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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/5235

Title: “Nothing to invite or to reward a separate examination”: Sidgwick and Whewell
Authors: Cremaschi, Sergio
Keywords: Whewell
Sidgwick
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Citation: Sergio Cremaschi, "“Nothing to invite or to reward a separate examination”: Sidgwick and Whewell", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, X (2008) 2, pp. 137-184.
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
X (2008) 2
Abstract: In this paper I discuss Sidgwick’s reaction to Whewell’s moral philosophy. I show how, to Sidgwick’s eyes, Whewell’s philosophy looked as an emblem of the set of beliefs, primarily religious, into which he had been socialised, and that his reaction was over-determined by both his own ambivalent feelings to his own Anglican upbringing and his subtle rhetorical strategy practised by presenting new shocking ideas hidden between an amount of platitudes and playing the neutral observer or the ‘philosopher of morality’ instead than acting the part of the preacher of a new morality. Then I discuss Sidgwick’s assessment of Whewell’s doctrine as an idle systematisation of received opinion and the reasons why in the Methods he feels entitled to dismiss historically given intuitionism as ‘dogmatic intuitionism’ without detailed criticism and discusses instead a so-called ‘intuitional method’ as one of the procedures allegedly used by common sense. Besides, I show how individual instances of detailed criticism to Whewell’s doctrines are meant to be not ‘real’ criticism of a rival outlook but instead illustrations of the limits of ‘common-sense morality’. My final claims are: first, Sidgwick ends with a short-circuit between a inner dialectic of his own argument and discussion of rival doctrines; second, the weight of Whewell’s legacy in Sidgwick’s ethics has been heavily underemphasized.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/5235
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2008) X/2

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