James Frederick Ferrier

Jennifer Keefe

in Scottish Philosophy in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Published in print March 2015 | ISBN: 9780199560684
Published online April 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780191814419 | DOI:

Series: History Of Scottish Philosophy

James Frederick Ferrier

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This chapter recounts the philosophical development and writings of James Frederick Ferrier (1808–64). Professor of Moral Philosophy at St Andrews and regarded by many as the greatest metaphysician of his time, Ferrier was also at the centre of two hotly contested professorial appointments in Edinburgh. The chapter gives special attention to Ferrier’s role as an early proponent of an Idealist philosophy, his rejection of the ‘common sense’ philosophy of Thomas Reid, and his formulation of a version of Idealism in which a return to Bishop Berkeley is especially important. The chapter considers the significance of Ferrier’s major work, the ‘Institutes of Metaphysic’, a work that was largely ignored and underlined his philosophical isolation. It concludes with an extended discussion of the truth in Ferrier’s protestation that, despite his criticisms of Reid, he remained a Scottish philosopher.

Keywords: J. F. Ferrier; philosophy of consciousness; Idealism; common sense; Institutes of Metaphysic; Bishop Berkeley

Chapter.  14530 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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