Schiller, Ferdinand Canning Scott

Schiller, Ferdinand Canning Scott

(shĭl`ər), 1864–1937, British philosopher. Schiller studied at Oxford and was professor of philosophy there (1897–1926) and at the Univ. of Southern California (1929–37). His philosophical position is closely related to the pragmatism of William JamesJames, William,
1842–1910, American philosopher, b. New York City, M.D. Harvard, 1869; son of the Swedenborgian theologian Henry James and brother of the novelist Henry James.
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. Schiller called his system humanism, holding that "man is the measure of all things." Among his works are Riddles of the Sphinx (1891), Humanism (1912), Problems of Belief (1924), and Logic for Use (1929); Our Human Truths (1939), a collection of his last writings, was published posthumously.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Schiller, Ferdinand Canning Scott


Born Aug. 16, 1864, near Altona; died Aug. 6, 1937, in Los Angeles. British idealist philosopher, representative of pragmatism.

Schiller taught at Oxford University from 1903 to 1926. He became a professor at the University of Southern California in the USA in 1929. Schiller’s version of pragmatism, called humanism, is based on the premise that knowledge as a product of human activity reproduces only the human element of a reality dependent on human activity. Unlike W. James, Schiller saw the criterion of truth not in the sensible, but only in the good (useful) consequences of an action. Schiller’s metaphysics was a combination of pragmatic subjective idealism and voluntarism, personalism, and teleology (god, according to Schiller, is the driving force of development, a reasonable and personal spirit). In the sociopolitical sphere, Schiller took an anticommunist stand and sympathized with fascism.


“Axioms as Postulates.” In his Personal Idealism. London, 1902.
Studies in Humanism. London, 1907.
“Why Humanism?” In Contemporary British Philosophy, vol. 1. London-New York, 1924.
Logic for Use. London, 1929.
The Future of the British Empire After Ten Years. London, 1936.


Bogomolov, A. S. Angliiskaia burzhuaznaia filosofiia XX v. Moscow, 1973. Chapter 3.
Hill, T. E. Sovremennye teorii poznaniia. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from English.)
Abel, R. The Pragmatic Humanism of F. C. S. Schiller. New York, 1955.
Motas, S. Persönlicher Idealismus gegen absoluten Idealismus in der englischen Philosophic der Gegenwart. Berlin [no date].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.