James Fordyce

(1720—1796) Church of Scotland minister and moralist

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David Fordyce (1711—1751) university teacher and writer on education




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James Fordyce was born towards the end of 1720 in Aberdeen, and died on 1 October 1796. He was the son of George Fordyce of Broadford, who had twenty children. A number of his brothers (e.g. David Fordyce) achieved eminence in their professions. James attended Aberdeen High School, then trained for the ministry at Marischal College, Aberdeen and was licensed on 23 February 1743. He took his MA from Aberdeen in 1753 and was appointed to the parish of Alloa the same year. His eloquence as a preacher led the University of Glasgow to confer a DD upon him. Like many other Aberdonians, he found the prospect of London irresistible, and he was called to be minister of the Presbyterian congregation in Monkwell Street in 1760. Here he met large numbers of the London literati, and he published his most significant books during this period. He gave up his clerical duties as a result of ill health in 1782 and lived in Hampshire and Bath until his death. His wife, Henrietta Cummyng, whom he married in 1771, lived on until 1823.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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