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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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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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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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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...

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Ayer, Sir Alfred Jules [Freddie] (1910–1989), philosopher, was born on 29 October 1910 at Neville Court, Abbey Road, north-west London, the only child of Jules Louis Cyprien Ayer, financier, later in the timber trade, who came from a Swiss Calvinist family, and his wife, ...

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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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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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Beattie, James (1735–1803), poet and philosopher, was baptized at Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, on 25 October 1735, the youngest of six children of James Beattie (d. c.1742), tenant farmer and village shopkeeper, and Jean Watson (c.1692–1772). His father, who died when ...

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Bentham, Jeremy (1748–1832), philosopher, jurist, and reformer, was born on 4 February 1748 in Church Lane, Houndsditch, London, the eldest of the seven children of Jeremiah Bentham (1712–1792), attorney, and Alicia Woodward Whitehorne (d. 1759), the eldest daughter of Thomas Grove, a mercer of ...

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Berkeley, George (1685–1753), Church of Ireland bishop of Cloyne and philosopher, was born at or near Kilkenny on 12 March 1685. His father, William Berkeley (d. in or after 1734), who later held a military commission, was a gentleman farmer descended from a ...

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Berlin, Sir Isaiah (1909–1997), philosopher and historian of ideas, was born on 6 June 1909 in Riga, Latvia, then part of the Russian empire, the son of Mendel Borisovitch Berlin (1884–1953), a prosperous timber merchant whose main business was supplying wooden sleepers for the Russian railways, and his wife, ...

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Boole, George (1815–1864), mathematician and logician, was born on 2 November 1815 in Lincoln, the eldest of four children of a local tradesman, John Boole (1777–1848), and his wife, Mary Ann (1780–1854). He adopted a love of learning from his father, who was active in the local mechanics' institute, to such an extent that in his teens he was employed as a teacher at schools in ...

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Bosanquet, Bernard (1848–1923), philosopher and social theorist, was born on 14 June 1848 at Rock Hall, near Alnwick, the youngest of five sons of the Revd Robert William Bosanquet (1800–1880), of Rock, Northumberland, and formerly rector of Bolingbroke, Lincolnshire, son of Charles Bosanquet (1769–1850)...

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Bradley, Francis Herbert (1846–1924), philosopher, was born at Clapham, Surrey, on 30 January 1846, son of Charles Bradley (1789–1871), an Anglican clergyman of evangelical persuasion, and his second wife, Emma, daughter of John Linton. Bradley's father had twenty-one children with his two wives and was generally feared by them, although apparently least by ...

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Brown, Thomas (1778–1820), philosopher and poet, was born on 9 January 1778 at the manse of Kirkmabreck, Kirkcudbrightshire, the youngest of thirteen children of the Revd Samuel Brown (1724–1779), minister of Kirkmabreck and Kirkdale, and of Margaret Smith (1735–1817), daughter of John Smith...

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Burnett, James, Lord Monboddo (bap. 1714, d. 1799), judge and philosopher, was born at Monboddo, near Fordoun, Kincardineshire, and baptized on 25 October 1714. He was the eldest surviving son of James Burnett (b. 1688), third laird of Monboddo, and Elizabeth (1690–1765)...

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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 '...

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Caird, Edward (1835–1908), philosopher and college head, was born on 23 March 1835 in Greenock. His father, John Caird (1787–1838), the partner and manager of a firm of engineers in Greenock and a deeply religious man, died while Edward was still an infant. His mother, ...

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Canton, John (bap. 1718, d. 1772), experimental philosopher and schoolmaster, was born at Stroud, Gloucestershire, and baptized in the old chapel there on 31 July 1718, the son of John Canton, a broadcloth weaver. He was expected to follow his father's trade, and left school early to start an apprenticeship. He persisted with his studies in the evenings, however, and his father was eventually persuaded to allow him to go to ...

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Case, John (1540/41?–1600), philosopher and physician, was born at Woodstock, Oxfordshire. He may have received his grammar-school education in Woodstock, where there was certainly a school before 1571. After spending some time as a chorister at New College and Christ Church, he transferred to ...