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Philosopher of the month: Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe

The OUP Philosophy team have selected Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (18 March 1919 – 5 January 2001) as their January Philosopher of the Month. Anscombe was born in Limerick, Ireland, and spent much of her education at the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge. An analytical philosopher, Anscombe is best known for her works in the philosophy of mind, action, language, logic, and ethics.

Anscombe had a close relationship with her mentor, Ludwig Wittgenstein. She would end up translating many of his books and papers, including Philosophical Investigations. Much of his influence can be seen in her writings, including her seminal monograph, Intention. Anscombe was a formidable debater and engaged with long discussions with students and faculty members while a professor at the University of Cambridge. She is also known for her high profiled debate with C.S Lewis, which resulted in Lewis re-writing parts of his book, Miracles.

Anscombe was a social activist, much of this guided by her Catholic religious beliefs. She opposed Britain’s entering World War II and the deployment of the atomic bomb because of the amount of civilian deaths it caused. She was staunchly against abortions and attended various sit-in protests.

Anscombe died at the age of 81 on 5 January 2001 in Cambridge, England. She was survived by her husband, philosopher Peter Geach, and their seven children.

Featured image credit: ‘The Thinker’, by Rodin. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.

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  1. Jerome Danner

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