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FT-60337-12

Benjamin James Bruxvoort Lipscomb
Houghton College (Houghton, NY 14744-8732)

The Oxford School: A Philosophical Group Biography of Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch

I am writing a group biography of the first school of women philosophers in the British academy: Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, Mary Midgley, and Iris Murdoch. Educated at two of Oxford's women's colleges between 1937 and 1942, the four went into philosophy after the Second World War, all gravitating to moral philosophy. Friends from their university years, they converged early around a distinctive (and initially unpopular) set of ideas, and influenced one another importantly. They also initiated a major shift in Anglophone ethical thought. Against the majority of their contemporaries, who sharply distinguished between facts and values, my subjects called for an account of ethics grounded in our species-nature. To develop such an account, they appealed to neglected pre-modern resources: particularly the concepts of virtue and vice. The question animating my study is this: how did this group of women come to converge around these ideas, in opposition to their contemporaries?

Project fields:
History of Philosophy

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2012 – 7/31/2012