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Bradley and Moral Engagement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 January 2009

Gordon Kendal
Affiliation:
Lincoln College, Oxford

Extract

One minor problem in understanding Bradley's moral philosophy is that of how he manages to combine a reverence for the ordinary man's moral sense with what amounts almost to contempt for the actual precepts of popular morality. The reverence seems clear. At the outset of Ethical Studies Bradley appears as the great defender of the plain man against the depredations of theorizing and cultivation. Contemporary moral philosophers were too sophisticated, with their cavalier disregard of the moral feelings and convictions of uneducated people. Admittedly popular moral views had their limitations: they were neither all-comprehensive nor everywhere consistent. Still, ‘if we want a moral sense that has not yet been adulterated, we must not be afraid to leave enlightenment behind us’.

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Copyright
Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy 1982

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References

1 F. H. Bradley, Ethical Studies, 2nd edn (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927), 3.

2 Op. cit., 242.

3 Op. cit., 243.

4 Op. tit., 108.

5 Op. cit., 149.

6 Op. cit., 3.

7 Bradley, ‘Some Remarks on Punishment’, Collected Essays (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1935), 149–164. This article, and the one that follows, were originally published in 1894.

8 ‘The Limits of Individual and National Self-Sacrifice’, op. cit., 165–176.

9 ‘A Note on Christian Morality’, unpublished (Bradley Library, Merton College, Oxford, II.B.9), date uncertain.

10 E.g. ‘Some Remarks on Punishment’, 163.

11 Ethical Studies, 196.

12 Collected Essays, 163–164.

13 Ethical Studies, 33.

14 ‘Mr Sidgwick's Hedonism’, Collected Essays, 123. This treatment of Sidgwick was originally published in 1877.

15 Ethical Studies, 162.

16 Op. cit, 177.

17 E.g. op. cit., 58.

18 ‘The Definition of Will’, Collected Essays, 476.

19 ‘On Pleasure, Pain, Desire, and Volition’, Collected Essays, 280.

20 Ethical Studies, 244.

21 E.g. Appearance and Reality, 462.

22 Ethical Studies, 313.

23 ‘Mr. Sidgwick's Hedonism’, op. cit., 97.

24 ‘The Definition of Will’, op. cit., 590–591.

25 ‘Association and Thought’, Collected Essays, 217.

26 See ‘On Pleasure, Pain, Desire, and Volition’, passim.

27 Cf. Ethical Studies, 261.

28 ‘On Pleasure, Pain, Desire, and Volition’, op. cit., 248.

29 Op. cit., 250–251.

30 Ethical Studies, 255.

31 In an unpublished doctoral thesis (London, 1978).

32 Appearance and Reality, 84.

33 Essays on Truth and Reality (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1914), 170.

34 Ethical Studies, 187.

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