Hastings Rashdall

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Hastings Rashdall.

Hastings Rashdall, DL (1858–1924) was an English philosopher, theologian, and historian. He expounded a theory known as ideal utilitarianism, and he was a major historian of the universities of the Middle Ages.[1]

Rashdall was the son of an Anglican priest. He was educated at Harrow and received a scholarship for New College, Oxford. After short tenures at St David's University College and University College, Durham, Rashdall was made a Fellow of first Hertford College, Oxford, then New College, Oxford, and dedicates his main work, The Theory of Good and Evil (1907), to the memory of his teachers Thomas Hill Green and Henry Sidgwick.

The dedication is appropriate, for the particular version of utilitarianism put forward by Rashdall owes elements to both Green and Sidgwick.[2] Whereas he holds that the concepts of good and value are logically prior to that of right, he gives right a more than instrumental significance. His idea of good owes more to Green than to the hedonistic utilitarians. "The ideal of human life is not the mere juxtaposition of distinct goods, but a whole in which each good is made different by the presence of others." Rashdall has been eclipsed as a moral philosopher by G. E. Moore, who advocated similar views in his earlier work Principia Ethica (1903). Rashdall was also a Berkeleyan, believing in metaphysical idealism.

His historical study, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, was described in the introduction to its recent reprinting as "one of the first comparative works on the subject" whose "scope and breadth has assured its place as a key work in intellectual history."

Rashdall received the degree Doctor of Letters (DL) from New College, Oxford, in October 1901.[3]

He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1904 to 1907, a member of the Christian Social Union from its inception in 1890, and was an influential Anglican modernist theologian of the time, being appointed to a canonry in 1909.

He was Dean of Carlisle from 1917 to 1924, and died of cancer in Worthing in 1924.

Quotations[edit]

"Happiness represents satisfaction with one's existence as a whole."

Selected works[edit]

References[edit]

  • Garnett, Jane. "Rashdall, Hastings." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Matheson, P.E. The Life of Hastings Rashdall, D.D. 1928.
  • Postle and Marsh. Hastings Rashdall: Dean of Carlisle, 1917-1920. 2000.
  1. ^ "Rashdall, Hastings," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, where Rashdall's The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages is referred to as "a standard work."
  2. ^ "Rashdall, Hastings," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  3. ^ "University intelligence" The Times (London). Friday, 18 October 1901. (36589), p. 4.