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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Sir William Hamilton was revered in his lifetime by his philosophical contemporaries. The publication of Mill’s Examination of his work in 1865 speedily brought about a very negative assessment, from which Hamilton’s reputation has never recovered. This chapter sets out Hamilton’s philosophical contentions in relation to Reid and Kant, examines Mill’s criticisms and Mansel’s reply to them with a view to establishing a more judicious assessment, somewhere between the extremes of veneration and condemnation. It argues that Hamilton’s conception of philosophy was consonant with the tradition of Scottish common sense philosophy, and that his neglect in part derives from the general decline of that tradition.

Keywords: William Hamilton, philosophy of the conditioned, common sense, natural realism, Victor Cousin

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