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The Life and Times of J. Neville Keynes

A Beacon in the Tempest

Phyllis Deane

This fascinating biography of an economist who was also a logician and administrator, is based mainly upon his virtually continuous diary. The diary provides an intimate commentary on the academic developments and conflicts in which he was closely involved as well as on his life as undergraduate, bachelor and family man.
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Chapter 8: Faculty conflicts and tripos reform

Phyllis Deane


VIII Faculty conflicts and tripos reform 1 REFORMING THE MORAL SCIENCES TRIPOS, 1885–97 The controversies over the reform of the moral sciences tripos that erupted in the late 1880s, and again in the 1890s, were exacerbated by the presence of two would-be reforming leaders on the Board – one holding the chair of philosophy and the other the chair of political economy. At the same time, most of the lecturers teaching under the Board’s auspices had already defined their areas of specialization within the broad range of subjects defined as moral sciences, and did not welcome programme changes that might either limit their own choice of courses or add to their workload. Indeed, when Marshall returned to take up his Cambridge chair in 1885, Keynes was the only university lecturer at the disposal of the Board and hence the only member of its teaching team over whom it had full authority. The others – apart from Sidgwick (who gave the main courses on ethics and philosophy) and Cunningham (the History Board’s university lecturer who lectured on political philosophy and economic history) – were all college employees. They included two teaching logic, John Venn (Caius) and T.W. Levin (St Catharine’s); James Ward (Trinity) lecturing on psychology and metaphysics; and Foxwell (John’s) who had taken over most of the economics teaching when Marshall left in 1877 – but refused to teach women.1 As for Keynes, he had held his university lectureship for less than a year when the arrival of Alfred and...

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