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D. G. Ritchie on socialism, history and Locke

Tyler, Colin



The history of late-19th-century socialism tends to focus on the rise of more extreme forms, especially Marxism. This approach marginalizes the more moderate and yet no less powerful and influential forms of socialism, particularly those developed by philosophers who were also political activists. This article seeks to rectify this situation to some extent. Section two reconstructs Ritchie's liberal socialism and relates it to his endorsement of the Fabian policy of 'permeation'. Section three develops this analysis by exploring Ritchie's claim that the philosophical historian should unlock past ideological configurations by using 'critical metaphysics' and 'speculative metaphysics' to analyse the gradual social 'emanation' of the higher principles of knowledge as those coalesced in the writings of 'representative men'. Section four focuses on political theory, by reconstructing Ritchie's analysis of Locke's theory of private property and the liberal socialist intimations that Ritchie drew from it. It is concluded that while Ritchie's liberal socialism remains an underappreciated ideological position and his critical method remains controversial, both should retain interest for the intellectual historian.


Tyler, C. (2012). D. G. Ritchie on socialism, history and Locke. Journal of political ideologies, 17(3), 259-280.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 11, 2012
Publication Date 2012-10
Print ISSN 1356-9317
Electronic ISSN 1469-9613
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 17
Issue 3
Pages 259-280
Keywords Political Science and International Relations; Geography, Planning and Development
Public URL