James Finlayson was born in Dunblane, Perthshire on 15 February 1758 and died in Edinburgh on 28 January 1808. He entered Glasgow University in 1772, studying logic under James Clow, moral philosophy under Thomas Reid and natural philosophy under John Anderson. From Glasgow he went into private tutoring, and for a time served also as amanuensis to Anderson. In 1782 he joined a landed family (Murray of Ochtertyre), whose sons attended school in Edinburgh in the winter seasons. Finlayson took the opportunity to study divinity at Edinburgh University at the same time; he was licensed to preach in 1785, and ordained minister of Borthwick in 1787. He had been additionally attending the logic lectures of John Bruce. After graduating MA from Edinburgh in 1787 he was immediately named joint professor with Bruce, acquiring the chair in his own right when Bruce left to go into political service five years later.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.