British idealist aesthetics is not well known, and to the extent that it is known, it is generally through the writings of R.G. Collingwood, who is sometimes described as an idealist of the ‘third generation.’.
William Sweet offers a rejoinder to Hendrik Hart’s response. He begins with terminological considerations, and argues that, despite Hart’s further clarifications regarding his use of such terms as ‘faith,’ ‘belief,’ and ‘rational,’ the concerns raised in his first critical essay still stand. He raises two substantive issues which, he argues, Hart has yet to explain fully and convincingly: the nature of faith, and how what religious believers say about their faith can be understood as meaningful or true. He concludes by (...) suggesting that the future conversation focus on two central questions: the nature of faith, and whether Hart is arguing for an ‘alternative’ vision of meaning and truth, or simply a ‘broader’ one. (shrink)
ln a number of recent essays, Hendrik Hart has elaborated an account of the nature and function of religious belief that, he believes, is post-modern in inspiration and anti-foundationalist in character. ln this paper, I reconstruct what I take to be Hart’s central claims. While Hart does remind us of some important aspects of the nature of religious belief---aspects often overlooked by many critics---l suggest that there are several problems in the account he provides, that there are tensions between his (...) view of religious belief and his claims about how it can function, and that it is not clear that he ultimately avoids adopting a variant of the foundationalism he explicitly rejects. (shrink)
Earlier versions of this paper were read to the Departments of Philosophy at the University of New Brunswick and at Saint Francis Xavier University and to the Canadian Societh for the Study of Religion at Queen’s University, Kingston. The authors wish to thank the participants for their comments.
The history of Western philosophy and science is marked by numerous moments when a major development has emerged from conditions that are manifestly adverse to intellectual activity. This book surveys a wide range of cases, and considers how these achievements were possible and how adversity helped shape the ideas that emerged.
In this article, the authors review some contemporary cases where biotechnologies have been employed, where they have had global implications, and where there has been considerable debate. The authors argue that the concept of dignity, which lies at the center of such documents as the 2005 Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data and the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights is useful, if not necessary, in engaging in decision making (...) in relation to the moral evaluation of biotechnologies on a global scale. (shrink)
The place of British idealism in the history of political thought has been the subject of much debate. Some have maintained that it represented "a complete change" from the liberal tradition of Mill and Bentham. We re-examine here some features of Bosanquet's political philosophy, arguing that evidence for its alleged "conservative" or "illiberal" character is far from conclusive. Still, while there are a number of key liberal values to be found in Bosanquet's thought, in several important respects he breaks with (...) the earlier liberal tradition in Britain. This will allow us to draw some conclusions about the place of idealism in the history of 19th century British liberalism. (shrink)
In his 1983 book on Bradley’s Logic, Anthony Manser remarks that “[i]t has been suggested that there was, at the end of the nineteenth century, a great English philosopher named ‘Bradley-Bosanquet’.” Manser was, of course, just repeating the view of J.S. MacKenzie who wrote, in his 1928 review of the second edition of Bradley’s Ethical Studies, that “Bradley and Bosanquet have almost to be regarded as one person […] Neither is readily intelligible without the other.” And it is fairly well (...) known that Bosanquet himself sometimes wrote that his and Bradley’s respective views were quite close — that “there is never […] any more than a verbal difference or difference of emphasis, between us.” So, despite the recognition in Bosanquet’s own time that he had a distinctive and powerful voice on philosophical topics, the impression created by the preceding remarks — that Bosanquet does not really offer a distinctive position from Bradley — has been long held, and it is no doubt partly responsible for the consequence that, until fairly recently, philosophical interest in Bosanquet’s work has taken, at best, second place to that of Bradley. (shrink)
I argue that British Idealist Bernard Bosanquet’s discussion of cultural phenomena reflects principles present in his logic—principles articulated long before his explicitly absolutist views and from a period in which all agree he clearly held humanist values. This, I conclude, obliges us also to reevaluate some of the standard assessments of Bosanquet’s philosophy and, particularly, those that see his ‘absolutism’ as inconsistent with his humanism.
I discuss some of the features of the analysis of culture provided by the Britist idealist philosopher, Bernard Bosanquet. It has been suggested that Bosanquet's philosophical views, especially on topics related to culture, were determined by the 'absolutist' metaphysics he inherited from Hegel and F. H. Bradley, and that one can see a shift in his work from an early humanism, contemporary with his studies in logic, to a late anti-humanism. I argue that this account is problematic, that Bosanquet's discussion (...) of cultural phenomena in fact consistently reflected principles present in his logic, and that these were articulated long before his explicitly absolutist metaphysical views. Specifically, I briefly outline three elements constitutive of a discussion of culture — aesthetics, religion and social life — and show how Bosanquet's account of each of them displays characteristics that are typically found in his logic. Since Bosanquet never abandoned the idealist logic of his youth — indeed, he wrote on the topic throughout his philosophical career — there is reason to doubt that he ever gave up the humanist values associated with them. This, I conclude, obliges us to reevaluate the standard assessments of Bosanquet's philosophy. (shrink)
It is generally acknowledged that the British Idealism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had a significant influence in the philosophy, politics, and culture of that country. In this study, I argue that it also had a considerable impact throughout much of the English-speaking world, and beyond -- in Canada, Australia, the United States, South Africa, India, and even East Asia. This idealism engaged 'local' philosophical traditions and culture, contributed to them, and sometimes led to 'new' philosophies or (...) traditions, and so may be described as a 'migrating tradition.' While the character and extent of this influence varied according to where and how it migrated, British Idealism can, nevertheless and in amodestway, be said to have had an 'empire'. This study, then, addresses both a historical issue and the broader philosophical question of why British Idealism was successful in this diaspora, and it identifies a number of features of this Idealism which may explain this. (shrink)
Many studies in the philosophy of religion have focussed on the character of religious faith and whether there is place for a rational demonstration of religious belief. These studies frequently pit ‘evidentialists’ against ‘non-evidentialists’. Interestingly, these issues were of central concern to the 19th century philosopher John Henry Newman - principally in his Grammar of Assent and his Oxford Sermons - where Newman attempts a ‘via media’ between these two extremes. In this paper, my focus is not so much on (...) the adequacy of Newman’s via media, as on his analysis of religious belief, and on what he takes belief and the epistemic standards relevant to determining the meaning and truth of religious belief to be. I will argue that Newman’s account provides a novel understanding of the relation of grounds for belief to faith than provided by many of his contemporaries, and that its attempt to be a via media has a surprisingly contemporary character. (shrink)
How is multiculturalism possible in what we call the “postmodern age”? Postmodernity challenges our norms and conventions, our theories of human nature, our grand narratives, and—in general—any essentialist or foundationalist approach. And so it would seem to challenge any attempt to engage in dialogue across cultures or in any way that proposes to be independent of context.One response to this is to focus not on theories but on practices. In particular, I want to focus on the practice of hospitality, of (...) which much has been written of late and which has been suggested as a model for dialogue. (shrink)
In this paper, I discuss some challenges to the discourse of universal human rights made by those who insist that the existence of pluralism and cultural diversity count against it. I focus on arguments made in a recent article by Vinay Lal but also address several other criticisms of universal human rights-arguments hinted at, but not elaborated, by Lal. I maintain that these challenges frequently fail to distinguish the discourse of human rights from its adoption by certain states to advance (...) foreign policy objectives, and suggest that, even when these criticisms appear plausible, closer inspection reveals that they are either inconsistent or simply do not succeed. I conclude that the notion of universal human rights still has an important place in a culturally diverse and pluralist world. (shrink)