Hugh Binning

(1627—1653) philosopher and Church of Scotland minister

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Hugh Binning was born on the family estate of Dalvenan. He suffered from ill health throughout his life and finally succumbed to consumption in September 1653 at the age of twenty-six. He was buried in his churchyard at Govan. Hugh was the son of John Binning and Margaret McKell (or M'Kail) whose brother, Hugh M'Kail, was uncle to the Scots worthy of the same name. By the time of his admission to Glasgow University at the age of thirteen, Binning had already distinguished himself in both personal and academic terms – as a school student he was widely perceived to be pious, of remarkable academic ability in general and, in particular, he excelled in the study of Latin. At Glasgow Binning maintained that reputation throughout his study of philosophy under the tutelage of (among others) James Dalrymple (later Viscount Stair) and took his MA on 27 July 1646. Binning's plans to pursue a career in the ministry thereafter were interrupted as a consequence of James Dalrymple's resignation that year – Glasgow Presbytery supported Binning's candidacy for the vacant chair. Despite initial opposition from the university principal, Dr John Strang, Binning was selected for ‘trials’ along with two other candidates. These succeeded in eliminating one of Binning's rivals. Binning's reputation as a formidable opponent in debate secured the withdrawal of the other. As a result, Binning was appointed Professor of Philosophy at Glasgow University in November 1646, at eighteen years of age.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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