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Title: Cambridge University and the development of Victorian ideas, 1830-1870
Authors: Gibbins, John Richard
Issue Date: 1987
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis reconstructs and interprets the life and writings of the relatively unknown nineteenth century philosopher John Grote (1813-1866). It places his work in the intellectual contexts of the University of Cambridge of his day and discusses his place in the development of Victorian Thought. The thesis argues that John Grote, (brother of the historian George Grote) is a most original thinker in his own right and that historically he holds a crucial place in the debates that make up Victorian thought. Cambridge University between 1830 and 1870 is seen to have nurtured a dualistic intellectual movement called the Cambridge Network which rivalled intellectually, the centres of Edinburgh and London and the movements of Positivism utilitarianism -and common sense philosophy. In developing the Cambridge philosophy of his day in response to developments elsewhere in British philosophy, John Grote (like James Frederick Ferrier in Scotland) is shown to have elaborated a nascent form of indigenous philosophical idealism in England prior to the 1870's and the emergence of oxford Idealism. The introduction argues that a modern understanding and appreciation of John Grote's philosophy is unlikely without the reconstruction of the cultural, intellectual and institutional world which he inhabited. The loss of detail about this world in the twentieth century, explains why past attempts to popularize Grote's work have failed. Conventional accounts of the history of Victorian philosophy are elaborated and attacked in the introduction, as are the methodological assumptions upon which they were written. Chapter one provides details of Grote's life and writings but gives special prominence to his novel, and in retrospect revolutionary, work on language. Chapters two and three provide a historical reconstruction of the intellectual context that attended the production of Grote's corpus. The middle chapters from four to nine reconstruct Grote's analytic philosophical work in the areas of metaphysics, epistemology, ontology, ethics, and politics, revealing Grote's commitment to epistemological and ethical idealism and the production of a 'relational theory of obligation' and a 'jural theory of politics'. My arguments are synthesised in chapter ten and the conclusions and some indications as to John Grote's influence are appended.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

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