The Metaphysical Self and the Moral Self in Bernard Bosanquet

  • William Sweet


Bernard Bosanquet’s account of the self has been widely discussed and challenged. The present paper engages some of this discussion by focussing on an alleged inconsistency in his views. Often, Bosanquet presents a theory of morality and of politics that has as its objective the development of the human individual. For example, he writes that ‘[t]he aim of politics is to find and realize the individual’. Yet at other times, human individuality is said to be only ‘provisional’, and Bosanquet describes the ‘reality’ of finite individuals as merely ‘adjectival’. I argue that Bosanquet has a consistent and plausible concept of the self that overcomes these apparent tensions. Moreover, I suggest that such a concept of the self addresses several criticisms often raised against Bosanquet’s view.


Moral Agent Moral Development Moral Action Human Individual Lateral Identity 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Sweet
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Francis Xavier UniversityAntigonishCanada

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