The British Idealism Specialist Group will encourage research and study focused on the corpus of the British Idealists' writings in relation to themes which are associated with broader issues in the areas of political science, ethics, social and political philosophy, history of ideas, British and Continental political thought, sociology, and social policy. There is no restriction on the methodological and interpretative approaches employed and new innovative interdisciplinary projects of re-assessment, critical examination, and reconstruction of the British Idealists' philosophy are welcome.

Membership & constitution

See the membership & constitution section for information on how to become a member and to view the group constitution.

Annual reports

See the annual reports from 2001 onwards.

Research areas

The British Idealism Specialist Group has three main foci which cover the following areas of research:

Moral, social and political philosophy

Theory of the State; the nature of the State and its contribution to the individual's self-realisation and the progress of society; the limits of State action; the question of structure and agency; government; political obligation; authority and autonomy; the Common Good, Will and Freedom; ethical socialism and theories of property; social and international justice; punishment, character-building; legal philosophy; the State and International Relations in philosophical perspective: cosmopolitanism, patriotism, nationalism, international justice and human rights, citizenship, identity and universality; Democracy and Liberalism.

Society and the individual

Ethics and Community; Care, Social Policy and decision-making; mind, spirituality, human nature and character; Individuality, Politics and the aesthetic dimension; the phenomenological perspective: consciousness and identity, meaning, nature and the hermeneutics of self-experience; conceptions of the self, pluralism, multiculturalism, rights, recognition and self-determination; social action and agency.

Perspectives on British Idealism

British Idealism and issues in contemporary political philosophy: the debate between liberals and communitarians; feminist perspective; methodological and epistemological issues related to the study of Political Science and Political Philosophy; British Idealism and other philosophical traditions (utilitarianism, pragmatism, realism, individualism, evolutionary theories); comparisons between British Idealism and other brands of Philosophical Idealism (German, American, Greek and Italian); British Idealism and theories of Modernity and Post-Modernity; the contribution of British Idealism to British Political Thought and to Political Philosophy in general.


  1. To organise 1-2 panels on the topic of British Idealism at the Annual Political Studies Association Conference, and other occasional day conferences at various venues.
  2. The Annual Conference of the Specialist Group.
  3. Communications. The circulation among the members of a Directory with the names and e-mail addresses of the members.
  4. Annual Report. Preparation of the Annual Report of the Specialist Group submitted to the PSA.


Please contact David Boucher with any queries on the Group, or if you would like anything added to this site.