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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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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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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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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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(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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Bacon, Francis, Viscount St Alban (1561–1626), lord chancellor, politician, and philosopher, was born on 22 January 1561 at York House in the Strand, London, the second of the two sons of Sir Nicholas Bacon (1510–1579), lord keeper, and his second wife, Anne (...

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Bacon [Bakun], Roger (c. 1214–1292?), philosopher and Franciscan friar, is by inference from his later career usually assigned a birth date about 1214, and from early traditions it seems that he came from the south-west of England, perhaps near Ilchester in Somerset.

Bacon...

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Bailey, Samuel (bap. 1791, d. 1870), economist and philosopher, was baptized on 8 July 1791 at St Peter's Church (later the cathedral), Sheffield, the second son and fifth of the eleven children of Joseph Bailey, of Burngreave, and Mary Eaden. His father, originally an artisan, had become wealthy in the cutlery business (he was master cutler in 1801) and as a merchant. ...

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Balfour, Arthur James, first earl of Balfour (1848–1930), prime minister and philosopher, was born on 25 July 1848 at Whittingehame House, East Lothian, the third of eight children and eldest son of James Maitland Balfour (1820–1856), landowner (and MP, 1841–7), and his wife, ...

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Arthur James Balfour, first earl of Balfour (1848–1930) by John Singer Sargent, 1908 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Balfour, James, of Pilrig (1705–1795), moral philosopher, was born at Pilrig, near Edinburgh, the eldest child of James Balfour (1681–1737), businessman, and his wife, Louisa, née Hamilton (1686–1750), of Airdrie. His brother John Balfour (1715–1795) became a prominent Edinburgh bookseller and papermaker. James...

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Balfour, Robert (b. c. 1555, d. in or after 1621), philosopher and classical scholar, was born at Tarrie in Forfarshire; that he matriculated at St Andrews University in 1571 suggests a date of birth about 1555. After graduating he taught at St Andrews...

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Balguy, John (1686–1748), Church of England clergyman and moral philosopher, was born on 12 August 1686 at Sheffield, son of Thomas Balguy (c.1643–1696), master of the Sheffield Free School for over 30 years, and his wife, Sara Hathornwhite, whom he had married on 8 June 1682. He studied under his father, his father's successor (...