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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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Baillie, Sir James Black (1872–1940), moral philosopher and academic administrator, was born on 24 October 1872 at West Mill, Cortachy, Forfarshire, the second son of William Baillie, forester, afterwards farmer, and his wife, Agnes Black. He was educated at Haddington School, the University of Edinburgh...

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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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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 (...

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Butler, Joseph (1692–1752), moral philosopher and theologian, was born on 18 May 1692 in Wantage, Berkshire. He was the youngest among the eight children of Thomas Butler (d. 1731), variously described as a prominent cloth merchant or linen draper in the town and as 'gentleman' in the records of ...

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Joseph Butler (1692–1752) by Mr Taylor of Durham, 1750–52 by kind permission of the Lord Bishop of Durham and the Church Commissioners of England. Photograph: Photographic Survey, Courtauld Institute of Art, London

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Cleghorn, William (1718–1754), moral philosopher and university teacher, was probably born in Edinburgh, the son of Hugh Cleghorn (d. 1734), a brewer and burgess of Edinburgh, and his wife, Jean Hamilton. He entered Edinburgh University in 1731 and graduated MA in 1739. He was probably intended for the ministry, and must have also studied divinity. It appears that he was licensed to preach, but never held charge of a parish. In 1739 and 1740 he was tutor to ...

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Colbatch, John (1665–1748), Church of England clergyman and university teacher, was the son of John Colbatch of Ludlow, Shropshire. He was educated at Westminster School, where he was made scholar in 1680, and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was admitted as a pensioner in 1683. He graduated BA (1687), MA (1690), BD (1701), and DD (1706). He became a fellow of his college in 1689 and was ordained priest in 1691. In 1693 he was appointed chaplain to the British factory at ...

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Copleston, Edward (1776–1849), bishop of Llandaff and moral philosopher, was born on 2 February 1776 at Offwell in Devon, where his father, John Bradford Copleston, was rector. He was educated at home until the age of fifteen when, in 1791, he won a scholarship to ...

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Edward Copleston (1776–1849) by Thomas Phillips, 1820 courtesy of the Provost and Fellows of Oriel College, Oxford; photograph © Studio Edmark

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Dummett, Sir Michael Anthony Eardley (1925–2011), philosopher and campaigner against racial injustice, was born Michael Eardley Dummett at 56 York Terrace, Marylebone, London on 27 June 1925, the only child of George Herbert Dummett (1880–1970), a silk merchant also later dealing in rayon, and his wife ...

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Sir Michael Anthony Eardley Dummett (1925–2011) by unknown photographer, 1960–1969 ©Studio Edmark, Oxford

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Dunbar, James (d. 1798), university teacher and writer on moral philosophy, of whose upbringing and parentage details are unknown, was educated at King's College, Aberdeen, from where he received the degree of LLD. In 1765 he began a thirty-year career as a lecturer in moral philosophy at ...

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Hare, Richard Mervyn (1919–2002), philosopher, was born on 21 March 1919 at Backwell Down, Backwell, Somerset (six miles to the west of Bristol), the fifth surviving child of Charles Francis Aubone (John) Hare, businessman, and his wife, Louise Kathleen, née Simonds...

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Richard Mervyn Hare (1919–2002) by Steve Pyke, 1990 © Steve Pyke; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Hutcheson, Francis (1694–1746), moral philosopher, was born in Ulster, in the township of Drumalig, near Saintfield, co. Down, on 8 August 1694. His father was John Hutcheson (d. 1729), minister of the Presbyterian church in Downpatrick (1690–97) and Armagh (1697–1729). His mother was the daughter of ...

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Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746) by Allan Ramsay, c. 1745 © Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow

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Johnson, Thomas (1702/3–1737), classical scholar and moral philosopher, was born at Debenham, Suffolk, the son of Thomas Johnson (b. 1674/5), Church of England clergyman of that parish. He was educated at Monk Soham School, Suffolk, and Magdalene College, Cambridge, which he entered aged eighteen on 3 June 1721. He graduated BA in 1724 and MA in 1728. He was ordained deacon on 19 December 1725 and priest on 11 June 1727. He was senior university taxor at ...

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Macmurray, John (1891–1976), moral philosopher, was born on 16 February 1891 in Maxwellton, near Dumfries, Kirkcudbrightshire, the son of James Macmurray (1854–1933), an excise agent in the civil service, and his wife, Mary Anna Grierson (1867–1973). Following a family move to the north-east of ...

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Newman, Francis William (1805–1897), classical scholar and moral philosopher, was born at 17 Southampton Street, Bloomsbury Square, London, on 27 June 1805. His father, John Newman (1767–1824), a banker, was of Dutch descent and his mother, Jemima (1772–1836), of Huguenot extraction, was a sister of the paper manufacturer ...