James Frederick Ferrier and the new Scottish philosophy
This thesis provides a critical examination of James Frederick Ferrier’s philosophy that was published during his lifetime. I will consider his philosophy in its historical context with particular emphasis attached to the relationship between Ferrier’s philosophy and that of his immediate predecessors: the Scottish School of Common Sense. I will also look at the development of his idealism, especially in relation to Berkeley but also in terms of his contemporaries and the later British Idealists. In this way I will assess the development of the philosophy of mind in the Scottish philosophical tradition during the mid-nineteenth century. Ferrier is an idealist who develops his philosophy principally through his negative reaction to the philosophy of his common sense predecessors and by reworking the philosophy of Berkeley. There are similarities between Ferrier’s philosophy and the Scottish tradition of common sense. Yet, this is purely in terms of a shared agenda because he rejects the methods and the focus of common sense philosophy in favour of an idealist system of metaphysics. What I will show throughout the course of this thesis is that although Ferrier cannot be considered as a common sense philosopher he works within the parameters of the Scottish philosophical tradition; a tradition in which common sense played a large part.