Mill's System of Logic (1843) indicates that the definition of ‘nationality’ he offered in Considerations on Representative Government (1861) is not a throwaway comment but a carefully considered causal hypothesis tailored to his politico-ethological research programme. This matters because Lord Acton's critique of Mill's claim that free institutions are almost impossible in multinational states ignored the definition, thereby obscuring subsequent scholars' vision of the conceptual dimension of this famous dispute. Although Mill struggled in his politico-ethological endeavour, he was sufficiently confident (...) to judge that, if nationalities seek self-determination through exclusive control of the state, liberal democratic institutions would be unlikely to emerge in multinational states, let alone survive and prosper. Since Acton's critique presupposed an undemocratic conception of free institutions and a far weaker notion of national self-determination, it failed to contradict that judgement. Indeed, once their conceptual disagreements are clarified, Acton's empirical analysis can be seen to support it. (shrink)
Reverend H.F.C. Logan is put forward as the formerly unidentified figure to which Robert Leslie Ellis referred in a journal entry of 1840 in which he wrote that it was due to his influence that William Whewell came to uphold particular Kantian views on time and space. The historical evidence of Ellis’s early familiarity with, and later commitment to Kant is noteworthy for at least two reasons. Firstly, it puts into doubt the accepted view of the second generation of reformers (...) of British algebra as non-philosophical, practice-oriented mathematicians. Secondly, in so far as Logan was the correspondent of William Rowan Hamilton, it re-emphasizes that the role of Kantianism in the transition from ‘symbolical’ to ‘abstract’ algebra in nineteenth-century British algebra requires closer scrutiny. (shrink)
Many women wrote philosophy in nineteenth-century Britain, and they wrote across the full range of philosophical topics. Yet these important women thinkers have been left out of the philosophical canon and many of them are barely known today. The aim of this book is to put them back on the map. It introduces twelve women philosophers - Mary Shepherd, Harriet Martineau, Ada Lovelace, George Eliot, Frances Power Cobbe, Helena Blavatsky, Julia Wedgwood, Victoria Welby, Arabella Buckley, Annie Besant, Vernon Lee, and (...) Constance Naden. Alison Stone looks at their views on naturalism, philosophy of mind, evolution, morality and religion, and progress in history. She shows how these women interacted and developed their philosophical views in conversation with one another, not only with their male contemporaries. The rich print and periodical culture of the period enabled these women to publish philosophy in forms accessible to a general readership, despite the restrictions women faced, such as having limited or no access to university education. Stone explains how these women became excluded from the history of philosophy because there was a cultural shift at the end of the nineteenth century towards specialised forms of philosophical writing, which depended on academic credentials that were still largely unavailable to women. (shrink)
This Element introduces the philosophy of Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904), a very well-known moral theorist, advocate of animal welfare and women's rights, and critic of Darwinism and atheism in the Victorian era. After locating Cobbe's achievements within nineteenth-century British culture, this Element examines her duty-based moral theory of the 1850s and then her 1860s accounts of duties to animals, women's rights, and the mind and unconscious thought. From the 1870s, in critical response to Darwin's evolutionary ethics, Cobbe put greater moral (...) weight on the emotions, especially sympathy. She now criticised atheism for undermining morality, emphasised women's duties to develop virtues of character, and recommended treating animals with sympathy and compassion. The Element links Cobbe's philosophical arguments to her campaigns for women's rights and against vivisection, brings in critical responses from her contemporaries, explains how she became omitted from the history of philosophy, and shows the lasting importance of her work. (shrink)
This article contributes to recognizing and recovering women’s voices in the history of aesthetics by examining the aesthetic theory put forward in the 1860s by the Anglo-Irish philosopher and feminist Frances Power Cobbe. Cobbe addressed aesthetics and gender, maintaining that there are female geniuses. She addressed art and morality, arguing that art should always aim to express moral truth, and that artworks that express morally good thoughts poorly are artistically better than works that express morally bad thoughts well. She then (...) modified her stance to argue that beauty contains but does not reduce to goodness. Cobbe also developed a comprehensive account of the arts, their relative merits, and the criteria for evaluating them. Her account had problems; nonetheless, it was ambitious, original, and interesting, and Cobbe deserves to be recognized as a woman who made significant interventions in the history of aesthetics. (shrink)
This volume brings together essential writings by the unjustly neglected nineteenth-century philosopher Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904). A prominent ethicist, feminist, champion of animal welfare, and critic of Darwinism and atheism, Cobbe was well known and highly regarded in the Victorian era. This collection of her work introduces contemporary readers to Cobbe and shows how her thought developed over time, beginning in 1855 with her Essay on Intuitive Morals, in which she set out her duty-based moral theory, arguing that morality and (...) religion are indissolubly connected. This work provided the framework within which she addressed many theoretical and practical issues in her prolific publishing career. In the 1860s and early 1870s, she gave an account of human duties to animals; articulated a duty-based form of feminism; defended a unique type of dualism in the philosophy of mind; and argued against evolutionary ethics. Cobbe put her philosophical views into practice, campaigning for women's rights and for first the regulation and later the abolition of vivisection. In turn her political experiences led her to revise her ethical theory. From the 1870s onwards she increasingly emphasized the moral role of the emotions, especially sympathy, and she theorized a gradual historical progression in sympathy. Moving into the 1880s, Cobbe combatted secularism, agnosticism, and atheism, arguing that religion is necessary not only for morality but also for meaningful life and culture. -/- Shedding light on Cobbe's philosophical perspective and its applications, this volume demonstrates the range, systematicity and philosophical character of her work and makes her core ethical theory and its central applications and developments available for teaching and scholarship. (shrink)
In this article, we argue that John Henry Newman was right to think that our passional nature can play a legitimate epistemic role. First, we unpack the standard objection to Newman’s understanding of the relationship between our passional nature and the evidential basis of faith. Second, we argue that the standard objection to Newman operates with a narrow definition of evidence. After challenging this notion, we then offer a broader and more humane understanding of evidence. Third, we survey recent scholarship (...) arguing that emotions, a key aspect of our passional nature, are cognitive. In this light, they plausibly have a proper epistemic role. Fourth, we defend Newman’s reliance on the passional nature in epistemic matters by showing how reasonable it is in light of this recent work on evidence and the nature of emotions. Newman’s insistence that the formation of a right state of heart and mind is crucial for epistemic success is far from untenable. (shrink)
Lady Mary Shepherd holds that the relation of cause and effect consists of the combination of two objects to create a third object. She also holds that this account implies that causes are synchronous with their effects. There is a single instant in which the objects that are causes combine to create the object which is their effect. Hume argues that cause and effect cannot be synchronous because if they were then the entire chain of successive causes and effects would (...) all collapse into a single moment, and succession would not be possible. I argue that Shepherd has a ready, although implicit response, to Hume’s argument. Since causation is combination on Shepherd’s view, she is free to hold that there are times in between those instants in which combinations occur, during which times other, non-combinatory changes occur, which changes account for succession. (shrink)
McTaggart takes love seriously. He rejects rival accounts that look to reduce love to pleasure, moral approbation or a fitting response to someone’s qualities. In addition, he thinks that love reveals something about the structure of the universe, and that in absolute reality, we could all love each other. In this paper, I follow McTaggart in his rejection of rival accounts of love, but distance myself from his own account of love in absolute reality. I argue that in claiming that (...) we could all love each other, he fails to adequately account for an important part of the phenomena of love, namely chemistry. (shrink)
There are a bewildering variety of claims connecting Darwin to nineteenth-century philosophy of science—including to Herschel, Whewell, Lyell, German Romanticism, Comte, and others. I argue here that Herschel’s influence on Darwin is undeniable. The form of this influence, however, is often misunderstood. Darwin was not merely taking the concept of “analogy” from Herschel, nor was he combining such an analogy with a consilience as argued for by Whewell. On the contrary, Darwin’s Origin is written in precisely the manner that one (...) would expect were Darwin attempting to model his work on the precepts found in Herschel’s Preliminary Discourse on Natural Science. While Hodge has worked out a careful interpretation of both Darwin and Herschel, drawing similar conclusions, his interpretation misreads Herschel’s use of the vera causa principle and the verification of hypotheses. The new reading that I present here resolves this trouble, combining Hodge’s careful treatment of the structure of the Origin with a more cautious understanding of Herschel’s philosophy of science. This interpretation lets us understand why Darwin laid out the Origin in the way that he did and also why Herschel so strongly disagreed, including in Herschel’s heretofore unanalyzed marginalia in his copy of Darwin’s book. (shrink)
Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852–1936) is widely regarded as the father of modern comparative psychology. Yet, Morgan initially had significant doubts about whether a genuine science of comparative psychology was even possible, only later becoming more optimistic about our ability to make reliable inferences about the mental capacities of non-human animals. There has been a fair amount of disagreement amongst scholars of Morgan’s work about the nature, timing, and causes of this shift in Morgan’s thinking. We argue that Morgan underwent two (...) quite different shifts of attitude towards the proper practice of comparative psychology. The first was a qualified acceptance of the Romanesian approach to comparative psychology that he had initially criticized. The second was a shift away from Romanes’ reliance on systematizing anecdotal evidence of animal intelligence towards an experimental approach, focused on studying the development of behaviour. We emphasize the role of Morgan’s evolving epistemological views in bringing about the first shift – in particular, his philosophy of science. We emphasize the role of an intriguing but overlooked figure in the history of comparative psychology in explaining the second shift, T. Mann Jones, whose correspondence with Morgan provided an important catalyst for Morgan’s experimental turn, particularly the special focus on development. We also shed light on the intended function of Morgan’s Canon, the methodological principle for which Morgan is now mostly known. The Canon can only be properly understood by seeing it in the context of Morgan’s own unique experimental vision for comparative psychology. (shrink)
Many commentators regard Ethical Studies as the most Hegelian of Bradley’s writings. The common perception is that the Fifth essay of that work, which articulates an ethics of “My Station and its Duties”, expresses Bradley’s position on the question of the nature of morality. Nonetheless when the dialectical structure of Ethical Studies is taken into account, the common perception is not only questionable, but it also emerges that, in interrogating the nature of morality, Bradley’s concern is beyond matters merely ethical, (...) in so far as, on Bradley’s view, the question of the nature of morality inevitably implicates the larger question as to the relation of morality to religion, and of religion to philosophy. Thus in accentuating the claim of ideal morality in the Sixth Essay against the apotheosis of social morality, Bradley’s attempt is to offer a larger perspective on the being of morality itself, as it bears on the question of the nature of ultimate reality. Paradoxically, Bradley concludes by way of anti-climax that the highest viewpoint on morality is still inadequate to the matter, given that morality is inherently self-contradictory. Given the often confused environment of much of the contemporary debates on the nature of morality in which communitarianism is dualistically opposed to individualism, and ethical relativism pitched against ethical objectivism, the relevance of Bradley’s accentuation of the ideality of morality is beyond question, as it provides useful resources for thinking together personal and social morality without reducing one to the other. (shrink)
Most historians explains changes in conceptions of the epistemic virtues and vices in terms of social and historical developments. I argue that such approaches, valuable as they are, neglect the fact that certain changes also reflect changes in metaphysical sensibilities. Certain epistemic virtues and vices are defined relative to an estimate of our epistemic situation that is, in turn, defined by a broader vision or picture of the nature of reality. I defend this claim by charting changing conceptions of the (...) virtue of epistemic humility in 19th century intellectual culture - specifically the scientific naturalists. (shrink)
Naomi Beck’s very readable book examines the reception of Herbert Spencer’s work among Italian and French intellectuals from 1860 to 1900, focusing on the role of biology in analyses of society and politics. Although its topic is narrow, the book is relevant to historians interested in Social Darwinism, positivism, early social science, and comparative history. It also provides a case study for scholars of the reception and transformation of ideas.
This paper traces the ancestry of a familiar historiographical narrative, according to which early modern philosophy was marked by the development of empiricism, rationalism, and their synthesis by Immanuel Kant. It is often claimed that this narrative became standard in the nineteenth century, due to the influence of Thomas Reid, Kant and his disciples, or German Hegelians and British Idealists. The paper argues that the narrative became standard only at the turn of the twentieth century. This was not due to (...) the influence of Reid, German Hegelians, or British Idealists as they did not endorse the narrative, although Thomas Hill Green may have facilitated its uptake. The narrative is based on Kant’s historiographical sketches, as corrected and integrated by Karl Leonhard Reinhold. It was first fleshed out into full-fledged histories by two Kantians, Wilhelm Gottlieb Tennemann and Johann Gottlieb Buhle. Numerous historians, several of whom were not Kantians, spread it in the English-speaking world. They include Kuno Fischer, Friedrich Ueberweg, Richard Falckenberg, and Wilhelm Windelband. However, the wide availability of their works did not suffice to make the narrative standard because, until the 1890s, the Hegelian account was at least as popular as theirs. Among the factors that allowed the narrative to become standard are its aptness to be adopted by philosophers of the most diverse persuasions, its simplicity and suitability for teaching. (shrink)
James Mylne (1757-1839) taught moral philosophy and political economy in Glasgow from 1797 to the mid-1830s. Rational Piety and Social Reform in Glasgow offers readers Mylne's biography, a summary of his lectures on moral philosophy and political economy, several interpretative essays, and a collation of his introductory lecture.
According to Thomas Reid, the development of natural sciences following the model of Newton's Principia and Optics would provide further evidence for the belief in a provident God. This project was still supported by his student, Dugald Stewart, in the early nineteenth century. John Fearn , an early critic of the Scottish common sense school, thought that the rise of ‘infidelity’ in the wake of scientific progress had shown that the apologetic project of Reid and Stewart had failed. In reaction (...) to Reid and Stewart, he proposed an idealist philosophy that would dispense with the existence of matter, and would thus cut at the root what he thought was the main source of modern atheism. In this paper, I consider Fearn's critique of Reid and Stewart in his main works: First Lines of the Human Mind and Manual of the Physiology of Mind . I also consider Fearn's arguments against Hume and in favour of a renewed apologetics in An Essay on the Philosophy of Faith and the Economy of Revelatio.. (shrink)
Starting with Aristotle and moving on to Darwin, Marco Solinas outlines the basic steps from the birth, establishment and later rebirth of the traditional view of living beings, and its overturning by evolutionary revolution. The classic framework devised by Aristotle was still dominant in the 17th Century world of Galileo, Harvey and Ray, and remained hegemonic until the time of Lamarck and Cuvier in the 19th Century. Darwin's breakthrough thus takes on the dimensions of an abandonment of the traditional finalistic (...) theory. It was a transition exemplified in the morphological analysis of useless parts, such as the sightless eyes of moles, already discussed by Aristotle, which Darwin used as a crowbar to unhinge the systematic recourse to final causes. With many excerpts, a chronological sequence and an analytical approach, this book follows the course of the two conceptions that have shaped the destiny of life sciences in western culture. (shrink)
Free Will and the Human Sciences in Britain, 1870–1910, and Between Mind and Nature, both published in 2013, illustrate a claim dear to Roger Smith: namely, that history—including history of the human sciences—is central to the human sciences. Free Will charts a wide range of conceptions of the will, power, agency, activity, the self, and character, as well as causality, necessity, determinism, and materialism. Victorian physicians, physiologists, scientific and philosophical psychologists, and philosophers, as well as (though that is not the (...) distinctive focus of the book) novelists, politicians, and ordinary men and women combined those ideas in complex ways, at times merging together questions and concepts that we, instead, tend to separate (e.g., the question of the freedom of the will and the question of its efficacy). As Smith reminds us, the will attained unprecedented salience in a culture that made it into the “base of character” and, largely unable to theorize social agency, made character into “the pivot of personal relations and politics” (Free Will, pp. 8, 10). After analyzing arguments about automatism and free will (Ch. 2), Smith turns to intellectual debates on the nature of volition, mental activity, and causality. He highlights the links between those debates, arguments concerning “the form of knowledge found in the natural sciences,” and debates concerning the identity of psychology and history as sciences. The central chapters are largely organized on the basis of the actors’ distinction between “empiricists” (e.g., J. S. Mill, Herbert Spencer, and Shadworth Hodgson) and “idealists” (e.g., Francis Bradley, James Ward, and, for his theory of knowledge, G. F. Stout). In general, empiricists tended to deny the commonsense perception of the will as an actual agent (a power), endowed with substantive reality and freedom. They also tended to allow only Humean causes and to deny the existence of “efficient causes” (that is, in Thomas Reid’s terminology, causes understood as real agents; ibid., p. 83). Idealists, instead, usually rejected Hume’s constant conjunction account of causality and inclined to view the “individual will” as “the agent of spirit in the world” (ibid., p. 66). However, Smith persuasively shows that the divides between the two camps were far more fluid than is usually thought, allowing for many exceptions and surprising convergences between self-avowed idealists and empiricists. (shrink)
Although the Cambridge Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic James Ward was once one of Britain's most highly regarded Psychologists and Philosophers, today his work is unjustly neglected. This is because his philosophy is frequently misrepresented as a reactionary anti-naturalistic idealist theism. In this article, I argue, first, that this reading is false, and that by viewing Ward through the lens of pragmatism we obtain a fresh interpretation of his work that highlights the scientific nature of his philosophy and his (...) original and promising theory of ‘evolutionary Kantianism’, with its applications to the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics. Second, I show that reading Ward as a pragmatist provides us with (1) a more complex history of the reception of pragmatism at Cambridge at the turn of the twentieth century than the straightforwardly hostile one traditionally told; and (2) a more detailed understanding of the wide range of philosophical problems to which pragmatism was deemed at this time to have an appropriate application. (shrink)
This chapter considers the development of experimental psychology as a distinct discipline from philosophy, a result that arrived more slowly in Britain than in Germany or the United States. The chapter first considers more closely the question of what it means to chart the ‘emergence’ of psychology as a separate discipline. It finds that the usual criteria applied by historians of psychologh, that a discipline arises through institutional structures such as professorships (a specialist career path), journals, and professional socieites, does (...) not fit the British scene. It then surveys some actors’ taxonomies of psychological trends or schools in Britain, looking back from the first quarter of the twentieth century. Finally, it examines connections between philosophy and psychology in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century, involving the problem of the external world and the use of psychology in epistemology. (shrink)
This chapter challenges the view that psychology emerged from philosophy about 1900, when each found its own proper sphere with little relation to the other. It begins by considering the notion of a discipline, defined as a distinct branch of learning. Psychology has been a discipline from the time of Aristotle, though with a wider ambit, to include phenomena of both life and mind. Empirical psychology in a narrower sense arose in the eighteenth century, through the application (in Britain and (...) elsewhere) of the observational attitudes of the physical and life sciences to mental phenomena. The experimental psychology of the latter nineteenth century was a transformation of this empirical psychology, although the British version was characterized by new theoretical conceptions (including evolutionary ideas) as well as new empirical techniques. After surveying psychology in and out of universities in this period, the chapter reviews a taxonomy of “schools” of psychology from 1923. Notice of anti-psychological attitudes in British philosophy before and after 1900 is balanced by considering positive conceptions of psychology’s role in connection with epistemology and the problem of the external world. (shrink)
This is the first full assessment of British philosophy in the 19th century. Specially written essays by leading experts explore the work of the key thinkers of this remarkable period in intellectual history, covering logic and scientific method, metaphysics, religion, positivism, the impact of Darwin, and ethical, social, and political theory.
The development of symbolic logic is often presented in terms of a cumulative story of consecutive innovations that led to what is known as modern logic. This narrative hides the difficulties that this new logic faced at first, which shaped its history. Indeed, negative reactions to the emergence of the new logic in the second half of the nineteenth century were numerous and we study here one case, namely logic at Oxford, where one finds Lewis Carroll, a mathematical teacher who (...) promoted symbolic logic, and John Cook Wilson, the Wykeham Professor of Logic who notoriously opposed it. An analysis of their disputes on the topic of logical symbolism shows that their opposition was not as sharp as it might look at first, as Cook Wilson was not so much opposed to the « symbolic » character of logic, but the intrusion of mathematics and what he perceived to be the futility of some of its problems, for logicians and philosophers alike. (shrink)
I argue in this paper that rather than viewing John Dewey as either a historicist or a naturalist, we should see him as strange but potentially fruitful combination of both. I will demonstrate that the notion of organism-environment interaction central to Dewey’s pragmatism stems from a Hegelian approach to adaptation; his turn to biology was not necessarily a turn away from Hegel. I argue that Dewey’s account of the organism-environment relation derives from the work of Oxford Hegelians such as Edward (...) Caird and Samuel Alexander, who were attempting to reconcile evolutionary ideas with a critique of Herbert Spencer’s environmentalist account of human thought and action. This dialectical account of organism-environment interaction played a key role in Dewey’s philosophy from the 1890s to the 1940s, despite other shifts in his thinking. (shrink)
This article is a discussion of Bernard Bosanquet's paper 'The Reality of the General Will', in which its main arguments and motivations are explained. His position is compared to Rousseau's on the general will.
This chapter examines Russell’s appreciation of the relevance of psychology for the theory of knowledge, especially in connection with the problem of the external world, and the background for this appreciation in British philosophy of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Russell wrote in 1914 that “the epistemological order of deduction includes both logical and psychological considerations.” Indeed, the notion of what is “psychologically derivative” played a crucial role in his epistemological analysis from this time. His epistemological discussions engage psychological factors (...) in the perception of external objects that had been closely examined in the nineteenth century, among other places in J. S. Mill’s response to William Hamilton’s conception of knowledge of the external world. These considerations came to Russell in various ways, including his contact with British Empiricism (Mill, with Berkeley, Hume, and Reid as background), his engagement with Austrian philosophy, his close acquaintance with the philosophy and psychology of William James, and his exposure to contemporary British writings concerning the problem of the external world. The latter writings provide a crucial context within which natural scientific psychology came to be seen as distinct from epistemology and yet as relevant to its concerns. (shrink)
A critical discussion of DAVID WILSON and WILLIAM DIXON, A History of Homo Economicus. The nature of the moral in economic theory, London and New York, Routledge, pp. xviii+123 ISBN 978-0-415-59568-1. I declare agreement with one basic idea in this book, that economic discourse is performative, or economic theory is not pure theorìa. I add several objections to the historical reconstruction carried out os such authors as Malthus and Ricardo and I object to the definition adopted of homo economicus.
ABSTRACT While a great deal of scholarly attention has been given to the publication of serialized novels in early Victorian Britain, there has been hardly any consideration of the no less widespread practice of issuing scientific works in parts and numbers. What scholarship there has been has insisted that scientific part-works operated on entirely different principles from the strategies for maintaining readerly interest that were being developed by serial novelists like Charles Dickens. Deploying the methods of book history, this essay (...) examines the reporting of Richard Owen's celebrated paleontological reconstructions from the 1830s and 1840s in the serialized formats of the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, his own History of British Fossil Mammals, and, in particular, the Penny Cyclopaedia. It argues that Owen, along with his close friend William John Broderip, clearly recognized the affective possibilities of the serial format and that they exploited the Penny Cyclopaedia's sequential mode of publication to evoke suspense and expectation in their anonymous but collaboratively authored accounts of Owen's paleontological researches. (shrink)
What Russell regarded to be the ‘chief outcome’ of his 1914 Lowell Lectures at Harvard can only be fully appreciated, I argue, if one embeds the outcome back into the ‘classificatory problem’ that many at the time were heavily engaged in. The problem focused on the place and relationships between the newly formed or recently professionalized disciplines such as psychology, Erkenntnistheorie, physics, logic and philosophy. The prime metaphor used in discussions about the classificatory problem by British philosophers was a spatial (...) one, with such motifs as ‘standpoints’, ‘place’ and ‘perspectives’ in the space of knowledge. In fact, Russell’s construction of a perspectival space of six-dimensions was meant precisely to be a timely solution to the widely discussed classificatory problem. (shrink)
Tom Stoppard’s 1966 play (and 1990 movie) /Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead/ is a metatext – as a text, it interprets, builds upon, and refers to another text, Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Similarly, David N. Reznick’s /The Origin then and now: An interpretative guide to the Origin of Species/ (Princeton UP, 2010) is also a metatext. In this review, I turn to the history of science to evaluate whether Reznick’s book shares three families of virtues with Stoppard’s play: (i) brevity and precision, (...) (ii) intrigue and appeal, and (iii) a genuine value-add to the original. (shrink)
British idealism flourished in the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. It was a movement with a lasting influence on the social and political thought of its time in particular. British idealists helped popularize the work of Immanuel Kant and G. W. F. Hegel in the Anglophone world, but they also sought to use insights from the philosophies of Kant and Hegel to help create a new idealism to address the many pressing issues of the Victorian period in Britain (...) and its aftermath. These contributions related to theories of freedom, the common good, political obligation, the state, and punishment. The British idealists also made important contributions in areas other than Hegelian scholarship and ethics, including logic, metaphysics, and the philosophy of religion. The movement declined by the start of World War I. This entry will highlight the most important work by British idealists themselves and by their best interpreters. Thus this entry will be grouped by individuals rather than by theme. (shrink)
Perhaps one of the most underappreciated philosophical movements is British Idealism. This movement arose during the latter half of the nineteenth century and began to wane after the outbreak of the First World War. British Idealism has produced a number of important figures, such as Bernard Bosanquet, R. G. Collingwood, F. H. Bradley and T. H. Green, as well as other important, but less well known, figures, such as J. S. Mackenzie, John Henry Muirhead and James Seth. It has also (...) given us a number of lasting philosophical ideas. (shrink)
According to Reid, color sensations are not extended nor are they arranged in figured patterns. Reid further claimed that ‘there is no sensation appropriated to visible figure.’ Reid justified these controversial claims by appeal to Cheselden's report of the experiences of a young man affected by severe cataracts, and by appeal to cases of perception of visible figure without color. While holding fast to the principle that sensations are not extended, Dugald Stewart tried to show that ‘a variety of colour (...) sensations is a necessary means for the perception of visible figure.’ According to John Fearn, two motives appear to be central to Reid's views about color sensations and extension: his commitment to the Cartesian doctrine of the immateriality of the soul, and his attempt to evade ‘Hume's dilemma’ about the existence and immateriality of the soul. (shrink)