Bernard Lightman et Richard England, “The Metaphysical Society and the End of Metaphysics” (6 mai)

Jeudi 6 mai 2021 à  17 h : Bernard Lightman (York University) et Richard England (Eastern Illinois University), “The Metaphysical Society and the End of Metaphysics”

The Metaphysical Society was a unique London debating club that lasted for eleven years, from 1869 to 1880.  The debaters came from every sphere of intellectual endeavor, from politics and religion, to science and literature. The roster of members included many of the English intellectual superstars of the period, such as the liberal politician William Gladstone, the biologist T. H. Huxley, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster Henry Edward Manning, and the Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson. During the period when the Metaphysical Society held its meetings there were questions being raised about the future of the study of metaphysics.  So why did members of the Society decide to name their debating club the Metaphysical Society?  This paper will explore how the concept of metaphysics was understood by the members of the society during the 1870’s.  It became an issue of contention within the society, as Christian intellectuals attempted to defend the validity of metaphysics from the criticisms of fellow members who questioned the existence of such a discipline, and ironically, the raison d’être of the society itself.


Bernard Lightman is Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities Department at York University, and Past President of the History of Science Society.   
Richard England  is Dean of the Pine Honors College and professor of philosophy at Eastern Illinois University. 

– Catherine Marshall, Bernard Lightman & Richard England (eds), The Papers of the Metaphysical Society (1869-1880), Oxford, Oxford, University Press, 2015.
– Catherine Marshall, Bernard Lightman and Richard England (eds), The Metaphysical Society (1869-1880): Intellectual Life in Mid-Victorian England, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2019. 

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