Blogs > Liberty and Power > Spencer, Long, and a New Encyclopedia

Apr 28, 2005 9:37 am

Spencer, Long, and a New Encyclopedia

In light of all the good discussion on Herbert Spencer that we've seen here and here on L&P, I wanted to share some good news.

A couple of years ago, I was asked to do an encyclopedia article on"Karl Marx" for the forthcoming International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology, to be published by Routledge. Amazingly, there was not a single entry offered for Herbert Spencer (who many view as one of the founders of sociology) or of any of the great classical liberals. I knew that Spencer had fallen out of favor with sociologists over the years, and that too many working in that discipline had a tendency to dismiss (wrongly, I might add) the work of classical liberals as somehow too"atomistic" and not worthy of the sociological imagination.

Whatever the reason, I was quite frankly shocked that nothing on Spencer, liberalism, or libertarianism had been scheduled for discussion in the encyclopedia. So, I asked the fine editor if he would be interested in one additional contribution from me: a general, broader piece on libertarianism, that is, on the relevance to sociology of theorists working in the classical liberal/libertarian tradition. The editor accepted my offer. And instead of writing a sole piece on Marx, I wrote two pieces.

The entry on libertarianism brought into the encyclopedia a discussion of the works of Herbert Spencer (to whom I devote much space, relatively speaking), Carl Menger, F. A. Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand, and others.

I've just been informed today that the encyclopedia is due out in October 2005; I'll be sure to note it here when the time comes.

Thus, this is my way of thanking Roderick Long doubly: not only for his continuing work on Spencer, but also for offering constructive commentary on my essays before they were submitted to Routledge.

Cross-posted to Notablog.

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Kenneth R Gregg - 5/3/2005

I've been wondering about the CATO Encyclopedia as well. I sent a query about doing an entry or two (Spencer Heath, Charles T. Sprading and a couple of others) and never heard back.

I do hope that it's moving along. Certainly a worthwhile project.
Just a thought.
Just Ken

Roderick T. Long - 4/29/2005

And thanks to Chris for his thanks to me! His "libertarianism" entry is excellent, by the way.

Speaking of encyclopedia articles, Chris and I both have articles forthcoming in the Cato Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, a project that has been "imminently forthcoming" for -- well, since the last century! (Sounds longer that way ....) I wonder what its status is these days.