Thomas Fowler

(1832—1904) philosopher and college head

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Thomas Fowler was born at Burton Stather in Lincolnshire on 1 September 1832 and died in Oxford on 20 November 1904. His early education was at Hull Grammar School and King William's College on the Isle of Man. But most of his life was spent in Oxford, where he had a long and distinguished career at the university. Fowler's first home in Oxford was Merton College, where he became friends with his fellow undergraduate C.L. Dodgson (Lewis Carroll). In 1854 Fowler gained a double first in mathematics and classics; in the following year he was ordained and moved to Lincoln College as Fellow and tutor. Fowler was a gifted teacher, noted for the excellence of his lectures and individual tutorials, and eventually he would become Wykeham Professor of Logic (1873–89). During his twenty-six years at Lincoln, Fowler took an increasing part in university business. As a member of the Hebdomadal Council and other committees, his was an influential and progressive voice; among the reforms he urged was an increase in the teaching of natural science, and a reduction in the quantity of examinations. In 1881 Fowler was elected President of Corpus Christi College (of which he wrote a notable history), and in 1899 came his final promotion to the Vice-Chancellorship of the university. This last office was particularly burdensome to the ageing Fowler, for it involved him in recruiting among his students for the Boer conflict on behalf of the War Office. Ill-health forced Fowler's retirement in 1901, and on his death he left his estate to the university. His collection of books is now in the care of the Bodleian Library.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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