Bradley's <i>Ethical Studies</i>

Henry Sidgwick

in Essays on Ethics and Method

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198250234
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598432 | DOI:

Series: British Moral Philosophers

 Bradley's Ethical Studies

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Here, Sidgwick discusses Bradley's main ethical principle that self‐realisation is the ultimate aim of practice, noting the oddity of Bradley's acknowledgment in another paper in Ethical Studies that he does not know what he means by ‘self’, ‘real’ or ‘realise’. In an essay comparing determinism and indeterminism, Bradley specifies the notion of ‘self’ by stating that each person has a definite character (as well as a degree of ‘raw material of disposition’), which under certain circumstances expresses itself in actions of a particular kind. In his paper on why we ought to be moral, however, Bradley starts afresh, arguing that the self we try to realise is a whole, that is to say, the ultimate end. Then again, in a third paper, he speaks of the person as a social being, stating that ‘we have found self‐realization, duty, happiness in one, when we have found our function as an organ in the social organism.’ Given these various attempts, Sidgwick holds that Bradley's main ethical argument lacks the coherence and completeness it would require to be tenable.

Keywords: character; determinism; disposition; duty; happiness; self; self‐realization; Sidgwick; social being

Chapter.  2537 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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