Donald MacKenzie MacKinnon

(1913—1994) philosopher and theologian

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Donald MacKinnon was born in Oban on 27 August 1913 and died in Aberdeen on 2 March 1994. He was educated at Cargilfield School in Edinburgh, winning a scholarship to Winchester in 1927, and thereafter to New College, Oxford. His first academic appointment was as an assistant in moral philosophy to A.E. Taylor at Edinburgh University (1936–7). He then returned to Oxford as fellow and tutor in philosophy at Keble College (1937–47), during which period he was also responsible for special elementary courses in philosophy for Royal Navy and RAF cadets (1942–5). He was also lecturer in philosophy at Balliol College (1945–7) and Wilde Lecturer in Natural and Comparative Religion (1945–7). In 1947 he was appointed to the Regius Chair of Moral Philosophy at Aberdeen University, where he remained until 1960, when he was elected to the Norris-Hulse Chair of Divinity at Cambridge, also becoming a fellow of Corpus Christi College. Outside the academic world, he was, in the words of his Guardian obituary, ‘a socialist of a confidently Wykehamist variety, a passionate Scot, an Episcopalian who tended to treat the Church of England as an infuriating pantomime’. He retired from Cambridge in 1978 and returned to live in Aberdeen, where he remained, continuing his writing, until his death.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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