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Coleridge's Philosophy of Social Reform


Charles De Paolo

Reacting to empiricism, to idealism, and to conservative repression, Coleridge devised an eclectic social philosophy that combined Christianity, Kantian ethics, and Burkean conservatism. Evaluating the philosophical precursors and the contemporary context, De Paolo establishes the nature of Coleridge's reactions to these philosophies, determines the quality of his eclecticism, and considers the degree to which his social thought--which the author calls «conservative humanism»--informs and directs his opinions on such issues as child labor, national education, slave emancipation, and suffrage. De Paolo concludes that Coleridge's reformist work is a substantive and coherent statement on the social conditions of his times, one that earns him an important, and a hitherto unrecognized, position in the annals of social thought.
Contents: Complementing Colmer's Coleridge: Critic of Society (1959), this study emphasizes the philosophical, rather than political, nature of STC's responses. It considers the corpus in a broader cultural context, provides a more detailed account of STC's reactions, and evaluates his philosophy of social reform in its historical and contemporary contexts.