- the application, chiefly in the late 19th cent., of Darwinism to the understanding of human society
- the theory that individuals, ethnic groups, etc. achieve success or dominance because of inherent genetic superiority and a resultant competitive advantage
- social Darwinist noun
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
social darwinism - Cultural Definition
A theory arising in the late nineteenth century that the laws of evolution, which Charles Darwin had observed in nature, also apply to society. Social Darwinists argued that social progress resulted from conflicts in which the fittest or best adapted individuals, or entire societies, would prevail. It gave rise to the slogan “survival of the fittest.”