The central claim of this book is that previous scholars have not appreciated the depths and complexities of the relationships between British idealist radicalism and the earlier idealist tradition of Kant, Fichte, Hegel and Carlyle. Colin Tyler explores two recurring themes: the first is that the foundations of British idealist thought were encapsulated within parts of Hegel's political theory that have been ignored or misunderstood -- specifically Hegel's analyses of civic pluralism and international order. Tyler argues that these parts of Hegel's system had highly significant political implications. They showed that reformers must work from within concrete historical traditions; they grounded a critique of abstract rationalism as an alienating and potentially totalitarian method of designing social and economic institutions; they indicated the inevitability of civic and political pluralism and the many opportunities for human improvement which they created; and finally they demonstrated the tragic nature of human progress. The second recurring theme is the concern of many British idealists to articulate the distinction between the virtues of an enriching community and a modern commercial society, a concern that owed much of its force to the earlier idealist tradition. Together, these themes show the inseparability of the British idealists' social and political radicalism from the inherent logic of idealism, a link that has been denied or misconceived by previous scholars, and has never been completely appreciated by anyone before. The book makes extensive use of certain British idealist manuscripts which were not merely unpublished, but were undiscovered until very recently.
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Author Biography - Colin Tyler
Dr Colin Tyler is Reader in Politics at the University of Hull, UK. He edited the Collected Works of Edward Caird as well as authoring numerous articles and book chapters.