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Was F.H. Bradley also an idealist?
It's not clear whether Bradley was an idealist, though he did believe that our direct experience of particular existence is what we can call reality. In his second major work, The Principles of Logic (1883), Bradley attempted to construct the metaphysical system that would explain his ethics. Thought is embodied in judgments, which must be true or false. Ideas are the contents of judgments and they represent reality. Ideas also represent kinds of things, each member of which is a particular individual (in the sense of an object). For example, you can have the idea of your particular pet dog, Rover, and that idea represents just Rover; but you also have the idea of dogs that represents all dogs.
However, all judgments are hypotheticals claiming that certain universal connections exist in reality. For example, if one makes the judgment that dogs are good companions for humans, one is claiming that dogs—in a general sense that applies to all dogs—are good companions in a general sense that applies to all human beings. But such a judgment is hypothetical because you might have a dog that is not a good companion for you.
Reality is the sum total of everything that there is in the world and as such, reality is what Bradley called a "concrete whole." One encounters reality by the experiences that one has. That is, judgments are abstract, whereas reality is particular. For this reason, thought can never fully represent reality. Another way of putting this is that the real world cannot be completely described and classified by us.
Finally, in his Appearance and Reality (1893), Bradley further explained that reality, as experience, is all blended in harmony. Bradley thought that relations such as "bigger," "smaller," "before," and "after" are appearances, not reality. Relations are abstracted by thought from direct experience of reality. This direct experience taken altogether is "the Absolute," and, in a surprising turn, Bradley concluded that the Absolute, or the totality of our experience, is the real reality (as opposed to something that our experience could be "experience of"). In other words, Bradley held both that our experiences are experiences of reality and that all of our experiences added up constitute reality.
Who was Henry Sidgwick?
Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900) was not so much an intuitionist as the first modern moral theorist who used a combination of common sense and shared intuitions to assess the competing moral theories of his day. As a professor at Cambridge University, he was active in founding Newnham, the first college for women. His wife, Eleanor Mildred Balfour, whose brother, Arthur, was later Prime Minister of England, became Prin-
What was F.H. Bradley like as a person?
Bradley was made a fellow at Merton College, Oxford, in 1870. This was a lifetime position with no teaching duties, which only marriage could terminate. Bradley never married, and he lived on campus until he died. A kidney inflammation in 1871 left him careful of his health, and although he participated in the governance of the college, he avoided other social occasions. For instance, he turned down an opportunity to be a founder of the British Academy.
Bradley detested cats and shot them on the college grounds, during the night. R.G. Collingwood, his neighbor for 16 years, later wrote: "Although I lived within a few hundred yards of him . I never to my knowledge set eyes on him."
cipal of Newnham in 1892. The Sidgwicks collaborated on many reform and intellectual projects, including investigations into parapsychology. Sidgwick's principal works are The Methods of Ethics (1874) and Outlines of the History of Ethics (1886).
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