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date: 06 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have witnessed a remarkable resurgence of scholarly interest in the work of the Victorian era philosopher Henry Sidgwick (1838-1900), whose best-known work, The Methods of Ethics (1874) has been celebrated as “the best book on ethics ever written” (Singer 2007). The term “Sidgwickian” now stands alongside such terms as “Kantian” and “Aristotelian” in the ethical philosophical lexicon. But rather than marking out a fixed metaethical or substantive ethical theoretical perspective, the designation is best construed as pointing to a set of characteristic ethical philosophical strategies, concerns, and problems, such as the “dualism of practical reason,” and explorations of the forms and limits of utilitarianism and of a non-metaphysical, non-Idealist but still anti-subjectivist approach to ethical truth. Moreover, Sidgwick’s life and work more generally have proved to be of considerable interest across many academic fields, from Victorian Studies to Parapsychology.

Keywords: Commonsense Morality, Dualism of Practical Reason, Idealism, Intuitionism, Perfectionism, Rational Egoism, Theism, Utilitarianism

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