Skip Content

Henry Sidgwick

Events • Lecture

To mark the centenary of the death of Henry Sidgwick the British Academy is holding a one day conference on his life and work on 18 March 2000.

Sidgwick was a teacher and professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge just at the time that the academic study of philosophy assumed its current form. His great work The Methods of Ethics, first published in 1874, has been described as the first professional work of modern ethical theory. A philosopher's philosopher, Sidgwick has had the admiration of some of its leading practitioners up to the present day (including, now, John Rawls and Derek Parfit). Yet Sidgwick was not just a deep theorist of right practice. He was also a practical reformer, who, in particular, did much to promote the higher education of women.

After the end of a century in which much ethical discussion has been at the meta-ethical level, a return to Sidgwick marks a return to the serious analytic consideration of ethical practice, to the old and original question of how we should live.  It is also a return to a supreme synthesiser who blended together elements from different dogmatic and historical traditions: intuitionism, utilitarianism, egoism, Aristotle, Butler, Kant, Mill.

The conference aims to study his thought; to see how it was connected with the theoretical problems of both his period and the present; and to examine Sidgwick's project of combining professorial theory with a public practical life.


PROGRAMME

10.30am

Coffee and registration

11.00am

My Roles and their Duties: Sidgwick as Philosopher, Professor and Public Moralist 
Dr Stefan Collini (Cambridge) with discussant Dr Jonathan Rée (Middlesex)

12.30pm

Lunch 

2.00pm 

Three Methods and a Dualism 
Professor John Skorupski (St Andrews) with discussant Baroness O'Neill, FBA (Cambridge)

3.30pm 

Tea

4.00pm 

The Sanctions of Utilitarianism 
Dr Ross Harrison (Cambridge) with discussant Dr Roger Crisp (Oxford)

Speakers:
Dr Stefan Collini (Cambridge) with discussant Dr Jonathan Rée (Middlesex)
Professor John Skorupski (St Andrews) with discussant Baroness O'Neill, FBA (Cambridge)
Dr Ross Harrison (Cambridge) with discussant Dr Roger Crisp (Oxford)


Papers from this symposium were published in 2001 in Henry Sidgwick, edited by Ross Harrison (Proceedings of the British Academy, 109).


More about the Dawes Hicks Symposia on Philosophy

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close