Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice—in Theory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper explores and criticizes Henry Sidgwick’s conception of the ethical societies he helped found at the end of the nineteenth century. I argue that the societies were not as involved in practical and political problems as one might have expected, and that the theoretical justification offered by Sidgwick -- that the primary obstacles to “right living” lie in our minds and hearts -- is not altogether satisfying. Sidgwick’s nearly exclusive emphasis on the problem of moral knowledge is then contrasted with John Dewey’s attention to moral motivation; and Dewey’s more energetic involvement in current affairs and social issues is set in the context of his distinctive view of the relation between theory and practice. Finally, Sidgwick’s modest hopes for the ethical societies, and the reasons for that modesty, are compared with the confidence that permeated an earlier incarnation of the ethical society, Ben Franklin’s Junto club.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-146
Number of pages10
JournalThe International Journal of Applied Philosophy
Volume12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

Keywords

  • Moral knowledge
  • Dewey
  • Sidgwick
  • Ethics

Cite this

Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice—in Theory. / Hanson, Karen.

In: The International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1998, p. 137-146.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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