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1 - Overture

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2009

Bart Schultz
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
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Summary

My aim in what I am about to say now is to give such an account of my life – mainly my inner intellectual life – as shall render the central and fundamental aims that partially at least determined its course when apparently most fitful and erratic, as clear and intelligible as I can. That aim is very simply stated. It has been the solution, or contribution to the solution, of the deepest problems of human life. The peculiarity of my career has been that I have sought light on these problems, and that not casually but systematically and laboriously, from very various sources and by very diverse methods.

Henry Sidgwick, “Autobiographical Fragment” dictated from his deathbed

Stranger lives than Henry Sidgwick's have resulted from the philosophical quest for the ultimate truth about the Universe, but his is nonetheless a source of considerable fascination. As a Victorian philosopher, social scientist, literary critic, educator, reformer, and parapsychologist, an academic who spent nearly his entire adult life teaching at and reforming Cambridge University, Sidgwick was at the philosophical heart of England when England was at the height of its worldly power. He was friendly with everyone from William Gladstone to George Eliot, had in one brother-in-law a future prime minister and in another a future archbishop of Canterbury, and served as a leading figure in that most famous of elite secret discussion societies, the Cambridge “Apostles,” which would go on to give the world the Bloomsbury circle and the Cambridge spies.

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Henry Sidgwick - Eye of the Universe
An Intellectual Biography
, pp. 1 - 20
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Overture
  • Bart Schultz, University of Chicago
  • Book: Henry Sidgwick - Eye of the Universe
  • Online publication: 09 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498336.001
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  • Overture
  • Bart Schultz, University of Chicago
  • Book: Henry Sidgwick - Eye of the Universe
  • Online publication: 09 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498336.001
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Overture
  • Bart Schultz, University of Chicago
  • Book: Henry Sidgwick - Eye of the Universe
  • Online publication: 09 July 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511498336.001
Available formats
×