Bloomsbury's Prophet: G. E. Moore and the Development of His Moral Philosophy

Overview

Canonized as the "plain man's philosopher" and the "defender of common sense," G. E. Moore is one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. But Moore's role as Bloombury's prophet has remained a mystery. How could the "plain man's philosopher" influence those legendary members of the Bloomsbury group—Lytton Strachey and John Maynard Keynes, for example—who could never be characterized as plain men?

With this book, well-known contemporary philosopher Tom ...

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Overview

Canonized as the "plain man's philosopher" and the "defender of common sense," G. E. Moore is one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. But Moore's role as Bloombury's prophet has remained a mystery. How could the "plain man's philosopher" influence those legendary members of the Bloomsbury group—Lytton Strachey and John Maynard Keynes, for example—who could never be characterized as plain men?

With this book, well-known contemporary philosopher Tom Regan solves the mystery. Relying on Moore's published and unpublished work, Regan traces the development of Moore's moral philsophy up to and through his seminal work, Principa Ethica (1903). Regan offers a radical reinterpretation of Principa. Contrary to the standard interpretation, that work's central theme is the liberation of the individual, not dreary conformity to the rules of conventional morality. The Bloomsberries lived Moore's philosophy—the same philosophy subsequent generations have misunderstood.

At once literary and scholarly, Bloomsbury's Prophet challenges received opinions not only about Principa and Moore but about Bloomsbury itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Regan's thesis is that an adequate understanding of Moore's ethical philosophy can be achieved only when seen against the backdrop of Bloomsburythe avant-garde group of free spirits (among whom were Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, and John Maynard Keynes) that met weekly in London between 1905 and 1920. When seen in that light, Regan argues, Moore's thought as expressed in Principia Ethica is a ``radical defense of the freedom of the individual to choose,'' rather than a defense of conformity to the status quo, as is usually assumed. Written with the verve appropriate to its subject, and yet philosophically scrupulous, this book deserves a place in philosophy and cultural history collections in both public and academic libraries. Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Lib., Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877224464
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1986
  • Pages: 328

Meet the Author

Tom Regan is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University and author of The Case for Animal Rights.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

1 The Sacred Book 3

2 The Wages of Reason 29

3 A Youthful Idealism 63

4 A Cambridge Platonist 93

5 The Right to Believe 121

6 Art as Salvation 153

7 The Autonomy of Ethics 183

8 The Liberator 217

9 The More Beautiful 251

References 291

Index 303

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