- Sidgwick, Henry
- (1838–1900)English philosopher. Sidgwick was a quintessentially late Victorian Cambridge figure. He was Fellow of Trinity College from 1859 to 1869, when he resigned because religious doubts meant that he could no longer subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles, and professor of moral philosophy from 1883 to 1900. Sidgwick was a champion of women's education and he and his wife Eleanor Balfour were principal founders of Newnham College, of which she became Principal in 1892. Sidgwick was also a mainstay of the Society for Psychical Research. His most important work is the monumental Methods of Ethics (1874). The methods are first, those of intuitive common sense, taking perfection as its goal and relying on a variety of self-evident moral principles; secondly, the method of calculating self-interest; and thirdly, that of general utilitarianism. The work is generally regarded as a classic statement of the different kinds of ethical argument. In particular, Sidgwick anticipated Moore in his denial that ethical terms are capable of definition. However, at the end of the day, he found himself unable to reconcile the demands of self-interest and those of ethics (see sensible knave ), so the relationship between ethical demands and others remains uneasy.
Philosophy dictionary. Academic. 2011.