T. H. Green

British philosopher

Thomas Hill Green (7 April 1836 – 26 March 1882), known as T. H. Green, was an English philosopher, political radical and temperance reformer, and a member of the British idealism movement. He was one of the thinkers behind the philosophy of social liberalism.


  • [I]t is quite certain that only through the equal presence to successive feeling of a subject other than they, which holds them together, and thus held together regards them as its object, are there related things or relations at all. It is not that first there are relations then they are conceived. Every relation is constituted by an act of conception. This is not to be understood as meaning that there is 'nothing but the soul and its feelings,' or that realities are feelings, even feelings as determined by thought. It is through feeling as determined by thought that for us there comes to be reality, but the reality is not to be identified with the process by which we, as thinking animals, arrive at it. Even simple facts of feeling (e.g. the fact that a certain sweet smell accompanies the sight of a rose) are not feelings as felt: more clearly, the conditions of such facts are not feelings, even as determined by thought. A 'feeling determined by thought' would probably mean a feeling which but for thought I should not have, e.g. emotion at the spectacle of a tragedy. Objective facts are not of this sort, not feelings determined by thought, though but for the determination of feeling by thought they would not exist for our consciousness.

Quotes about T. H. GreenEdit

  • He was a thoroughgoing Liberal, or what used to be called a Radical, full of faith in the people, an advocate of pretty nearly every measure that tended to democratise English institutions, a friend of peace and of non-intervention.
    • James Bryce, Studies in Contemporary Biography (1903), p. 97
  • At Oxford a leading mind between 1860 and 1880 was T. H. Green, a man remarkable both in mental power and influence. He first gave a shake to Mill's supremacy as logician and metaphysician. But, notwithstanding Mill's conviction that false philosophy is the support of bad institutions, his critic's intuitionist philosophy did not prevent Green from being an ardent reformer, with Cobden and Bright for idols. In 1858 he ventured on a motion at the Union in approval of Bright. "It was frantically opposed," he said, "and after two days' discussion I found myself in a minority of two. I am almost ashamed to belong to a university which is in such a state of darkness."

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