W. J. Mander provides a brief introduction to and critical assessment of the thought of the greatest of the British Idealist philosophers, F. H. Bradley (1846-1924), whose work has been largely neglected in this century. After a general introduction to Bradley's metaphysics and its logical foundations, Mander shows that much of Bradley's philosophy has been seriously misunderstood. Mander argues that any adequate treatment of Bradley's thought must take full account of his unique dual inheritance from the traditions of British empiricism (...) and Hegelian rationalism. The scholarship of recent years is assessed, and new interpretations are offered of Bradley's views about truth, predication, and relations, and of his arguments for idealism. (shrink)
The philosophers of the self-styled ‘revolution in philosophy’ that went on to become the contemporary analytic tradition started a rumour about the British Idealists that has persisted to this day. Finding neither the substance of the idealist case, nor the style of idealistic writing, congenial to their modern taste, these Edwardians hinted that their Victorian forbears had argued from emotion rather than reason. No single paper could address this accusation across the board, for the movement in its entirety, and so (...) in this essay I focus on just one case, that of F. H. Bradley. Specifically, I identify the role he allows to feeling, emotion and what he terms ‘satisfaction’ in the determination of metaphysical and moral principles, and further ask whether the critics of idealism were right that there was something untoward in his approach. (shrink)
Theists typically think it appropriate to pray to God in the hope that He will thereby intervene in affairs. On the other hand, such prayer is often held to be quite inappropriate for pantheists; a view endorsed by many pantheists themselves. This paper argues for the exact opposite of these positions. It is maintained not only that pantheism can make sense of petitionary prayer but that, despite initial appearances to the contrary, classical theism can not.
This article examines a somewhat neglected argument for the existence of God which appeals to the divine perspective as a way of reconciling the conflicting claims of realism and anti-realism. Six representative examples are set out (Berkeley, Ferrier, T. H. Green, Josiah Royce, Gordon Clark and Michael Dummett), reasons are considered why this argument has received less attention than it might, and a brief sketch given of the most promising way in which it might be developed.
Royce's Argument for the Absolute w.j. MANDER IN 188 5 IN THE PENULTIMATE CHAPTER of his first book, The Religious Aspect of Philosophy, Josiah Royce put forward an argument for Absolute Idealism based on the possibility of error. He considered the argument a most important one and returned to it on numerous occasions after that, slightly recasting it each time,' but never, he later claimed, really leaving it behind. Nor was he alone in his opinion of it; well received by (...) his contemporaries, such as William James, the argument did much to establish the young Royce's reputation. 9 Like the Absolute Idealism which it was designed to support, Royce's once- famous argument is now largely forgotten, yet there is no real justification for this save fashion, for it deals in a fresh and imaginative way with a subject matter still very much discussed in the literature. The purpose of this study is to recon- sider Royce's argument and to assess its validity. I shall examine it in some detail below, but first let me give a very brief summary of Royce's case keeping as close as possible to his own original presentation of it. The argument occurs in the following places, references to which will be abbreviated by the letters in brackets: The Religious Aspect of Philosophy , Chap. XI; The spirit of Modern Philosophy , Ch. XI; "The Implications of self-Consciousness," reprinted in his Studies.. (shrink)
The simplest response to the problem of evil is to deny that there exists any evil, but that answer is usually dismissed as obviously unacceptable. This paper takes issue with that assessment and argues that it is an answer deserving of serious consideration. After rejecting four manifestly unacceptable formulations, two further conceptions are identified—the ‘higher standard’ and ‘wider perspective’ answers—which merit closer attention. The remainder of the paper considers and responds to four main objections to the theory: that it runs (...) contrary to our experience, that it is self-defeating, that it makes a nonsense of worship and that it would undermine moral action. (shrink)
F. H. Bradley did not write extensively or systematically on the philosophy of religion, and much of what he did write has the character of either tentative speculation or the pre-emptive rebuttal of potential misinterpretations that might threaten his general philosophical position. ‘I admit that on this subject I never had much to say’ he warns. But such a remark should not discourage us from considering his views on this topic, since the disclaimer is typically Bradleian, and more reflective of (...) his high standards for what is required in order to claim to have something to say about some matter than of any genuine lack of opinion. On closer inspection we find that he has, scattered throughout his work, a great many important things to say about this subject. (shrink)
Abstract It is sometimes thought that Absolute Idealism was undermined by its inability to deal with science. Through a critical discussion of F. H. Bradley's philosophy of science, this idea is challenged. His views on science are divided into a positive and a negative part, and it is argued that, although he found the scientific world view to be essentially false, he was nonetheless able to develop a sympathetic and intelligent philosophy of science. This was basically pragmatic and instrumental in (...) tone, and gave to science a large measure of autonomy from philosophy. His doctrine is connected with certain contemporary ideas in the philosophy of science. (shrink)
Bradley's philosophy of religion has been neglected by commentators but is of great interest in that it is markedly different from that of Hegel and the other British Idealists. Unlike them, he viewed religion in general as a practical affair more closely related to morality than to philosophy, and although he considered it to be unavoidably contradictory this did not prevent him from giving it a preeminent place among the appearances of the Absolute. His relationship to Christianity in particular was (...) a complex one, and although he was critical of many aspects of orthodox theology, he was a firm adherent to many other aspects. (shrink)
A new moral philosophy emerged on the British philosophical scene in the late 1870s, one referred to as the idealist ethic of social self-realization, which rapidly became the dominant mode of moral thought for over twenty years. This chapter discusses the views of the pioneers of idealist ethics, F. H. Bradley and T. H. Green.
Cet article explore la conception que les idéalistes britanniques se firent de la relation entre la philosophie et la poésie. J’examine la classification proposée par Hegel ainsi que la façon dont ils la modifièrent, et les difficultés auxquelles ils firent face dans leur tentative d’accommoder les critiques bien connues de Platon. J’examine ensuite certaines critiques adressées aux idéalistes à partir du point de vue de la philosophie analytique pour en conclure qu’elles ne sont guère convaincantes.This article explores the relation between (...) philosophy and poetry according to the British Idealists. I examine their place in Hegel’s classification as they modified it and the difficulties that they faced when trying to accommodate Plato’s well-known criticisms. I examine further some of the criticisms of the British Idealist conceptions from the standpoint of Analytic Philosophy, in order to show how inconclusive they are. (shrink)
Recent years have seen a growth of interest in the great English idealist thinker T. H. Green (1836-82) as philosophers have begun to overturn received opinions of his thought and to rediscover his original and important contributions to ethics, metaphysics, and political philosophy. This collection of essays by leading experts, all but one published here for the first time, introduces and critically examines his ideas both in their context and in their relevance to contemporary debates.
W. J. Mander presents the first ever synoptic history of British Idealism, the school of thought which dominated English-language philosophy from the 1860s to the early 20th century. He restores to its proper place this neglected period of philosophy, introducing the exponents of Idealism and explaining its distinctive concepts and doctrines.
W. J. Mander examines the nature of idealist ethics, that is to say, the form and content of ethical belief most typically adopted by philosophical idealists. His inquiry has two aims. The first is historical: from the record of past philosophy, Mander demonstrates that there exists a discernible idealist approach to moral philosophy; a tradition of 'idealist ethics', and examines its characteristic marks and varieties. The second aim is apologetic. He argues that such idealist ethics offers an attractive way of (...) looking at moral questions and that it has much to contribute to contemporary discussion. In particular he argues that Idealist ethics have the power to cut through the sterile opposition between moral realism and moral anti-realism. To be an idealist is precisely to hold that the universe is so constituted that things are real if and only if they are ideal; to hold that uncovering in something the work of mind makes it more not less significant. (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.
Life, work, and influences -- Life -- Work -- Influences -- Metaphysics -- The intelligible world -- The existence of the intelligible world -- The intelligible and the divine world -- The intelligible and the natural world -- Knowledge -- Mind and body -- The souls of animals -- Knowledge : thought and souls -- Knowledge : God -- Mediate knowledge : external world -- Discussion and assessment of Norris's theory -- Was Norris an idealist? -- Faith and reason -- (...) The Socinian controversy -- Faith -- Reason -- Above reason and contrary to reason -- The measure of truth -- Faith and reason -- Malebranche -- Descartes -- Locke -- Love -- The theory of love -- The regulation of love -- The measure of divine love -- Controversy with Locke -- Norris's criticisms of Locke -- Locke's responses -- Concluding comments. (shrink)