William Henry Walsh was born in Leeds and died in Oxford. He was educated at Bradford and Leeds grammar schools. In 1932 he gained a classical exhibition at Merton College, Oxford, with which he would have a lifelong connection. Highlighting his successful undergraduate career, there was a first in honour moderations and the Gaisford Greek Prose Prize in 1934, and a first in literae humaniores (‘Greats’) in 1936, a year which also saw him win a junior research fellowship. Gifted in both history and philosophy, and influenced by his famous tutor, G.R.G. Mure, Walsh eventually turned to the history of philosophy, and to Kant, Hegel and the British idealists in particular. After serving in the Royal Corps of Signals from 1940 to 1941 and in the Foreign Office from 1941 to 1945, Walsh was briefly a lecturer in philosophy at University College, Dundee in 1946. The following year he returned to Merton College as fellow and tutor in philosophy and lecturer at the University of Oxford, where he remained until 1960. In 1960 he became Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh. There he was instrumental in restructuring the rigid separation of the study of logic and metaphysics from moral philosophy, strengthening the teaching of logic, placing a greater emphasis on tutorials, and expanding the number of postgraduate students and programmes of graduate work. At the University of Edinburgh he also served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1966–8) and as one of the University's three Vice-Principals (1975–9). Upon retiring in 1979 from the University of Edinburgh as professor emeritus, Walsh returned to Oxford as emeritus fellow of Merton College.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.