Bernard Bosanquet (philosopher)

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Bernard Bosanquet

FBA
BernardBosanquetPhilosopher.jpg
Born14 June 1848
Rock Hall, near Alnwick, England
Died8 February 1923(1923-02-08) (aged 74)
London, England
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School British idealism

Bernard Bosanquet FBA ( /ˈbzənˌkɛt, -kɪt/ ; 14 June [1] 1848 – 8 February 1923) was an English philosopher and political theorist, and an influential figure on matters of political and social policy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work influenced but was later subject to criticism by many thinkers, notably Bertrand Russell, John Dewey and William James. Bernard was the husband of Charity Organisation Society leader Helen Bosanquet.

Fellow of the British Academy award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences

Fellowship of the British Academy (FBA) is an award granted by the British Academy to leading academics for their distinction in the humanities and social sciences. There are three kinds of fellowship:

  1. Fellows, for scholars resident in the United Kingdom
  2. Corresponding Fellows, for scholars not resident in the UK
  3. Honorary Fellows, an honorary academic title
Bertrand Russell British philosopher, mathematician, historian, writer, and activist

Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, essayist, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate. At various points in his life, Russell considered himself a liberal, a socialist and a pacifist, although he also confessed that his sceptical nature had led him to feel that he had "never been any of these things, in any profound sense." Russell was born in Monmouthshire into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in the United Kingdom.

John Dewey American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer

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Contents

Life

Born at Rock Hall near Alnwick, Bosanquet was the son of Robert William Bosanquet, a Church of England clergyman. He was educated at Harrow School and Balliol College, Oxford. After graduation, he was elected to a Fellowship at University College, Oxford, but, after receiving a substantial inheritance, resigned it in order to devote himself to philosophical research. He moved to London in 1881, [2] where he became an active member of the London Ethical Society and the Charity Organisation Society. Both were positive demonstrations of Bosanquet's ethical philosophy. Bosanquet published on a wide range of topics, such as logic, metaphysics, aesthetics and politics. In his metaphysics, he is regarded as a key representative (with F. H. Bradley) of absolute idealism, although it is a term that he abandoned in favour of "speculative philosophy".

Alnwick market town in north Northumberland, England

Alnwick is a market town in north Northumberland, England, of which it is the traditional county town. The population at the 2011 Census was 8,116.

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.

Harrow School English independent school for boys

Harrow School is an independent boarding school for boys in Harrow, London, England. The School was founded in 1572 by John Lyon under a Royal Charter of Elizabeth I, and is one of the original seven public schools that were regulated by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow charges up to £12,850 per term, with three terms per academic year (2017/18). Harrow is the fourth most expensive boarding school in the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference.

He was one of the leaders of the so-called neo-Hegelian philosophical movement in Great Britain. He was strongly influenced by the ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle, but also by the German philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Among his best-known works are The Philosophical Theory of the State (1899), his Gifford lectures, The Principle of Individuality and Value (1912) and The Value and Destiny of the Individual (1913).

Ancient Greek philosophy philosophical origins and foundation of western civilization

Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were part of the Roman Empire. Philosophy was used to make sense out of the world in a non-religious way. It dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, mathematics, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, ontology, logic, biology, rhetoric and aesthetics.

Plato Classical Greek philosopher

Plato was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.

Aristotle philosopher in ancient Greece

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, the founder of the Lyceum and the Peripatetic school of philosophy and Aristotelian tradition. Along with his teacher Plato, he has been called the "Father of Western Philosophy". His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics and government. Aristotle provided a complex synthesis of the various philosophies existing prior to him, and it was above all from his teachings that the West inherited its intellectual lexicon, as well as problems and methods of inquiry. As a result, his philosophy has exerted a unique influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and it continues to be a subject of contemporary philosophical discussion.

Bosanquet was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1894 to 1898.

The Aristotelian Society for the Systematic Study of Philosophy, more generally known as the Aristotelian Society, was founded at a meeting on 19 April 1880, at 17 Bloomsbury Square, London.

Idealist social theory

In his Encyclopedia, Section 95, Hegel had written about "the ideality of the finite." This obscure, seemingly meaningless, phrase was interpreted as implying that "what is finite is not real" [3] because the ideal is understood as being the opposite of the real. Bosanquet was a follower of Hegel and the "central theme of Bosanquet's idealism was that every finite existence necessarily transcends itself and points toward other existences and finally to the whole. Thus, he advocated a system very close to that in which Hegel had argued for the ideality of the finite." [3]

The relation of the finite individual to the whole state in which he or she lives was investigated in Bosanquet's Philosophical Theory of the State (London, 1899). In this book, he "argued that the state is the real individual and that individual persons are unreal by comparison with it." [3] But Bosanquet did not think that the state has a right to impose social control over its individual citizens. "On the contrary, he believed that if society is organic and individual, then its elements can cooperate apart from a centralised organ of control, the need for which presupposes that harmony has to be imposed upon something that is naturally unharmonious." [3]

The relationship between the individual and society was summarised in Bosanquet's preface to The Introduction to Hegel's Philosophy of Fine Art (1886):

Man's Freedom, in the sense thus contemplated, lies in the spiritual or supra-sensuous world by which his humanity is realized, and in which his will finds fulfilment. The family, for example, property, and law are the first steps of man's freedom. In them the individual's will obtains and bestows recognition as an agent in a society whose bond of union is ideal — i.e. existing only in consciousness ; and this recognition develops into duties and rights. It is in these that man finds something to live for, something in which and for the sake of which to assert himself. As society develops he lives on the whole more in the civilized or spiritual world, and less in the savage or purely natural world. His will, which is himself, expands with the institutions and ideas that form its purpose, and the history of this expansion is the history of human freedom. Nothing is more shallow,more barbarously irrational, than to regard the progress of civilization as the accumulation of restrictions. Laws and rules are a necessary aspect of extended capacities. (p. xxvii) [4]

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References

  1. Bernard Bosanquet by Helen Bosanquet, London, 1924, p. 7. See also Find A Grave. Many printed sources report a different, incorrect date, 14 July. The original source of this error is unknown.
  2. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Bernard-Bosanquet
  3. 1 2 3 4 The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, vol. 3, "Idealism", New York, 1967
  4. "The Introduction to Hegel's Philosophy of Fine Art". Kegan Paul Trench & Co. 1886. Retrieved 13 December 2016.