School of Politics, Philosophy & International Studies

Centre for Idealism and the New Liberalism

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  • About us
  • Members
  • Events
  • Research
  • Resources
  • Postgraduate Study

About us

The Centre for Idealism and the New Liberalism (CINL, formerly the Centre for the Study of British Idealism) conducts research and teaching on the work and influence of the philosophical and reforming movement known as the British idealists, as well as into the thought of the New Liberals to whom they gave rise, including L.T. Hobhouse and J.A. Hobson. The CINL also provides a source of expertise and resources, as well as producing publications and running conferences.

The CINL was created by Professor Colin Tyler and Professor James Connelly to capitalise on the growing interest in many countries in British idealism as both an intellectual movement and an influence on public policy. Tyler and Connelly have written extensively on British idealists such as, T.H. Green, R.G. Collingwood and Michael Oakeshott, and have produced several editions of previously unpublished material from British idealist archives. Both are co-editors of Collingwood and British Idealism Studies, the leading academic journal in the field, whose executive editor is David Boucher (Cardiff). Professor Nöel O’Sullivan (Emeritus, Hull), editor of one of Imprint Academics three British Idealism series, is also a member of the CINL. In this way, the CINL continues the Department's long association with idealist philosophy, not least as found in the work of Professor Raymond Plant and the late R.N. Berki.


The aims of the CINL are to:

  • Run conferences, workshops and seminars
  • Develop a network of scholars working in the field
  • Promote research grant applications
  • Develop modules and programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels
  • Act as a location of expertise for research students
  • Be a repository of materials, especially (photo)copies of idealist manuscripts


Centre members

Associate members

We have a number of invited associate members, each of whom is an internationally-renowned scholar working on either British idealism or New Liberalism, or actively supports such research.

Visiting scholars

Professor David Weinstein was a Visiting Scholar at the CINL for much of 2010, during which time has given several lectures and seminars, including a Royal Institute for Philosophy lecture and a seminar for Hull’s Institute of Applied Ethics.



June - Knowledge Networks, the Grote Club and Cambridge Idealism. A conference held at Wolfson College, Cambridge from 26-27 June.

March - Alan Kahan and Łukasz Dulęba visited the School of Politics, Philosophy and International Studies.


November - Professor Colin Tyler gave a talk at Edinburgh Napier University, as part of the AHRC-funded project Informing the Good Society. Read more about his talk.

August - Professors James Connelly and Colin Tyler presented papers at an International conference on 'British Idealism and concept of the self' at Harris Manchester College, Oxford.

June - Professors Colin Tyler, James Connelly and Noel O’Sullivan from the centre gave papers on 19th century idealist philosophy at a recent conference in Paris. The CINL has a close connection with conference co-organisers the University of Cergy-Pontoise, where Professor O’Sullivan has been appointed as a member of the International Advisory Board (IAB) of the Cergy-Pontoise Institute for Advanced Studies.


7 December - PSA British Idealism Specialist Group annual conference

22 October - Research Seminar; Professor David Weinstein (Wake Forest University, USA) 'What is the Use of Intellectual History?'

29 - 30 August - Conference; Kant and the British Idealists, held in partnership with the UK Kant Society


18 November - Seminar; Jon Cruddas MP (Dagenham and Rainham), 'Labour and Patriotism', This event was organised jointly with the Centre for British Politics

17 November - Seminar; Professor David Weinstein, Wake Forest, USA 'A Dangerous Mind: Leo Strauss's Hobbes as Misplaced Talmud'

14 November - Seminar; Louise W. Knight, Journalist and biographer 'The Conscience of a Citizen: Jane Addams Interprets T. H. Green and Edward Caird'
This event was organised jointly with the Centre for Victorian Studies.


15 - 17 December - Conference; Rediscovering Collingwood and the British Idealists

The CINL's (formally known as the CSBI) launch event, hosted by the Centre Directors Colin Tyler and James Connelly, was a conference at Tickton Grange Hotel, outside Hull, held between 15 and 17 December 2009.  This very successful event, which was funded jointly by the PSA British Idealism Specialist Group and the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Hull, brought together scholars from the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and elsewhere.

In addition to papers on Collingwood and Turkish film, the philosophy of history and metaphysics, the conference included two symposia. The first was dedicated to David Weinstein’s latest book, Utilitarianism and the New Liberalism, and included papers by Colin Tyler and James Connelly, with a response by Professor Weinstein.  The second symposium examined the latest research on the R.G. Collingwood’s life especially as that relates to the new edition of his Autobiography, to be published shortly by OUP. This symposium included contributions by David Boucher, Michael Beaney and others.


Current research projects


Each member of the CINL is a prolific researcher on British idealism and New Liberalism. Below is a list of their recent publications, and you can view a further list on their individual staff profile pages:

Anglo-American Idealism  The Concept of the Public Realm Metaphysics of Self-realisation and Freedom: Part 1 of The Liberal Socialism of Thomas Hill Green


  • Colin Tyler, and J.M. Hobson, eds. Selected Writings of John A. Hobson, 1932-1938: The struggle for the international mind (London: Routledge, 2011).


  • James Connelly and Stamatoula Panagakou, eds., Anglo-American Idealism: Thinkers and Ideas (Peter Lang, 2010)
  • James Connelly, ‘Philosophising history: distinguishing history as a discipline’, in A. Stone, ed., Edinburgh Critical History of Philosophy (Edinburgh U.P. 2010)
  • James Connelly, ‘The meaning of intention and meaning in Mark Bevir and Vivienne Brown’, Intellectual History Review (2010)
  • James Connelly, ‘T.M. Knox and the Study of Economic Activity’, International Journal of Social Economics (December 2010)
  • James Connelly, ‘On Strauss on Collingwood’, in Tony Burns and James Connelly, eds., Legacy of Leo Strauss (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2010)
  • Noël O’Sullivan, ed., The Concept of the Public Realm (London: Routledge, 2010)
  • Noël O’Sullivan, ‘Conversations in Simla about the meaning of life and the nature of democracy’, in A. Raghuramaraju and Jyotirmaya Sharma, eds., Grounding Morality: Freedom, Knowledge and the Plurality of Cultures, (Routledge, India, 2010)
  • Colin Tyler, The Metaphysics of Self-realisation and Freedom: Part 1 of The Liberal Socialism of Thomas Hill Green (Imprint Academic, 2010).
  • Colin Tyler, ‘British Idealism’, in Colin Matthew, Brian Harrison and Lawrence Goldman, eds., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Colin Tyler, ‘The Liberal Hegelianism of Edward Caird: Or, how to transcend the social economics of Kant and the romantics’, International Journal of Social Economics, 37:11 (November 2010), 852-866. ‘Highly Commended’ by the then-IJSE Editor and Editorial Board.


  • James Connelly, ‘Weinstein on Green, Hobhouse and Contemporary Moral Philosophy’, Collingwood and British Idealism Studies, 15:2 (2009), 41-53
  • James Connelly, ‘From anthropology to metaphysics: Collingwood, culture and civilisation’, Ethnographic Studies, 11 (Autumn 2009)
  • James Connelly, ‘Character, Duty and Historical Consciousness’, in W. Sweet, ed., British Idealism: Moral, Social and Political Philosophy (Exeter: Imprint Academic 2009)
  • Noël O’Sullivan, ‘The concept of the public realm’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 12:2 (June 2009), 117-131.
  • Noël O’Sullivan, ‘The concepts of the public, the private and the political in contemporary Western political theory’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 12:2 (June 2009), 145-165.
  • Colin Tyler, ‘Edward Caird’, in G. Oppy and N. Trakakis, eds., History of Western Philosophy of Religion, 5 vols. (Durham: Acumen, 2009), vol. 4, pp. 209-19
  • Colin Tyler, ‘Vindicating British idealism: D.G. Ritchie contra David Weinstein’, Collingwood and British Idealism Studies (2009)


  • James Connelly, ‘R.G. Collingwood, analytical philosophy and logical positivism’, Baltic International Yearbook of Cognition, Logic and Communication, 4 (2008)
  • James Connelly, ‘Collingwood and Whitehead’, in Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought (Ontos Verlag, 2008)
  • Noël O’Sullivan, ‘Visions of European unity since 1945’, Proceedings of the British Academy, 154 (December 2008), pp. 93-127. (A lecture delivered to the British Academy.)
  •  Colin Tyler, Unpublished Manuscripts in British Idealism: Political Philosophy, Theology and Social Theory, 2 vols. (Thoemmes Continuum, 2005; pbk Imprint Academic, 2008).


  • James Connelly, ‘A New Leviathan among the Idealists’, in W. Sweet, ed., Bosanquet and the Legacy of British Idealism (University of Toronto Press, 2007)


  • Noël O’Sullivan, ‘Philosophy, politics and conservatism in the thought of Elie Kedourie’, in ed. S. Kedourie, Elie Kedourie’s Approaches to History and Political Theory (Routledge: London 2006), pp. 53-82.
  • Noël O’Sullivan, ‘Liberalism, nihilism and modernity in the political thought of John Gray’, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 9:2 (Spring 2006), 285-304
  • Colin Tyler, ‘Elitism and Anti-elitism in Nineteenth Century British Political Thought’, History of European Ideas, 32 (August 2006), 345-55
  • Colin Tyler, ‘Some of the Recent Scholarship on Thomas Hill Green’, European Journal of Political Theory, 5:2 (April 2006), 213-21
  • Colin Tyler, Idealist Political Philosophy: Pluralism and conflict in the absolute idealist tradition (Continuum, 2006)



Errol Harris library

The Centre hosts the Errol Harris British Idealism Library, comprising a collection of books donated by the family of the late Professor Errol E. Harris. Prof. Harris was a prolific writer on topics in British Idealism, including the work of R.G. Collingwood, A.R. Lord, Spinoza, Hegel, and topics in the philosophy of science, metaphysics, and political philosophy. This library is available for use by visitors to the Centre and for all bona fide scholars of British Idealism.

The CINL maintains a number of bibliographies of work produced by or regarding the British idealists and New Liberals, especially Thomas Hill Green, Edward Caird, Benjamin Jowett, Richard Lewis Nettleship, David George Ritchie, John Hutchison Stirling and William Wallace.

This list of bibliographies will be added to in due course.


Links to similar associations

Postgraduate Study

Research Students

Members of the CINL have a long history of supervising postgraduate research on the history and contemporary relevance of British idealism.  In recent years, our doctoral students have included the following:

  • Dr Adrian Paylor (awarded 2014): Human Imperfection and Reason and T. H. Green’s and R. G. Collingwood’s Political Philosophies.
  • Dr Ashley Roden-Bow (awarded 2013): Being and Politics in Post-Hegelian Subjectivism: The Benefits and Limitations of a Subjectivist Approach to the Questions of Being and Politics.
  • Dr Sean Magee (awarded 2012): Disadvantage as an Impairment of the Will.
  • Dr Owen Fellows (awarded 2010): Rawls, Sen and Distributive Justice: An Idealist Critique
  • Dr Chueng Chor-Yung (awarded 2005): The Quest for Civil Order: Politics, rules and individuality


MA in Civilisation, Terrorism and Dissent

James Connelly and Colin Tyler are joint convenors of the MA in Civilisation, Terrorism and Dissent. In addition to four core modules entitled Discourses of Civilisation and Barbarism, Contemporary Terrorism Studies and the Causes of Terrorism, Terrorism Civil Disobedience and Dissent, and Capitalism, Alienation and Power, student write a 15,000 word dissertation, as well as taking two other modules from a list of options that includes, subject to availability, The British Idealists: Community, Time and the State.

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