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Francis Bacon, Viscount St Alban (1561–1626) attrib. Abraham van Blyenberch, c. 1618 © Royal Society

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

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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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Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) by Henry William Pickersgill, 1829 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Blakey, Robert [pseud. Palmer Hackle] (1795–1878), radical and historian of philosophy, son of Robert Blakey (c.1774–1796), mechanic, and his wife, Elizabeth Laws (b. 1773), was born in Manchester Street, Morpeth, Northumberland, on 18 May 1795. His father died when he was nine months old. When he was six, he was taken charge of by his grandmother, also ...

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Dicsone [Dickson], Alexander (bap. 1558, d. 1603/4), philosophical writer and political agent, was baptized at Kirkton, Errol, Scotland, in December 1558, as the son of Alexander Dickson and Margaret Hay. He was educated at St Leonard's College, St Andrews (graduating 1577). He may have spent part of the next few years on the continent (perhaps in ...

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Oliver Shewell Franks, Baron Franks (1905–1992) by Yousuf Karsh Karsh / Camera Press, London

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Franks, Oliver Shewell, Baron Franks (1905–1992), philosopher and public servant, was born on 16 February 1905 at Woodbrooke settlement, Selly Oak, Birmingham, the elder son and oldest of four children of the Revd Dr Robert Sleightholme Franks (1871–1964), scholar and theologian, and his wife, ...

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Graham, William (1839–1911), philosopher and political economist, was born in Saintfield, co. Down. He was a younger son of Alexander Graham, farmer and horse-dealer, and his wife, Maria Crawford, a descendant of a Scottish Presbyterian family which moved to Ireland in Charles II's...

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Edward Herbert, first Baron Herbert of Cherbury and first Baron Herbert of Castle Island (1582?–1648) by Isaac Oliver National Trust Photographic Library / Powis Estate Trustees

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Herbert, Edward, first Baron Herbert of Cherbury and first Baron Herbert of Castle Island (1582?–1648), diplomat and philosopher, the eldest son of Richard (d. 1596) and Magdalen Herbert (d. 1627) of Montgomery Castle, was born on 3 March, probably in 1582, at the home of his maternal grandparents, ...

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Marsden, Dora (1882–1960), suffragette and philosopher, was born on 5 March 1882 at The Hey, Marsden, Yorkshire, the fourth of five children of Fred Marsden (1851–1913), woollen waste manufacturer, and his wife, Hannah (1852–1936), daughter of a millwright, William Henry Gartside, and his wife, ...

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Morell, John Daniel (1816–1891), philosopher and inspector of schools, born at home at Little Baddow manse, Little Baddow, near Chelmsford, Essex, on 18 June 1816, was the ninth child of Stephen Morell and Jemima Robinson, his wife. The family was of French origin, and settled in ...

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Mylne, James (1757–1839), philosopher and political reformer, was born on 3 September 1757, probably at the manse at Kinnaird in Gowrie, Perthshire, the seventh of nine children of the Revd James Mylne (d. 1783), Church of Scotland minister of that parish, and ...

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Richard Price (1723–1791) by Thomas Holloway, pubd 1793 (after Benjamin West, 1788) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Price, Richard (1723–1791), philosopher, demographer, and political radical, was born on 23 February 1723 at Tyn-ton, in the parish of Llangeinor, in the county of Glamorgan, the only son and eldest of three children of Rice Price (1673–1739) and his second wife, Catherine (1697–1740)...

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Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–1975) by Derek Hill, 1967 All Souls College, Oxford

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Radhakrishnan, Sir Sarvepalli (1888–1975), philosopher and president of India, was born on 5 September 1888, in the pilgrimage centre village of Tiruttani, in the then undivided presidency of Madras. He was the second son of middle-class but poor parents, Sarvepalli Veeraswami, a tahsildar...