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Evolution of Religion

The Gifford Lectures delivered before the University of St. Andrews


In stock

ISBN : 9788130701561


Volumes : Set in 2 Volumes


Author : E. Caird


Pages : 640 pp


Year of Publishing : 2006


Binding : Hardbound


Publisher : Cosmo Publications

A Scottish philosopher of the latter half of the nineteenth century, Edward Caird was one of the key figures of the idealist movement that dominated British philosophy from 1870 until the mid 1920s. Best known for his studies of Kant and Hegel, Caird exercised a strong influence on the ‘second generation’ of idealists, such as John Watson and Bernard Bosanquet. During his long and productive life, Caird was active in university and local politics and in educational and social reform. In his two series of Gifford lectures, he developed an important ‘evolutionary’ account of religion.

Along with T.H. Green, Caird was one of the first generation of ‘British idealists,’ whose philosophical work was largely in reaction to the then-dominant empiricist and associationist views of Alexander Bain and J.S. Mill. He had, however, an ability of literary expression which Green did not possess; he was also more inclined to discuss questions by the method of tracing the historical development of the ideas involved. Like many other idealists Caird was concerned to show the relation of evolutionary theory to the development of thought and culture. His first set of Gifford lectures, The Evolution of Religion, deals less than his other works with an exposition of the views of other philosophers. These lectures focused on the possibility of a science of religion and the nature of religion from Greek times, but were especially centered on the development of the Christian faith through to the Reformation. Caird shows the spiritual sense of humanity as at first dominated by the object, but constrained by its own abstractions to swing around so as to fall under the sway of the subject.

The work remains a foundational one in the development of early sociology of religion.

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