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Aaron, Richard Ithamar (1901–1987), philosopher, was born on 6 November 1901 at Upper Dulais, Blaendulais, Glamorgan, the son of William Aaron (1864–1937), a draper, and his wife, Margaret Griffith (d. 1940). He was brought up in Llwyfenni, Llangyfelach, Ynystawe, which was his home from 1910 to 1932, and received his secondary education at ...

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Abercromby, David (d. 1701?), physician and philosopher, most probably belonged to the Abercrombys of Seaton in the north-east of Scotland where he is believed to have been born. It is not known if Abercromby married or had children, although what survives of his biography makes marriage unlikely. Nothing is known of his parentage....

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Ackrill, John Lloyd (1921–2007), philosopher, was born on 30 December 1921 at 49 Green Road, Reading, the youngest child of Frederick William Ackrill (1875–1956), elementary school headmaster, and his wife, Jessie Anne, née Davies (1881–1969). He was educated at Reading School, and in Trinity term 1940 went to ...

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Peter Giles

revised by Mark J. Schofield

Adam, James (1860–1907), classical scholar and philosopher, born on 7 April 1860 at Kinmuck in the parish of Keithhall near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire, was second child and only son of James Adam and his wife, Barbara Anderson. The father owned the general store and tailor's shop which served the neighbouring countryside; he died of typhoid fever when his son was only eight. His mother by her own energy carried on the business, and brought up her six children. He made rapid progress at the parish school of ...

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Adams, Maurice (1850–1935), socialist and moral philosopher, was the youngest child of John Botroele Adams, a general agent who specialized in building and insurance work. His elder sister Mary had been born nine years earlier in Birmingham. After leaving school, Adams qualified as a chartered insurance broker and joined his father's firm, which became ...

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W. R. Sorley

revised by C. A. Creffield

Adamson, Robert (1852–1902), philosopher, was born at Edinburgh on 19 January 1852, fifth of the six children of Robert Adamson (d. 1855), solicitor, and Mary Agnes Buist, daughter of Matthew Buist, factor to the earl of Haddington. His father died when Adamson...

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Airay, Christopher (1600x03–1670), philosopher, was born at Clifton, Westmorland, and matriculated from Queen's College, Oxford, aged eighteen (Foster) on 9 November 1621. He graduated BA on 16 December 1625, was created a fellow in 1627, and proceeded MA on 29 January 1629. He was created BD on 1 or 2 November 1642 and was subsequently vicar of ...

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Alcock, Simon (d. 1459), scholastic author, was educated at Oxford, where he had proceeded MA by 1422 and DD by 1427, at which date he composed the De arte dictaminis, now MS 184.4 of the library of St John's College, Oxford. He may also have composed the ...

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John Laird

revised by Michael A. Weinstein

Alexander, Samuel (1859–1938), philosopher, the third son and fourth child of Samuel Alexander, an Australian, and his wife, Eliza Sloman, who came from Cape Town, was born at Sydney, New South Wales, on 6 January 1859. His father, a saddler, died of consumption at the age of thirty-eight, shortly before his birth. His mother died in his house at ...

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Samuel Alexander (1859–1938) by Francis Dodd, 1932 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Alnwick, Martin (d. 1336), Franciscan friar, theologian, and philosopher, doubtless came from Northumberland. Possibly the Martinus occasionally recorded as participating in Oxford disputations in the last years of the thirteenth century, he was certainly at Oxford by 1300, when he was among the friars presented to the bishop of ...

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John Anderson (1893–1962) by Sir William Dobell, 1962 © DACS 2010; University of Sydney Art Collection, John Anderson Testimonial Fund, 1962. Reproduced courtesy of Sir William Dobell Art Foundation

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Anderson, John (1893–1962), philosopher and social critic, was born in Stonehouse, Lanarkshire, 30 miles south-west of Glasgow, on 1 November 1893, the third of the five children of a radical schoolmaster, Alexander Anderson (1863–1947), and his wife, Elizabeth Brown (d. 1942), teacher, pianist, and poet....

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(Gertrude) Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (1919–2001) by Steve Pyke, 1990 [with Peter Thomas Geach] © Steve Pyke; National Portrait Gallery, London

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Anscombe, (Gertrude) Elizabeth Margaret (1919–2001), philosopher, was born on 18 March 1919 at Glanmire, North Strand, Limerick, the youngest child and only daughter of Allen Wells Anscombe (1885–1939), a schoolmaster at Dulwich College, then serving as a captain in the Royal Welch Fusiliers...

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Appleton, Charles Edward Cutts Birchall (1841–1879), lecturer on philosophy and journal editor, was born on 16 March 1841, at Reading, the second son of the Revd Robert Appleton (d. 1875). He was educated at Reading School, of which his father was headmaster. He matriculated at ...

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Argall, John (b. in or before 1545, d. 1606), Church of England clergyman and logician, was born in London, the third son of Thomas Argall (1499/1500–1563), ecclesiastical official, and of Margaret (d. 1592), daughter of John Tallakarne or Talkerne of Cornwall. Near the end of ...

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Arouet, François-Marie [known as Voltaire] (1694–1778), writer and philosopher, was born in Paris on 21 November 1694 according to the notice of baptism. He was the fifth of five surviving children born to François Arouet (1649–1722), lawyer and minor official, and his wife, ...

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Astell, Mary (1666–1731), philosopher and promoter of women's education, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 12 November 1666, the first of two surviving children of Peter Astell (1638–1678), coal merchant, and his wife, Mary, daughter of George Errington, also a coal merchant in ...

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Austin, John Langshaw (1911–1960), philosopher, was born in Lancaster on 26 March 1911, the second son of the five children of Geoffrey Langshaw Austin (1884–1971), architect, and his wife, Mary Bowes-Wilson (1883–1948). After the First World War his parents moved to St Andrews...