Henry Sidgwick


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sidgwick, Henry

 

Born May 31, 1838, in Skipton, Yorkshire; died Aug. 29, 1900, in Cambridge. English philosopher and economist.

Educated at Rugby and at Cambridge University, Sidgwick was a teacher from 1859 and from 1883, professor of ethics at Cambridge University. He approached philosophy, ethics, and political economy from the standpoint of utilitarianism. In his principal work, The Methods of Ethics, which was published in 1874, he regarded utilitarianism as the basic method of resolving moral problems. He was not sufficiently consistent, however, and he sometimes tended toward intuitivism. Sidgwick believed that most moral judgments are mainly arrived at empirically rather than a priori. An ethical orientation is evident in his views on political economy, which he presented in the Principles of Political Economy (1883). At the same time, Sidgwick attempted to separate the ethical and political aspects of political economy, which he characterized as the sphere of “art,” from the purely economic aspects, which he characterized as the sphere of “science.” According to Sidgwick, science differs from art in that it describes what is, whereas art describes what ought to be. He declared induction the basic method of science, and deduction the preferred method for art. Sidgwick devoted a great deal of attention to the economic role of the state. In his presentation of the major categories of political economy (production, distribution, exchange, value, and capital), he closely followed J. S. Mill.

REFERENCE

Seligman, B. Osnovnye lecheniia sovremennoi ekonomicheskoi mysli. Moscow, 1968. (Translated from English.)

I. T. LASHCHINSKII

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
'So far as I know there is only one ethical writer, Professor Henry Sidgwick, who has clearly recognised and stated this fact.' That's just the kind of thing we used to talk about when we were boys.
Ackerman seems to be unaware that neither Kahneman nor Tversky were economists; that Thaler took some time to realise that Adam Smith had covered much of his thinking and work in "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" 250 years ago (as he acknowledged in "Misbehaving"); or that a number of psychologists were heavily involved in economics in the 19th Century, of whom Henry Sidgwick is probably the most familiar name nowadays.
Her clear and sharp reasoning weighed very carefully the evidence for and against various phenomena before arriving to a position, a strategy that I wish many more pro- and anti-psi authors would follow Yet, most accounts of the early days of psychical research emphasize the contributions of men such as her husband, Henry Sidgwick, Myers, James, and a few others while, and this will come as no surprise to many of my readers, neglecting or undervaluing the contributions by women.
This formulation of the principle is due to Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics.
Green, Henry Sidgwick, Herbert Spencer, John Robert Seeley, J.
Many moral philosophers tend to construe the aims of ethics as the interpretation and critique of "commonsense morality." This approach is defended by Henry Sidgwick in his influential The Methods of Ethics and presented as a development of a basically Socratic idea of philosophical method.
Without wading too far into the vast literature on pleasure, the dominant view (which I believe originates with Henry Sidgwick, (11) but has since been adopted by many others (12)) is that we refer to both experiences as pleasures, because both are states that we enjoy (for themselves) and wish to prolong.
And any attempt to follow Henry Sidgwick's claim that morality does not need theological grounding because basic moral norms are self-evident also leads (as Sidgwick himself seems to have acknowledged) to irresolvable conflicts between the impartial demands that morality can place on an individual to do his duty regardless of personal cost and that individual's own reasons for pursuing his own self-interest.
Odd, some would say, because like the prominent, nineteenth century philosopher Henry Sidgwick (who sought scientific proof of an afterlife), most people today still believe that one cannot be moral without theism being true.
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Upon being told by a German that there was "no word in English equivalent to 'gelehrt' (cultivated)," utilitarian philosopher Henry Sidgwick replied, "Oh yes there is, we call it a prig."