- 23 May 1900 (Creation)
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Henry Sidgwick was born in Skipton, Yorkshire in 1838, the son of the Revd William Sidgwick, headmaster of Skipton Grammar School, and Mary Crofts. He attended Rugby School, where his cousin, the future Archbishop of Canterbury, Edward White Benson was a master. Thence he entered Trinity in 1855 where he was elected to a scholarship in 1855. He gained University honours by becoming Bell Scholar in 1856 and Craven Scholar in 1857. In 1859 he was 33rd Wrangler, Senior Classic and 1st Chancellor's Medallist. He became a Fellow of Trinity in that year also.
Although Sidgwick gained a University lectureship in classics, his thoughts began to turn to philosophy, perhaps influenced by his membership of the Grote Club. At the same time he also threw himself into the cause of University and College reform, forming a powerful alliance with Henry Jackson. In the few years after the death of Whewell in 1866, the party of reform were able to achieve a number of their goals, but the religious tests on Fellowships of Trinity still remained, and Sidgwick felt duty-bound to resign his Fellowship in 1869 on grounds of conscience.
In the same year Sidgwick exchanged his lectureship in Classics for one in Moral Sciences and strove to help develop a school of philosophy in Cambridge. In 1875, Trinity appointed him Praelector in Moral and Political Philosophy and in 1885 he was elected Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy and re-elected to his Trinity Fellowship. He held the chair until 1900.
Sidgwick was a strong supporter of the education of women and served at times both on the governing bodies of Newnham and Girton; his wife Eleanor (née Balfour), whom he married in 1876, was Vice-President of Newnham. He died in 1900.
Sidgwick's major publications were Methods of Ethics (1874), Principles of Political Economy (1883), and Elements of Politics (1891)
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In Nora Sidgwick's hand. Refers to his lectures on philosophical subjects, some of which he believes should be published. Suggests that a young man might be employed to work on some of them and that [James] Ward might read the proofs through 'and give advice on any point of difficulty.' Refers also to a number of lectures that he had intended to make into a book on Kant and Kantism in England, and also to works on [T. H. ] Green, agnosticism and relativism and two lectures on [Herbert] Spencer. Does not believe that the lectures on Epistemology 'in connection with [Christoph von] Sigwart' are worth publishing as a continuous whole, but thinks certain parts of them might be published as fragments. Suggests Ward's involvement, so long as he would not undertake too much work.
Refers also to his articles on ethics, printed and unprinted. Expresses his wish that the question of 'the usefulness to mankind' be the '[ ] principle for deciding on publication', and that the volume of the labour required should be taken into account also. Would like lectures that are not published to be handed over to anyone who may be lecturing on that particular subject, and mentions in particular some fragmentary lectures on his book on The Elements of Politics, which he would like to be offered to Th[ ] or Dickinson or divided between them.
Has done a good deal of reading for a book, The Development of European Polity, for which the plan is sketched 'in the first lecture of a pamphlet containing 3 printed lectures.' Has been his view 'more and more of late years that a three fold treatment of Political Science is desirable for [ ]', and lays out his theory. Would like the teachers of Political Science to be consulted on the possibility of working out his plans with the aid of his material. Again suggests that a young man might be paid to work on this matter. Expresses concern over expense, and states that he believes his work to be 'too sketchy and amateurish for it to be desirable to use it otherwise than as material.' Was comtemplating giving up the idea of publication so long as he held his chair 'feeling that the time and labour required to make it an adequately scholarly work would not be given [ ]' with his duty as a Professor of Moral Philosophy.'
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- Ward, James (1843-1925), philosopher and psychologist (Subject)
- Kant, Immanuel (1724-1804), German philosopher (Subject)
- Green, Thomas Hill (1836-1882) philosopher (Subject)
- Spencer, Herbert (1820-1903), philosopher, social theorist, and sociologist (Subject)
- Sigwart, Christoph von (1830-1904) philosopher and logician (Subject)