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Introduction “Reforming the Philosophy of the Age”

Introduction “Reforming the Philosophy of the Age”

Chapter:
(p.7) Introduction “Reforming the Philosophy of the Age”
Source:
Reforming Philosophy
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226767352.003.0002

This chapter discusses the views of the two eminent mid-nineteenth-century reformers—William Whewell and John Stuart Mill—on the reform of philosophy as well as the world. Both Whewell and Mill saw themselves as engaged in a project to reform philosophy and, by doing so, to reform the larger society. But they each conceived of this project, and the desired result, in different ways. Thus there arose a debate between them, one that covered the main areas they both targeted for transformation: morality, politics, and science. Mill and Whewell each considered the improvement of science instrumental in the reformation of morality and politics. Mill's desire to reform philosophy began with the intention to reform society by reestablishing morality and politics on different grounds; he then extended this project to include science as well. For Whewell, on the other hand, the reform of science was always part of his project, if not its starting point. But both men saw the reform of science as central to the reform of society.

Keywords:   reformers, William Whewell, John Stuart Mill, philosophy, morality, politics, science

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