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10 Interesting Things About Henry Sidgwick

   Henry Sidgwick is one of the most influential ethical philosophers of the Victorian era, and his work continues to exert a powerful influence on Anglo-American ethical and political theory.
            Here are some of the interesting things about him:

1.Henry Sidgwick was born on May 31, 1838 at Skipton in Yorkshire. He was a British philosopher, politician, poet, political historian, literary critic, parapsychologist, and educational theorist. He is founder of the Cambridge school of philosophy, Cambridge school of economics, and Cambridge school of political theory. (plato.stanford.edu)

2. He was a famous teacher. He was deeply interested in psychical phenomena, but his energies were primarily devoted to the study of religion and philosophy. (wikipedia.org)

3. Sidgwick married Eleanor Mildred Balfour, the sister of his former student, Arthur Balfour, the future prime minister. Eleanor Sidgwick worked with her husband on many fronts, particularly on higher education for women and parapsychology. (plato.stanford.edu)

4. In political economy, he was a utilitarian on the lines of John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham. (wikipedia.org)

5.In philosophy, he devoted himself to ethics, especially to the examination of the ultimate intuitive principles of conduct and the problem of free will. He also adopted a position which may be described as ethical hedonism. Sidgwick believes that no man should act so as to destroy his own happiness. (wikipedia.org)

6. His ‘Methods of Ethics’ was published in 1874, a year after the death of John Stuart Mill. The book represents the deepest and most systematic effort to analyze the difficulties of Mill's philosophy and to attain them to reach a satisfying philosophical version of classic utilitarianism. The book had also great influence in the 19th century and until now, especially on John Rawls' conceptions of justice as equity. (utilitarianphilosophy.com)

7. His ‘Methods of Ethics’ defines three basic methods of ethics: egoistic hedonism, intuitionism, and universalistic hedonism. Sidgwick describes how each method may provide its own definition of the ultimate goal of ethical conduct. (angelfire.com)

8. Sidgwick strongly distinguished Ethics from Psychology. His ambition was about a true ethical philosophy in which the first principles of would be “axioms” are based on rigorous criteria. (utilitarianphilosophy.com)
9. In British politics he was a liberal, and became a Liberal Unionist (a party that later effectively merged with the Conservative party) in 1886. Early in 1900 he was forced by ill-health to resign his professorship, and died a few months later. (wikipedia.org)

10. He wrote: “The greatest possible surplus of pleasure over pain, the pain being conceived as balanced against an equal amount of pleasure, so that the two contrasted amounts annihilate each other for purposes of ethical calculation” (‘Methods of Ethics’, 1874)

The life of Henry Sidgwick is very interesting. If we get to know him better we will realize how he devoted himself to ethics. His works were revealing statements of his deepest philosophical convictions and doubts.

Kyra Gianna P. Sumulong, the contributor, is a 19 year-old student taking of Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She finished her Elementary at Eulogio Rodriguez Elementary School and his secondary education at Arellano University, Plaridel Campus in Mandaluyong. Kyra is also working to support her studies and other needs. She dreams to be a professor someday.

QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION
What have you learned from reading some of the things about Henry Sidgwick?

Tags: History, Philosophy, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Sociology, Social Science, Literature

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