This article provides a short bio of Bernard Bosanquet.
Bernard Bosanquet was born in 1848, the year of publication of the Communist Manifesto, and died in 1923. He was educated at Harrow and at Balliol College, Oxford, where he came under the influence of T. H. Green.
In 1871 he was elected Fellow of the University College, Oxford. In 1881 he went to London to reside there and his purpose was to deliver lectures for adult education movement.
He had also an intention to devote his energy to social work. From 1903 to 1908 Bosanquet was the professor of Moral Philosophy of the St. Andrews University. In 1911 and 1912 he delivered his famous lectures at the University of Edinburgh and the subject was The Principles of Individuality and Value. Bosanquet was connected with many philanthropic organisations.
He was a versatile thinker and prolific writer. His well-known and best-known work The Philosophical Theory of the State was first published in 1899 and its fourth edition appeared in 1923, the year of his death.
His other works include Logic as the Science of Knowledge, Logic or the Morphology of Knowledge, Companion to Plato’s Republic, Essentials of Logic, The Principle of Individuality and Value.
Different contradictory opinions are expressed about Bernard Bosanquet. A critic has called him the greatest of English idealists.
On the other hand, Copleston, a renowned interpreter of philosophy, says that, like Bradley Bosanquet is rarely mentioned today and this is due to the fact that he has not said anything new which his contemporary thinkers have not said.
His theory of state, relationship between the individual and state, legislation etc. all were elaborated by Hegel, T. H. Green, Rousseau. Naturally he did not say anything new. In spite of this we still remember Bernard Bosanquet and the naive reason is that he was the leading member of Oxford idealism. He forcefully vindicated the central principles of Oxford idealism.
Bernard Bosanquet was indebted to both Green and Rousseau. He adopted many of the principles of Green but he modernised them in the light of new data found out by experience. He also abandoned some of the limitations of Green. These limitations relate to liberalism.
On this point we like to quote Barker:
“He would thus bring Green’s philosophy to a point where it approaches close to, if it does not altogether blend with, the full Hegelian conception of the state”.