Famous 19th Century British Philosophers

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 1 Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell
8
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 18, 1872
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales
Died: February 2, 1970

Bertrand Russell was a British polymath and Nobel laureate. His work, which is spread across various fields, has had a considerable influence on philosophy, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, mathematics, linguistics, and logic. Russell is also credited with leading the revolt against idealism in Britain and is regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.

 2 John Stuart Mill

John Stuart Mill
6
Famous As: Philosopher, Economist, Politician
Birthdate: May 20, 1806
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pentonville, London, England
Died: May 8, 1873
Nineteenth-century philosopher John Stuart Mill is best remembered for his work On Liberty, which spoke of personal freedom and "the harm principle.” His The Subjection of Women was one of the first works written by a male author that promoted women's rights. He supported Jeremy Bentham's ethical utilitarianism.

 3 Jeremy Bentham

Jeremy Bentham
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 15, 1748
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Houndsditch, London, England
Died: June 6, 1832
Philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham is remembered as the pioneer of modern utilitarianism. He believed in economic freedoms, women’s rights, animal rights, the separation of the church and the state, and freedom of expression. Bentham wished for his body to be dissected and then to be displayed as an auto-icon.
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 4 George Boole

George Boole
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Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher, Logician
Birthdate: November 2, 1815
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England
Died: December 8, 1864

George Boole is remembered for pioneering Boolean algebra, a tool used in digital computer circuits. More of a self-taught mathematician, Boole began teaching at 16 and later grew up to be a math professor at Queen’s College, Cork. His work in differential equations and algebraic logic was groundbreaking.

 5 Samuel Coleridge

Samuel Coleridge
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: October 21, 1772
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ottery St Mary, Devon, Great Britain, United Kingdom
Died: July 25, 1834

Samuel Coleridge was an English poet, philosopher, theologian, and literary critic. He is credited with co-founding the Romantic Movement in England along with his friend William Wordsworth. Despite struggling from bouts of depression and anxiety throughout his adult life, Samuel Coleridge had a major influence on American transcendentalism and writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 6 Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 27, 1820
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Derby, Derbyshire, England
Died: December 8, 1903

Herbert Spencer was the man behind the expression “survival of the fittest,” after reading Charles Darwin's iconic work On the Origin of Species. The British anthropologist, sociologist, and philosopher introduced the concept of Social Darwinism, which applied the theory of evolution to societies and social classes.

 7 Joseph Priestley

Joseph Priestley
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Famous As: Discoverer of Oxygen
Birthdate: March 24, 1733
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Birstall, England
Died: February 6, 1804

Best remembered for his contribution to the chemistry of gases, Joseph Priestley was an English scientist, clergyman, political theorist and educator, who has been credited with discovering oxygen independently, publishing his findings before Carl Wilhelm could. A prolific writer, he has authored 150 works on various subjects including electricity. He also contributed immensely to the advancement of political and religious thoughts.

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 8 Alfred North Whitehead

Alfred North Whitehead
3
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
Birthdate: February 15, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ramsgate, Kent, England
Died: December 30, 1947

Alfred North Whitehead was a British mathematician and philosopher, best known for his collaboration with his student Bertrand Russell on Principal of Mathematics, a three-volume work on the foundations of mathematics. Also known for his pioneering works on process philosophy and metaphysics, he is credited with developing a comprehensive metaphysical system that differs from most Western philosophies.

 9 Henry Cavendish

Henry Cavendish
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Famous As: Natural philosopher
Birthdate: October 10, 1731
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nice, France
Died: February 24, 1810

English natural philosopher, scientist, and a prominent experimental and theoretical physicist and chemist Henry Cavendish is best-remembered for his discovery of hydrogen and his Cavendish experiment. He first recognized that hydrogen, which he termed inflammable air, is a discrete substance which produces water on combustion. He conducted the Cavendish experiment to measure and produce a value for Earth’s density.

 10 Houston Stewart Chamberlain

Houston Stewart Chamberlain
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 9, 1855
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Southsea, Portsmouth,, England
Died: January 9, 1927

 11 Harriet Martineau

Harriet Martineau
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Famous As: First female sociologist
Birthdate: June 12, 1802
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England
Died: June 27, 1876

Regarded by many as the first female sociologist, Harriet Martineau was a prominent 19th-century social theorist, classical economist, and intellectual who penned the iconic work The Positive Philosophy of Auguste Comte. She was partially deaf and had lost her sense of taste and smell in childhood.

 12 E. H. Carr

E. H. Carr
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Famous As: Historian, Journalist, Diplomat, Writer, Political scientist, Professor
Birthdate: June 28, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Died: November 3, 1982

Best known for his 14-volume book A History of Soviet Russia, British historian and diplomat E. H. Carr had been part of the Foreign Office for a long time, before stepping into the academic world. He had also been an assistant editor of The Times and a fellow of both Oxford and Cambridge.

 13 G. E. Moore

G. E. Moore
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 4, 1873
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 24, 1958

English philosopher G. E. Moore was one of the pioneers of analytic philosophy. Best known for his iconic works such as Principia Ethica, he also taught moral science and philosophy. Moore was also a sworn agnostic and was part of the Cambridge Apostles, a secret society of British intellectuals.

 14 Karl Pearson

Karl Pearson
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Famous As: Mathematician, Historian of mathematics, Statistician, Historian, Philosopher, Biographer
Birthdate: March 27, 1857
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London
Died: April 27, 1936

One of the greatest statisticians of all time, Karl Pearson established the first university-level statistics department at UCL and also launched the statistics-oriented journal Biometrika. He was also well-versed in law and believed in eugenics. His The Grammar of Science later inspired Albert Einstein and other scientists.

 15 Edward Carpenter

Edward Carpenter
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Famous As: Poet, Philosopher, Writer
Birthdate: August 29, 1844
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hove
Died: June 28, 1929

 16 Edward B. Titchener

Edward B. Titchener
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Famous As: Philosopher, Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: January 11, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chichester
Died: August 3, 1927

 17 R. G. Collingwood

R. G. Collingwood
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 22, 1889
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cartmel Fell, England
Died: January 9, 1943

 18 Olaf Stapledon

Olaf Stapledon
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 10, 1886
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Seacombe, Wallasey, England
Died: September 6, 1950

British philosopher and sci-fi author Olaf Stapledon had been part of the Friends’ ambulance unit during World War I and had also won the Croix de Guerre. He was initially gearing up for an academic career but stepped into full-time writing after his novel Last and First Men became a success.

 19 Harold Laski

Harold Laski
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Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: June 30, 1893
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: March 24, 1950

Political scientist and Labour Party member Harold Laski later deviated to Communism. Born to a cotton merchant, he studied at Oxford and then taught at Harvard. Remembered for his works such as A Grammar of Politics and Authority in the Modern State, he was also a Zionism supporter.

 20 George Henry Lewes

George Henry Lewes
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 18, 1817
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England
Died: November 30, 1878

 21 Owen Barfield

Owen Barfield
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Famous As: Philosopher, Writer
Birthdate: November 9, 1898
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London
Died: December 14, 1997

 22 Henry Sidgwick

Henry Sidgwick
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 31, 1838
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Skipton, Yorkshire, England
Died: August 28, 1900

An influential English ethical philosopher and economist of the Victorian era, Henry Sidgwick is perhaps best known for his utilitarian treatise The Methods of Ethics. He promoted higher education of women and co-founded Newnham College. He remained a member of the Metaphysical Society and co-founded and served as first president of the Society for Psychical Research.

 23 William Kingdon Clifford

William Kingdon Clifford
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Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: May 4, 1845
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Exeter, England
Died: March 3, 1879

 24 John Cowper Powys

John Cowper Powys
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 8, 1872
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shirley, England, United Kingdom
Died: June 17, 1963

 25 C.E.M. Joad

C.E.M. Joad
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 12, 1891
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Durham, England
Died: April 9, 1953

 26 Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane

Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane
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Famous As: Statesman
Birthdate: July 30, 1856
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 19, 1928

Richard Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane was a British philosopher, lawyer, and politician. Between 1905 and 1912, he served as the Secretary of State for War and was instrumental in implementing a series of reforms of the British Army called The Haldane Reforms. He also served as the Lord Chancellor twice during his illustrious career. Richard was also an influential writer.

 27 Dugald Stewart

Dugald Stewart
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 22, 1753
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Edinburgh,Scotland
Died: June 11, 1828

Dugald Stewart was a Scottish mathematician and philosopher best remembered for his efforts to popularize the works of Adam Smith and Francis Hutcheson. Considered one of the most prominent personalities of the Scottish Enlightenment, Stewart played a major role in explaining the Scottish Common Sense Realism. Among his students were Sir Walter Scott, Sir Archibald Alison, and Sir James Mackintosh. 

 28 F. H. Bradley

F. H. Bradley
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 30, 1846
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Clapham, England
Died: September 18, 1924

A prominent 19th century English philosopher of the absolute Idealist school and a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, Francis Herbert Bradley was an opponent of the British Empiricist theories and utilitarian trends.  Well-known for his non-pluralistic approach to philosophy, he devoted his life to writing, publishing five books in his lifetime, most significant among them being Appearance and Reality.

 29 Bernard Bosanquet

Bernard Bosanquet
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Famous As: philosopher
Birthdate: July 14, 1848
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Alnwick
Died: February 8, 1923

 30 T. H. Green

T. H. Green
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 7, 1836
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Birkin, England
Died: March 26, 1882

 31 Charles Kay Ogden

Charles Kay Ogden
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Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: June 1, 1889
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Fleetwood, England
Died: March 20, 1957

 32 Samuel Alexander

Samuel Alexander
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 6, 1859
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sydney, Australia
Died: September 13, 1938

Australian-British philosopher Samuel Alexander initially rejected a fellowship at Lincoln College, Oxford, to study experimental psychology instead. He taught at Owens College for most of his life. He is best remembered for the philosophical ideas expressed in his book Space, Time and Deity, and for his interest in metaphysics.

 33 Richard Payne Knight

Richard Payne Knight
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Famous As: Archaeologist
Birthdate: February 11, 1751
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: England
Died: April 23, 1824

 34 Walter Terence Stace

Walter Terence Stace
1
Famous As: Civil Servant
Birthdate: November 17, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 2, 1967

 35 Robert Ranulph Marett

Robert Ranulph Marett
1
Famous As: Ethnologist
Birthdate: June 13, 1866
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Jersey, Channel Islands
Died: February 18, 1943
British ethnologist Robert Ranulph Marett was a proponent of the British Evolutionary School of cultural anthropology. He is noted for his studies of the evolution of moral philosophy and religious beliefs and practices. Marett helped found the Oxford University Anthropological Society in 1999. His major works include The Threshold of Religion, Anthropology as well as Psychology and Folklore.

 36 James Martineau

James Martineau
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 21, 1805
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Norwich, England, United Kingdom
Died: January 11, 1900

 37 John Cartwright

John Cartwright
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Famous As: British politician
Birthdate: September 17, 1740
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Marnham, England
Died: September 23, 1824

Known as the Father of Reform, John Cartwright made significant parliamentary reforms, which later became part of the People’s Charter. An English naval officer, he had also been part of the Seven Years’ War. He also worked for universal suffrage and, in his later life, invested in crop trials and agricultural improvement.

 38 George Stout

George Stout
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 6, 1860
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: South Shields, England
Died: August 18, 1944

 39 Frederick Robert Tennant

Frederick Robert Tennant
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Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 1, 1866
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Burslem, Staffordshire, England
Died: September 9, 1957

 40 Edward Spencer Beesly

Edward Spencer Beesly
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Famous As: Historian, philosopher and positivist
Birthdate: January 23, 1831
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Feckenham, Worcestershire, England
Died: March 7, 1915

 41 Thomas Spencer Baynes

Thomas Spencer Baynes
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 24, 1823
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wellington, England
Died: May 31, 1887

 42 Norman Robert Campbell

Norman Robert Campbell
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: March 7, 1880
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 18, 1949

 43 Henry Longueville Mansel

Henry Longueville Mansel
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 6, 1820
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cosgrove, England
Died: July 1, 1871

 44 Samuel Bailey

Samuel Bailey
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 5, 1791
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dunstable, England
Died: January 18, 1870

After initially working at his father’s business, Samuel Bailey established the Sheffield Banking Company. The 19th-century British philosopher and economist was a significant figure of Utilitarianism and classical liberalism. He wrote extensively on the concept of value and how it is just a state of mind.

 45 Richard Congreve

Richard Congreve
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 4, 1818
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Leamington, England
Died: July 5, 1899

 46 A.C. Ewing

A.C. Ewing
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 11, 1899
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland
Died: May 14, 1973

 47 H.A. Prichard

H.A. Prichard
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 30, 1871
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 29, 1947

 48 Clement Charles Julian Webb

Clement Charles Julian Webb
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Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 25, 1865
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 5, 1954