Monday, September 02, 2013

British Idealism studies - alive and well?

Many apologies for the gap since my last post. Last week saw an important event -- another British Idealism conference at Harris Manchester College, Oxford. The College has hosted several past events on Bosanquet, Green, 'Idealism Today' and now a conference about British Idealism and conceptions about the self. The College boasts the amazing W. J. Mander, author of a magisterial history of the British Idealist tradition, and we remain deeply indebted to him for his work and his work in bringing us together.

British Idealism is usually discussed in the past tense and in reference to a philosophical tradition rooted in Oxford and Glasgow from the late 19th Century until about the First World War when its influence began to wane. These Idealists are credited with introducing Kant and Hegel to an Anglophone audience and also for trying to develop a new philosophical approach bringing various elements of them both together. Leading figures include TH Green, FH Bradley, Bernard Bosanquet and RG Collingwood.

It was a pleasure to see this great tradition alive and well with a new generation of scholars and interest taking root. Conference delegates came from across the UK, US, Canada and as far as away as Japan and Nigeria.

Readers will know of my longstanding interest in British Idealism -- and my efforts, in my book Punishment, and elsewhere -- to start a revival, a new wave of British Idealism redeveloped to face the challenges of the 21st Century. The good news is that I'm far from alone.

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