproductive success, as opposed to survival, and is not explicit in the specific ways in which organisms can be more "fit" (increase reproductive success) as having phenotypic characteristics that enhance survival and reproduction (which was the meaning that Spencer had in mind).
Fitness does not include a measure of survival or life-span; Herbert Spencer's well-known phrase "survival of the fittest" should be interpreted as: "Survival of the form (phenotypic or genotypic) that will leave the most copies of itself in successive generations."

Social Darwinism

social DarwinistSocial Darwiniansocial Darwinists
Though Spencer’s conception of organic evolution is commonly interpreted as a form of Lamarckism, Herbert Spencer is sometimes credited with inaugurating Social Darwinism. It has been claimed that "the survival of the fittest" theory in biology was interpreted by late 19th century capitalists as "an ethical precept that sanctioned cut-throat economic competition" and led to the advent of the theory of "social Darwinism" which was used to justify laissez-faire economics, war and racism.
The process includes competition between individuals for limited resources, popularly but inaccurately described by the phrase "survival of the fittest", a term coined by sociologist Herbert Spencer.

On the Origin of Species

Origin of SpeciesThe Origin of SpeciesOn the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection
Herbert Spencer first used the phrase, after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, in his Principles of Biology (1864), in which he drew parallels between his own economic theories and Darwin's biological ones: "This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called 'natural selection', or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life."
The fifth edition, published on 10 February 1869, incorporated more changes and for the first time included the phrase "survival of the fittest", which had been coined by the philosopher Herbert Spencer in his Principles of Biology (1864).

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

mutual aid
In his book Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution he set out his analysis leading to the conclusion that the fittest was not necessarily the best at competing individually, but often the community made up of those best at working together.
It is an argument against theories of social Darwinism that emphasize competition and survival of the fittest, and against the romantic depictions by writers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who thought that cooperation was motivated by universal love.

Charles Darwin

DarwinDarwinianCharles
Herbert Spencer first used the phrase, after reading Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, in his Principles of Biology (1864), in which he drew parallels between his own economic theories and Darwin's biological ones: "This survival of the fittest, which I have here sought to express in mechanical terms, is that which Mr. Darwin has called 'natural selection', or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life."
The term Darwinism was used for the evolutionary ideas of others, including Spencer's "survival of the fittest" as free-market progress, and Ernst Haeckel's polygenistic ideas of human development.

Social effects of evolutionary theory

opposition and supportsocial realm
Social implications of the theory of evolution
The theory of evolution by natural selection has also been adopted as a foundation for various ethical and social systems, such as social Darwinism, an idea that preceded the publication of The Origin of Species, popular in the 19th century, which holds that "the survival of the fittest" (a phrase coined in 1851 by Herbert Spencer, 6 years before Darwin published his theory of evolution) explains and justifies differences in wealth and success among societies and people.

Sociocultural evolution

social evolutionismsocioculturalcultural development
Evolution of societies
Classical social evolutionism is most closely associated with the 19th-century writings of Auguste Comte and of Herbert Spencer (coiner of the phrase "survival of the fittest").

Universal Darwinism

Darwinianevolution
Universal Darwinism
The fundamental mechanism behind all such stability and evolution is therefore what Kelley calls "survival of the fittest systems."

Reproductive success

passing ofreproductive assurancereproductive outcomes
The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. The biological concept of fitness refers to reproductive success, as opposed to survival, and is not explicit in the specific ways in which organisms can be more "fit" (increase reproductive success) as having phenotypic characteristics that enhance survival and reproduction (which was the meaning that Spencer had in mind).

Alfred Russel Wallace

WallaceAlfred WallaceA. R. Wallace
Darwin responded positively to Alfred Russel Wallace's suggestion of using Spencer's new phrase "survival of the fittest" as an alternative to "natural selection", and adopted the phrase in The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication published in 1868.

The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication

studied by Charles DarwinVariation under Domestication
Darwin responded positively to Alfred Russel Wallace's suggestion of using Spencer's new phrase "survival of the fittest" as an alternative to "natural selection", and adopted the phrase in The Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication published in 1868.

Lamarckism

Lamarckianinheritance of acquired characteristicsneo-Lamarckism
Though Spencer’s conception of organic evolution is commonly interpreted as a form of Lamarckism, Herbert Spencer is sometimes credited with inaugurating Social Darwinism.

Popular culture

pop culturepop-culturemass culture
Evolutionary biologists criticise the manner in which the term is used by non-scientists and the connotations that have grown around the term in popular culture.

Phenotype

phenotypicphenotypesphenotypically
The biological concept of fitness refers to reproductive success, as opposed to survival, and is not explicit in the specific ways in which organisms can be more "fit" (increase reproductive success) as having phenotypic characteristics that enhance survival and reproduction (which was the meaning that Spencer had in mind).

Viral quasispecies

quasispecies
This becomes more clear when referring to Viral quasispecies, in survival of the flattest, which makes it clear to survive makes no reference to the question of even being alive itself; rather the functional capacity of proteins to carry out work.

Tautology (language)

tautologytautologicaltautologies
Interpretations of the phrase as expressing a theory are in danger of being tautological, meaning roughly "those with a propensity to survive have a propensity to survive"; to have content the theory must use a concept of fitness that is independent of that of survival.

Ecological niche

nichenichesecological niches
Instead, these groups have evolved by expanding into empty ecological niches.

Punctuated equilibrium

punctuated equilibriastasisequilibrium
In the punctuated equilibrium model of environmental and biological change, the factor determining survival is often not superiority over another in competition but ability to survive dramatic changes in environmental conditions, such as after a meteor impact energetic enough to greatly change the environment globally.

Meteoroid

meteormeteorsfireball
In the punctuated equilibrium model of environmental and biological change, the factor determining survival is often not superiority over another in competition but ability to survive dramatic changes in environmental conditions, such as after a meteor impact energetic enough to greatly change the environment globally.

Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary

K-T boundaryK/T boundaryCretaceous–Paleogene (K–PG) boundary
The main land dwelling animals to survive the K-Pg impact 66 million years ago had the ability to live in underground tunnels, for example.

Laissez-faire

laissez fairelaissez-faire capitalismfree-market capitalism
It has been claimed that "the survival of the fittest" theory in biology was interpreted by late 19th century capitalists as "an ethical precept that sanctioned cut-throat economic competition" and led to the advent of the theory of "social Darwinism" which was used to justify laissez-faire economics, war and racism.

Richard Hofstadter

Hofstadter, RichardHofstadter, Richard,Hofstadter, Richard.
The term "social Darwinism" referring to capitalist ideologies was introduced as a term of abuse by Richard Hofstadter's Social Darwinism in American Thought published in 1944.

Peter Kropotkin

KropotkinPiotr KropotkinPrince Kropotkin
Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin viewed the concept of "survival of the fittest" as supporting co-operation rather than competition.