Perfectionism and the Common Good

Perfectionism and the Common Good : Themes in the Philosophy of T. H. Green

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David Brink presents a study of T. H. Green's classic Prolegomena to Ethics (1883) and its role in his philosophical thought. Green is one of the two most important figures in the British idealist tradition, and his political writings and activities had a profound influence on the development of Liberal politics in Britain.

The Prolegomena is his major philosophical work. It begins with his idealist attack on empiricist metaphysics and epistemology and develops a perfectionist ethical theory that aims to bring together the best elements in the ancient and modern traditions, and that provides the moral foundations for Green's own distinctive brand of liberalism. Brink aims to restore the Prolegomena to its rightful place in the history of philosophy by providing a prolegomenon to the
Prolegomena - one that situates the work in its intellectual context, sympathetically but critically engages its main themes, and explains Green's enduring significance for the history of ethics and contemporary ethical theory. Brink examines Green's life and work, his idealist attack on empiricism, his conception of agency, his
perfectionist ethics of self-realization, the connections he draws between perfectionism and the common good, his conception of the differences between perfectionism and utilitarianism, and the connections between his perfectionism and his defense of a new form of political liberalism.

Because Green develops his own views out of an examination of other traditions in the history of ethics, a fair assessment of Green's own contributions must compare his claims with the traditions that he examines and sometimes criticizes. Brink's study examines Green's relation to Aristotle, Locke, Hume, Butler, Mill, Kant, Hegel, Bradley, and Sidgwick, and concludes by examining Green's legacy for ethical theory. Perfectionism and the Common Good will be of substantial interest to
students and scholars of the history of ethics, ethical theory, political philosophy, and nineteenth century philosophy.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 154 pages
  • 135 x 201 x 10mm | 195g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199228051
  • 9780199228058
  • 2,529,362

Table of contents

I. Introduction ; II. Green's Life and Work ; III. Green's Metaphysics and Epistemology ; IV. The Attack on Empiricism with Atomism ; V. Idealism ; VI. Absolute Idealism ; VII. Nonnaturalism ; VIII. Self-Consciousness and Epistemic Responsibility ; IX. Self-Consciousness and Practical Responsibility ; X. Desire, Intellect, and Will ; XI. Pursuit of a Personal Good ; XII. Psychological Hedonism and the Good ; XIII. Mill and Evaluative Hedonism ; XIV. Self-Realization and the Good ; XV. Self-Realization and the Common Good ; XVI. Aristotelian Friendship ; XVII. Intrinsic Concern for Others ; XVIII. The Scope of the Common Good ; XIX. Impartiality and the Common Good ; XX. Moderate and Extreme Harmony of Interests ; XXI. Liberalism and Extreme Harmony ; XXII. Absolute Idealism and Extreme Harmony ; XXIII. Self-Realization vs. Utilitarianism ; XXIV. From Perfectionism to Liberalism ; XXV. Influences on Green ; XXVI. Green and Kant ; XXVII. Green's Impact ; XXVIII. Green and Bradley ; XXIX. Green and Sidgwick ; XXX. Green's Legacy ; Bibliographical Essay
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Review quote

Brink is successful in his effort to convince his readers that Green is a very reflective interpreter of both Aristotle and Kant, an interpreter who articulates Aristotle's and Kant's considered views better than these two thinkers themselves did. ...this is a short, crisp, readable book that makes one want to read Brink's new edition of Green's Prolegomena, both for the purpose of getting a fuller picture of the history of ethical theory as well as for the purpose
of developing the best possible contemporary ethical theory. * The Review of Metaphysics *
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