Analytic Philosophy

Analytic Ethics

What was the Bloomsbury group?

The Bloomsbury group was a loose group of friends, the men of which were Cambridge graduates. They met in the evenings for drink and talk at the house of author Virginia Woolf’s sister, Vanessa Bell. (The house was in the Bloomsbury district of London, and hence this name.) Its initial members, before 1910, were: the novelists E.M. Forster, Mary MacCarthy, and Virginia Woolf; economist John Maynard Keynes; the novelist, biographer, and critic Lytton Strachey; and the painters Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, and Roger Fry. All were close or intimate friends long before they individually became famous.

G.E. Moore (1873–1958) served as an intellectual ideal and mentor to the group. He was particularly revered by the others for his Principia Ethica (1903), and the model of clarity he provided for all intellectual work. Above all, the Bloomsbury members were inspired by Moore’s idea that art and friendship have intrinsic value—they’re good in themselves and serve no “higher purpose.”


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