Welcome to our first Grote Club posting.
In future posts John Gibbins will be writing about all aspects of the mid-Victorian philosopher John Grote. John regards Grote as the most overlooked thinker of the last few centuries; and I suspect he has a point. But my own concern is with Grote’s institutional and intellectual legacy.
Grote took over the newly instituted Moral Sciences Tripos in 1855. This was a new venture at the University of Cambridge, at which a liberal education had traditionally consisted of Classics and Mathematics (Oxford did not even have Mathematics). In its first few years the new tripos had been under the guidance of the great Victorian polymath and conservative William Whewell, who had sought to bring moral philosophy into harmony with history and law in order to present a systematic refutation of what he took to be the godless and industrial radicalism of metropolitan moralists like J.S. Mill.