Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: May 06, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412958660 | Print ISBN: 9781412958653 | Online ISBN: 9781412958660| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
British idealism took its inspiration from the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, but unlike him, the British turned the underlying ideas into a practical crusading philosophy, taking the high moral ground against the injustices of the age. For British idealists the philosopher is a public intellectual with a social responsibility. The rapid industrialization of the nineteenth century produced such squalid social conditions, appalling sanitation, rampant drunkenness, and dangerous working practices that the idealists, with their emphasis on the spiritual growth of the self, were determined to campaign to remove the obstacles to self-realization. This entry highlights some of idealism's fundamental principles and shows how they resulted in a highly politicized philosophy generating clear principles of state intervention. It concludes with an application of these principles to a specific social issue. The British idealists dominated philosophy in the Anglophone world during the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth ...