Thomas Hill Green : od epistemologii do filozofii politycznej, 204 s.

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dc.contributor.author Grygieńć, Janusz
dc.date.accessioned 2013-11-27T08:20:34Z
dc.date.available 2013-11-27T08:20:34Z
dc.date.issued 2009
dc.identifier.isbn 978-83-60738-89-4
dc.identifier.uri http://repozytorium.umk.pl/handle/item/1099
dc.description.abstract The philosophy of Thomas Hill Green, as well as that of most of the British idealists, remains almost completely unknown to the Polish Reader. This is the main reason for which the Author of this book has chosen to present the broad spectrum of its issues and possible interpretations. Despite the fact that Green lived for less than 46 years, philosophical conceptions which his lectures (published posthumously as Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation and Prolegomena to Ethics) contained, took the form of a complicated system of thought. Calling them ‘systemic’ points to the fact that every part of the discussed whole, at least according to Green himself, is joined together with others by bonds of logical law of implication. The very each of them depends on others. Because of that, every interpretation of Green’s political philosophy omitting his metaphysical, theological, ethical and even epistemological statements is condemned to incomprehension of its real meaning and significance. It is a methodological error to acknowledge the importance and impact of Green’s lectures on the liberal theory and at the same time to ignore the fact that their definitive foundations are of strictly metaphysical character. The first chapter of the book is devoted exclusively to epistemological matters. It contains inter alia the presentation of critiques addressed by Green to his philosophical ancestors. This criticism may be perceived as a form of justification and at the same time an introduction to Green’s own cognitive assumptions, also presented in the chapter. The Author firstly shows Green’s arguments against Hume – the last and the most coherent defender of empiricism, naturalism and sensualism, i.e. a representative of the philosophical tradition that in the XIXth century was an anachronism and that, due to its inadequate presentation of cognitive processes, was to be replaced by idealism. The shortcomings of Hume’s philosophy were discerned by Kant, who – as he famously acknowledged himself – had been awakened by Hume from a ‘dogmatic dream’. His thought should be understood as the next stage in the development of epistemology, the one revealing the gaps in theories of Kant's predecessors. His greatest credit was the indication that reality is not given to us as something ready-made and that our role in cognitive processes is not only receptive, but also creative. Unfortunately, despite appreciating the role of the humans in the constitution of the world of objective experience, Kant committed an unforgivable mistake by making a clear-cut distinction between the world of phenomena and the world of ‘things in themselves’. This may serve as a proof of his inconsistency; according to Green, that kind of inconsistency should be avoided by others in the future. Green makes here his transition from epistemology to metaphysics. By rejecting the concept of ‘things in themselves’ and accepting the exclusively spiritual nature of the reality, he makes his theory open to the charge of solipsism. For this reason he draws from Hegel’s absolute idealism. Like the author of Phenomenology of Spirit, Green takes for granted the existence of consciousness that is higher to that of humans’, the one that embodies the full development of potentials hidden in individual persons. He calls it ‘eternal consciousness’. The reality which is only of a relative character (as it takes on the form of relations) finds its foundation in this ‘eternal consciousness’ to which everything is equally current – the past, the present, and the future. Therefore, ‘eternal consciousness’ may be called intellectus intuitivus, non-discursive intelligence which uses the exteriorated physical as well as mental reality as its vehicle in the process of self-realization. This way Green’s metaphysics constitute the starting point to ethics. The worlds of human spirituality, of culture, of social and moral ideals – these are the paths that lead ‘eternal consciousness’ to self-knowledge. Its development is of moral character, it may be achieved only by developing moral ideals, which serve as the foundation to the historiosophic vision of moral perfection of societies. Green utilizes here modified concept of Rousseau’s ‘general will’, defined in Lectures on the Principles... as ‘impalpable congeries of the hopes and fears of a people bound together by common interests and sympathy’, which finds its reflection in legislative acts of communities. The fourth chapter deals with the problem of freedom. Green is an adherent of the concept that almost a hundred years later was called 'positive freedom' by another British thinker, Isaiah Berlin. However, it does not mean that Green’s political philosophy remains susceptible to totalitarian implications arising from the acceptance of absolute superiority of the state – the exponent of ‘true freedom’ – over individuals – exponents of ‘false freedom’. It is difficult to find more fallacious interpretation of Green’s political and moral philosophy. The Author proves that the vision of ‘positive liberty’ expounded inter alia in Lectures on the Principles..., a liberty to self-development as its starting point and conditio sine qua non takes on the form of a concept of ‘negative freedom’. Self-realization requires the sense of responsibility for one’s acts and it cannot be achieved in other way than by letting the individuals to freely decide on the life of theirs as well as their loved ones. This is why Green was an adherent of suffrage extension – no-one can be a good citizen and a good man (1) without the consciousness of having an influence on the future of his own community and (2) without the consciousness of there being series of unbreakable bonds between him and his fellow-citizens. In the fifth chapter, the Author presents issues that are fundamental to Green’s political philosophy, turning his attention especially to three of them: (1) relation between moral duties and legal obligations, (2) positive functions of the state and (3) Green’s historiosophic project. The first of these issues – the matter of relations binding law and morality – is absolutely essential to his political philosophy. The author of Lectures on the Principles... turns out to be a follower of geopolitical concept of dependency of rights on circumstances (in this field having Gravina and Montesquieu for his predecessors) influencing the general will of a particular society. In spite of the acceptance of a fundamental difference between law and morality (referring to Kant's Metaphysics of Morals, he expounded that difference mainly by pointing to the differences in origin and diversity of the spheres of existence which they relate to), Green perceives them as mutually dependent. In the long run there can be no contradiction between law and general will, therefore also between law and morality. The author of Prolegomena... borrows from Rousseau’s Du contrat social the distinction between sovereignty de facto and de jure, which perfectly illustrates Green’s intentions. Government or ruler, being sovereign de jure, always obtains legitimization from general will, which may be perceived as sovereign de facto. This is not only one-sided dependence, i.e. not only morality exerts an impact on law. Legislation plays a great part in the development of communal morality and general will – it secures the level of moral development achieved by a community, in this way enabling its further growth. This moral and legal deliberations refer the Reader to the most known part of Green’s philosophy, i.e. to his conception of positive powers of government. It turns out that the state authorities cannot enforce citizens’ moral development (and this is main the goal of all the state’s activities), because they cannot directly promote moral duties. They can only create favorable conditions for their development. Green proposes a large-scale project of reforming the relations between the state and individuals – a strictly interventionist project including ‘social’ reforms in education, housing, suffrage, land and alcohol trade, regulation of working hours in mines and factories, etc. What is distinctive of Green’s version of liberalism is, as it has been said already, its metaphysical foundations. It is thanks to them that Green has to accept inevitability of the changes proposed in Lectures on the Principles... ‘Eternal consciousness’ strives for self-realization, but it cannot obtain it without similar process of perfecting the individuals. This in turn implies ‘social’ changes in morals and legislation. Green traces this process in history. In his opinion, one can see a continual moral development of humanity mirrored in the fact of more and more extensive mutual attribution of the same rights by citizens to their countryman as well as to members of other political communities. Egoism, the most common obstacle to this development, is constantly being ‘turned into good’ by ‘eternal consciousness’. The discussion on Green’s intellectual legacy and the question of his impact on ideological transformations in British liberal theory and practice at the beginning of the XXth century has been taking place to the present day. Some scholars (like M. Freeden) definitely oppose propositions of ascribing to Green a substantial role in shaping the program of the New Liberalism. They point rather to J.S. Mill as an initiator of the departure from the so-called Manchester school of liberalism. Others (e.g. D.P. Leighton, M. Carter), on the contrary, claim that Green exercised a significant political and ideological influence on his contemporaries and further generations. And it is the latter view that the Author of this book finds more convincing. In his opinion, Green gained most of his followers not so much thanks to his writings as rather thanks to his lectures. Most of these followers have been actively involved in British political life and unambiguously accepted social-liberal or socialist perspective (D.G. Richie, L. T. Hobhouse, J.A. Hobson, R.B. Haldane, R.H. Tawney, S. Ball, B. Bosanquet).
dc.language.iso pol
dc.publisher Europejskie Centrum Edukacyjne, Toruń
dc.rights Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Poland
dc.rights info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/pl/
dc.subject idealizm
dc.subject epistemologia
dc.subject metafizyka
dc.subject filozofia polityczna
dc.subject Thomas Hill Green
dc.subject etyka
dc.subject liberalizm
dc.title Thomas Hill Green : od epistemologii do filozofii politycznej, 204 s.
dc.title.alternative Thomas Hill Green. From Epistemology to Political Philosophy
dc.type info:eu-repo/semantics/book

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