Edmund Fiske Green
March 30, 1842
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
|Died||July 4, 1901 59) (aged|
Gloucester, Massachusetts, United States
John Fiske (March 30, 1842 – July 4, 1901) was an American philosopher and historian.
John Fiske was born Edmund Fiske Green at Hartford, Connecticut, March 30, 1842. He was the only child of Edmund Brewster Green, of Smyrna, Delaware, and Mary Fiske Bound, of Middletown, Connecticut. His father was editor of newspapers in Hartford, New York City, and Panama, where he died in 1852, and his widow married Edwin W. Stoughton, of New York, in 1855.On the second marriage of his mother, Edmund Fiske Green assumed the name of his maternal great-grandfather, John Fiske.
As a child, Fiske exhibited remarkable precocity. He lived at Middletown during childhood, until he entered Harvard. He graduated from Harvard College in 1863 and from Harvard Law School in 1865. He had already admitted to the Suffolk bar in 1864, but never practised law. His career as author began in 1861, with an article on "Mr. Buckle's Fallacies" published in the National Quarterly Review. After that, he was a frequent contributor to American and British periodicals.
From 1869 to 1871, he was university lecturer on philosophy at Harvard, in 1870 instructor in history there, and assistant librarian 1872-1879. On resigning the latter position in 1879, he was elected a member of the board of overseers, and at the expiration of the six-years' term was re-elected in 1885. Beginning in 1881, he lectured annually on American history at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, and beginning in 1884 held a professorship of American history at that institution, but continued to make his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He lectured on American history at University College London in 1879, and at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in 1880. He gave many hundreds of lectures, chiefly upon American history, in the principal cities of the United States and Great Britain.Fiske was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1884.
The largest part of his life was devoted to the study of history, but at an early age inquiries into the nature of human progress led him to a careful study of the doctrine of evolution, and it was through the popularization of Charles Darwin's work that he first became known to the public.He applied himself to the philosophical interpretation of Darwin's work and produced many books and essays on this subject. His philosophy was influenced by Herbert Spencer's views on evolution. In a letter from Charles Darwin to John Fiske, dated from 1874, the naturalist remarks: "I never in my life read so lucid an expositor (and therefore thinker) as you are."
Nineteenth-century enthusiasm for brain size as a simple measure of human performance, championed by scientists including Darwin's cousin Francis Galton and the French neurologist Paul Broca, led Fiske to believe in the racial superiority of the "Anglo-Saxon race". Fiske's beliefs on race did not preclude his commitment to abolitionist causes. Indeed, so anti-slavery was he that twenty-three years after the cessation of the American Civil War, he declared the North's victory complete "despite the feeble wails" of "unteachable bigots."In his book "The Destiny of Man" (1884), he devotes a whole chapter to the "End of the working of natural selection upon man", describing it as "a fact of unparalleled grandeur." In his view, "the action of natural selection upon Man has [...] been essentially diminished through the operation of social conditions."
In books such as Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy ( ISBN 0-384-15780-7), Fiske aimed to show that "in reality there has never been any conflict between religion and science, nor is any reconciliation called for where harmony has always existed." On page 364, he demonstrates his sensitivity to Christianity as a religion:
We arrive at a deeper reason than has hitherto been disclosed for the difference between our position with reference to Christianity, and that which has been assumed by Radicalism and by Positivism. It is not merely that we refuse to attack Christianity because we recognize its necessary adaptation to a certain stage of culture, not yet passed by the average minds of the community; it is that we still regard Christianity as, in the deepest sense, our own religion.
Fiske was a popular lecturer on these topics in his early career. Later he turned to historical writings, publishing books such as The Discovery of America (1892). In addition, he edited, with James Grant Wilson, Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography (1887). He died, worn out by overwork, at Gloucester, Massachusetts, July 4, 1901.
In a brief, but scathing critique of this book in his Preface to The New Nation, 1962, the historian Merrill Jensen called Fiske's work "a book of vast influence but of no value as either history or example." A few sentences farther in Jensen's Preface, he stated, "Andrew C. McLaughlin, an impeccably conservative historian of the Constitution who wrote a far better book on the same period, said that Fiske's book was 'altogether without scientific standing, because it is little more than a remarkably skillful adaptation of a very few secondary authorities showing almost no evidence of first hand acquaintance with the sources.'"
Andrew Lang was a Scottish poet, novelist, literary critic, and contributor to the field of anthropology. He is best known as a collector of folk and fairy tales. The Andrew Lang lectures at the University of St Andrews are named after him.
Hubert Howe Bancroft was an American historian and ethnologist who wrote, published and collected works concerning the western United States, Texas, California, Alaska, Mexico, Central America and British Columbia.
St. George Jackson Mivart was an English biologist. He is famous for starting as an ardent believer in natural selection who later became one of its fiercest critics. Mivart attempted to reconcile Darwin's theory of evolution with the beliefs of the Catholic Church, and finished by being condemned by both.
Frederic William Maitland was an English historian and lawyer who is regarded as the modern father of English legal history.
George John Romanes FRS was a Canadian-Scots evolutionary biologist and physiologist who laid the foundation of what he called comparative psychology, postulating a similarity of cognitive processes and mechanisms between humans and other animals.
Bernard Bosanquet 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 Helen Bosanquet, the leader of the Charity Organisation Society.
Josiah Royce was an American objective idealist philosopher and the founder of American idealism. His philosophical ideas included his version of personalism, defense of absolutism, idealism and his conceptualization of God.
Francis Bowen was an American philosopher, writer, and educationalist.
John Clark Ridpath was an American educator, historian, and editor. His mother was a descendant of Samuel Matthews, a colonial governor of Virginia.
Carroll Davidson Wright was an American statistician. Wright is best known for his title as the first U.S. Commissioner of Labor, serving in that capacity from 1885 to 1905.
Chauncey Wright was an American philosopher and mathematician, who was an influential early defender of Darwinism and an important influence on American pragmatists such as Charles Sanders Peirce and William James.
Nathaniel Southgate Shaler was an American paleontologist and geologist who wrote extensively on the theological and scientific implications of the theory of evolution.
James Walker was a Unitarian minister, professor, and President of Harvard College from February 10, 1853, to January 26, 1860.
John White Chadwick was an American writer and clergyman of the Unitarian Church.
Brother Azarias was an Irish-American educator, essayist, littérateur, and philosopher.
Ripley Hitchcock was a prominent American editor. He edited the works of Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, Zane Grey, Joel Chandler Harris, Stephen Crane and Theodore Dreiser.
George Edward Ellis was a Unitarian clergyman and historian.
William Henry Whitmore was a Boston businessman, politician and genealogist.
Arthur Gilman was a United States educator. He and his second wife founded the institution which eventually became Radcliffe College.
Grace Atkinson Oliver was a 19th-century American author, litterateur, and advocate for women's rights. She was characterized as a woman of rare executive ability, a good speaker, and was noted for her charity work.
| Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Fiske .|