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The practical philosophy of T. H. Green: an idealistic conception of liberal politics

Liu, Jia-Hau 2015. The practical philosophy of T. H. Green: an idealistic conception of liberal politics. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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As a critical advocate of the philosophy of Enlightenment, Thomas Hill Green (1836-1882) reconsidered the development of the empiricist and naturalistic philosophies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and held that their development was connected in intricate ways to various quite specific issues arising in nineteenth-century British society. In order to respond to these issues, he established a comprehensive framework of philosophical thought as the foundation for his practical activities. In this framework, the core argument focuses on the relationship between consciousness and action. However, though Green’s philosophy has been widely investigated, no study has, as yet, focused exclusively on Green’s practical philosophy, and in particular his idea of the ethical citizen. This thesis undertakes this task and argues firstly that viewing the relationship between consciousness and action as the nexus of the human condition, Green’s practical philosophy is a coherent and consistent philosophical system which includes metaphysics; moral and ethical theory; and social and political theory. I then go on to argue that, by virtue of his philosophical system, Green founded political activity on the basis of metaphysical and moral ideas, on the one side, but on the other side, provided politics with a deep raison d’être; that is, to maintain and to provide the equality of opportunity for individuals by means of state power. Finally, I argue that while Green accordingly established a justification for state action, the nature of such state action relates closely to the self-government of individual citizens. Hence, Green’s practical philosophy provides an ethical theory of politics which underpins an important legacy for contemporary liberal political philosophy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Uncontrolled Keywords: T. H. Green, Human consciousness, Practical philosophy, Ethical politics, Liberalism
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2016 03:30

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