Samuel Bailey (1791-1870), British philosopher and author, was born at Sheffield in 1791.
He was among the first of those Sheffield merchants who went to the United States to establish trade connections. After a few years in his father's business, he retired with an ample fortune from all business concerns, with the exception of the Sheffield Banking Company, of which he was chairman for many years. Although an ardent liberal, he took little part in political affairs. On two occasions he stood for Sheffield as a "philosophic radical", but without success.
His life is for the most part a history of his numerous and varied publications. His books, if not of first-rate importance, are marked by lucidity, elegance of style and originality oftreatment. He died suddenly on January 18 1870, leaving over £80,000 to the town of Sheffield.
His first work, Essays on the Formation and Publication of Opinions, published anonymously in 1821 (2nd ed., 1826; 3rd ed., 1837), attracted more attention than any of his other writings. A sequel to it appeared in 1829, Essays on the Pursuit of Truth (2nd ed., 1844). Between these two were Questions in Political Economy, Politics, Morals, &c. (2823), and a Critical Dissertation on the Nature, Measure, and Causes of Value (1825), directed against the opinions of Ricardo and his school.
His next publications also were on economic or political subjects, Rationale of Political Representation (1835), and Money and its Vicissitudes (1837), now practically forgotten; about the same time also appeared some of his pamphlets, Discussion of Parliamentary Reform, Right of Primogeniture Examined, Defence of Joint-Stock Banks. In 1842 appeared his Review of Berkeley's Theory of Vision, an able work. which called forth rejoinders from JS Mill in the Westminster Review (reprinted in Dissertations), and from Ferrier in Blackwood (reprinted in Lectures and Remains, ii). Bailey replied to his critics in a Letter to a Philosopher (1843), &c.
In 1851 he published Theory of Reasoning (2nd ed.,1852), a discussion of the nature of inference, and an able criticism of the functions and value of the syllogism. In 1852 he published Discourses on Various Subjects; and finally summed up his philosophic views in the Letters on the Philosophy of the Human Mind (three series, 1855, 1858,1863). In 1845 he published Maro a poem in four cantoes (85 pp., Longmans), containing a description of a young poet who printed 1000 copies of his first poem, of which only 10 were sold.
He was a diligent student of Shakespeare, and his last literary work was On the Received Text of Shakespeare's Dramatic Writings and its Improvement (1862). Many of the emendations suggested are more fantastic than felicitous. The Letters contain a discussion of many of the principal problems in psychology and ethics. Bailey can hardly be classed as belonging either to the strictly empirical or to the idealist school, but his general tendency is towards the former. (I) In regard to method, he founds psychology entirely on introspection. He thus, to a certain extent, agrees with the Scottish school, but he differs from them in rejecting altogether the doctrine of mental faculties. What have been designated faculties are, upon his view, merely classified