1. Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984), p. 67. I am characterizing the large argument of Bourdieu’s book, but the first chapter, “The Aristocracy of Culture,” in which he describes the reproduction of class distinction by means of the exercise of taste, and “Postscript: Towards a ‘Vulgar’ Critique of ‘Pure’ Critiques” are of particular interest to anyone interested in sorting out the relationship between education and aesthetic experience.
2. Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, trans. Richard Nice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977), pp. 5-8. Bourdieu is here positioning himself against Levi-Strauss’s objectivism as well as against the phenomenological approach of Marcel Mauss that Levi-Strauss strongly criticizes.
3. I use the term “social” here in its distinction from “sociable,” because Bentham aims particularly to capture the value of behavior to social groups seen as wholes rather than as collections of persons and personalities.
4. Joseph Priestley, The History and Present State of Electricity (London: J. Johnson and C. Rivington, 1794), ii. Quoted in Steven Johnson, The Invention of Air:A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America (New York: Penguin Books, 2008), Kindle location 449-53.
5. Immanuel Kant, Critique of Practical Reason in Practical Philosophy, trans. and ed. Mary J. Gregor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), 5:99, p. 218. Hereafter I shall refer to this critique as CPrR. The Cambridge edition indicates the pagination of Kant’s Gesammelte Schriften in the margins of pages, and I follow their lead in providing information about that standard pagination for readers using an edition other than the Cambridge edition of the Practical Philosophy.
6. The description I have given here sounds suspiciously like a description of Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey.” My guess is that there is a stronger connection than has yet been identified between that poem and intellectual currents that I’m trying to sketch in this essay.
7. Alan Richardson has a particularly effective account of Barbauld in Literature, Education, and Romanticism: Reading as Social Practice 1780-1832 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 128-30.
9. Anne Janowitz, Women Romantic Poets: Anna Laetitia Barbauld and Mary Robinson (Horndon, Tavistock: Northcote House Publishers, 2004), pp. 47-48. For our purposes, M.H. Abrams provides a particularly useful account of the chiliastic aspects of Priestley’s work when he writes that: "the Unitarian leaders Richard Price and Joseph Priestley (who combined the careers of chemist and preacher) led a chorus of prophets who invested the political events in France with the explosive power of the great Western myth of apocalypse, and so expanded a local phenomenon into the perfervid expectation that man everywhere was at the threshold of an earthly paradise restored,” M.H. Abrams, Natural Supernaturalism (New York: W.W. Norton, 1971), p. 331.
11. In the Introduction to Political Liberalism, John Rawls describes himself as developing his theory of political liberalism in response to a “serious problem,” namely that “a modern democratic society is characterized not simply by a pluralism of comprehensive religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines but by a pluralism of incompatible yet reasonable comprehensive doctrines.” Rawls, Political Liberalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), xvi.
12. J.J.C. Smart and Bernard Williams, Utilitarianism: For and Against (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973). One might not want to put much emphasis on Williams’s sensitivity to the lexicon of utilitarianism and his sense of its overlap with a religious vocabulary, but I think that his depiction of utilitarianism as a trivialization of individual decisions in the name of higher, or more remote, ends harmonizes with Kant’s argument that natural religion leaves human decisions little freedom or scope. Ironically, Bentham, utilitarian though he surely is, presses the same general line of argument in his arguments against religion.
13. Jeremy Bentham, The Influence of Natural Religion on the Temporal Happiness of Mankind (Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2003). This long essay was published under a pseudonym (Philip Beauchamp) and the editors of the Bowring edition of Bentham’s works omitted it and all his discussions of religion. The most reliable testimony to the essay’s authorship is that John Stuart Mill refers to it and its specific arguments as Bentham’s in his writing on religion, and particularly in his “On Religion.”