Who is Henry Sidgwick?

Who is Henry Sidgwick?

June 25, 2021 Off By Felso

Henry Sidgwick is an English philosopher and author best known for his work on moral philosophy.

Born in England in 1838, Henry Sidgwick developed his open theory of ethics based on utilitarianism and ethical methods. Considered by some critics to be the philosopher who made the most meaningful ethical work published in the English language in the 19th century.

Sidgwick began working at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1859, where he began to lecture on moral philosophy. He became professor of moral philosophy at Knightbridge in 1883. She has been active in promoting higher education for women through the Newnham Society, where her husband, Eleanor Balfour, serves as director. As a member of the Metaphysical Society, he was also interested in psychic phenomena and in 1882 became the founder and first president of the Society for Psychiatric Research.

Sidgwick philosophy is an understanding of moral philosophy that is based on the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill and the categorical imperative of Immanuel Kant. So much so that Sidgwick took the views of these two thinkers as a basis for his first major work, “The Ethics of Ethics”. Emphasizing the importance of the rational process in making moral decisions, Sidgwick’s method can be summarized in three approaches: egoism, utilitarianism, and intuitionism. Egoism refers to the theory that justifies an action in proportion to the happiness it produces in the field of action. Utilitarianism seeks to contribute to the happiness of all those affected by the action. Intuition shows that factors other than happiness may also be acceptable. Sidgwick argued that neither beginning nor end could, on their own, provide an adequate basis for rational behavior. Instead, in line with Kant’s categorical imperative, he proposed a system of “universal hedonism” to reconcile the apparent contradiction between his own and others’ enjoyment.

Sidgwick’s other works include Principles of Political Economy (1883), Scope and Method of Economic Science (1885), Elements of Politics (1891), and The Development of European Policy (1903).

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook