Edmund Burke Philosophy Summary

November 14, 2012

Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) is a statesman, british philosopher.

Synthesis of Burke Philosophy

Burke’s major contribution to philosophy was on aesthetics philosophy : “Philosophical Inquiry into the origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful” in which his central argument is that our enjoyment of
beauty consists in the way in which imagination is engaged by obscurity  and suggestiveness rather than by intellectual clarity, and, in respect of the sublime, by a pleasurable form of terror and ignorance.

In his later political career, Burke lent his support to both the Irish cause and American independance. However, his “Reflections on the Revolution in France” is a supreme masterpiece of conservative political thought.

Although Burke was very much a Whig rather than a Tory, who had indicted Warren Hastings and supported the American colonists, he at once recognized the “new dealers” of 1789 as makers of a revolution unacceptably, intentionnaly anti-historical, and even perhaps totalitarian.