This volume presents and discusses the theory of rights of the British idealist political philosopher, Bernard Bosanquet. The political philosophy of the British idealists in general, and of Bernard Bosanquet in particular, has been the subject of much misunderstanding and prejudice. In Anglo-American philosophical circles it has, in recent years, been almost entirely forgotten. Still, its practical influence was profound in Great Britain from the late nineteenth until the mid-twentieth centuries and its effect outside of academic philosophy was significant. Bosanquet's theory of rights proposes to provide a response to the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) and the natural rights-based political philosophy of Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). The question addressed in this book then, is whether Bosanquet's theory is a plausible alternative to these 'individualist' views. The author believes that a complete statement of Bosanquet's theory of rights requires an elaboration of his "metaphysical theory of the nature of social reality"his "social ontology." Thus, it is important not only to discuss Bosanquet's work in relation to his contempories, but to show how his account is related to such notions as the 'individual,' the 'general will,' the 'best life,' and 'the state.'
Author Biography: William Sweet is Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
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About the Author
William Sweet is Professor of Philosophy at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.