Francis Ogston

(1803—1887) expert in forensic medicine

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Francis Ogston was born in Aberdeen in July 1803 and died there on 25 September 1887. He was the third son of Alexander Ogston, a soap manufacturer, and was educated locally, first at Aberdeen Grammar School and then at the city's Marischal College where, in 1821, he obtained his MA. Subsequently, he read medicine at Edinburgh University. Ogston's thesis was published at Edinburgh in 1824 and he graduated MD that year. Thereafter, he spent some time travelling and studying in Europe before returning to Aberdeen, where he quickly established a flourishing medical practice. By 1827 Ogston taught chemistry on a private basis in Aberdeen and, in 1831, was appointed police surgeon for the city. In 1839 he was appointed Lecturer in Medical Jurisprudence (in his own terms ‘legal medicine’) at his first university, Marischal College. The success of his appointment is measured by the fact that Ogston's lectureship was subsequently converted into a professorial chair. On 26 August 1857 Alexander Henderson of Caskieben bequeathed the sum of £1,000 to Marischal College to establish a Chair of Medical Logic and Medical Jurisprudence there. Henderson believed that the medical profession had been discredited by the poor logical skills of its practitioners and hence argued that ‘a course of instruction in medical logic’ ought to form ‘an essential branch of the medical curriculum’ which might be ‘advantageously conjoined with medical jurisprudence’ (Fasti Academiae Mariscallanae Aberdonensis, vol. 1, p. 529). Henderson specified that the chair be held first by Ogston. Royal sanction for the chair, and Ogston's appointment to it, was given by Queen Victoria on 30 October 1857. Both Ogston and the chair were conserved when, in 1860, Marischal College and King's College were merged under the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1858 to form the University of Aberdeen.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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