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How G. E. M. Anscombe revolutionised 20th-century western philosophy

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Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (b. 1919-d. 2001) was an important figure and gave significant contributions to the field of analytic philosophy, philosophy of mind, and moral and religious philosophy. Born in Limerick in March 1919 to Allen Anscombe and Gertrude Anscombe (nee Thomas), the family returned to England when her father returned from the British Army to teach as a schoolmaster. With an impressive academic career, Anscombe attended St. Hugh’s College at the University of Oxford, when she achieved a first-class degree in Literae Humanities (Classics and Philosophy) in 1941. She then continued to study at St Hugh’s as a research student, but shortly afterwards moved to study at Newnham College, Cambridge. In 1946, Somerville College, Oxford, offered her a Research Fellowship, and then a teaching Fellowship in 1964, which she accepted. However, she did return to Cambridge in 1970 to accept the chair of philosophy at Cambridge University. The chair, interestingly, was previously held by Ludwig Wittgenstein, whom she deeply admired both personally and professionally as a philosopher, for his theories on logic. Anscombe first met Wittgenstein in Cambridge after she had graduated from Oxford, and attended his lectures regularly. She continued to study and then work with him even after her return to Oxford. Following his death in 1951, she translated some of his most important works into English, including Philosophical Investigations, published posthumously in 1953. She also translated and published many of his notebooks and manuscripts. Curiously, in life Wittgenstein disliked female academics, though he evidently made an exception for Anscombe. Anscombe’s Intention is arguably the most important and influential piece of philosophical work from the 20th Century, and it continues to be used as a point of reference for students, scholars, and those working in action theory and philosophical psychology. Written after she opposed the decision by the. . .

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News source: OUPblog » Philosophy

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