'The Organic Filament', New Idealist Thought and the Media

Margaret Van Heekeren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 1913 the British Idealist Sir Henry Jones (1852-1922) spoke of the news media as an 'organic filament' that helped to bind individual members of society in a greater citizenshipThis Idealist perception of the media coalesced with the contemporaneous growth of the broader notion of journalism as a fourth estate. Beginning with the social philosophy of Edward Caird (1835-1908) and its extension into the Idealist conception of journalism, this article is an exploration into the attitudes of nineteenth and twentieth century Idealist philosophers and political thinkers in Britain and Australia toward the print and radio media. It further examines how Idealist belief in the role of media translated into its use as a platform of exposition for Idealist thought. The media and academic publications of four Australian Idealists are considered. Also identified is an Australian media environment that was sympathetic to the beliefs of these thinkers. Through this study emerges an Australian Idealism that, whilst theoretically anchored within the broader empire of Idealist philosophy, acquired a local, public form through a consistent and, at times, intensive use of print and radio media.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-61
Number of pages25
JournalCollingwood and British Idealism Studies: incorporating Bradley Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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