David Boucher & Andrew Vincent: British Idealism and Political Theory

Edinburgh University Press, 2000

Back Cover:

Boucher Vincent“An original project, both in its conception and execution. The authors have risen magnificently to the challenge…(they) write as acknowledged experts in the field; but while they draw on their own previous work, they extend and deepen it by asking many new questions.”  Peter Nicholson, University of York

“A first-rate contribution to contemporary scholarship on the British Idealists…What makes the book especially valuable is the attempt to relate the work of the British Idealists to concerns in contemporary political philosophy or to major figures in modern philosophy outside the Idealist movement.”  Professor William Sweet, St Francis Xavier University, Canada

British Idealism – influenced by the character of German Idealist thought at the end of the eighteenth century, developed by Kant, Fichte and Hegel – began to establish its roots during the middle of the nineteenth century and rapidly became the dominant British philosophy. It began to be challenged at the turn of the century by philosophers including Bertrand Russell and by the end of the First World War it was on the retreat, although its philosophical reverberations are still evident. Testimony to this fact is the considerable renaissance in all aspects of Idealist studies, and particularly in the works of its most recent twentieth-century exponents Michael Oakeshott and R.G. Collingwood.

This book offers an introduction to British Idealism through a study of each of the seven key thinkers – T. H. Green, Bernard Bosanquet, F. H. Bradley, Henry Jones, David Ritchie, R. G. Collingwood and Michael Oakeshott. It explores the background religious, political, moral, ideological and economic themes which underpin the work of the thinkers and shows the relevance of their philosophy – with the emphasis on social cohesiveness and the relationship between individual and collective responsibility – to current politics.

Written by two of the leading experts in the field, this is a valuable text that will introduce the theory of British Idealism to a broad range of readers.

Contents:

Introduction

1.  T. H. Green: Citizenship as Political and Metaphysical

2.  F. H. Bradley: Ethical Idealism and Hedonism

3.  Bernard Bosanquet: The Sociology of Philosophy and the Philosophy of Sociology

4.  David Ritchie: Evolution and the Limits of Rights

5.  Henry Jones: Beyond Socialism and Liberalism

6.  R. G. Collingwood: The Enemy Within and the Crisis of Civilization

7.  Michael Oakeshott: The Non-Economic Character of Civil Association

About the Authors:

David Boucher is Professor of Political Theory at Cardiff University. Andrew Vincent is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Sheffield.

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