John Watkins was born in Woking on 31 July 1924 and died while sailing on the Salcombe Estuary on 26 July 1999. He was educated at the Royal Naval College Dartmouth, and entered the regular Navy in 1941, being awarded a Distinguished Service Cross for sinking a German destroyer in 1944. After demobilization, he studied at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Political Science (BSc(Econ) with first class honours, 1948) and Yale University (MA, 1950). He was assistant lecturer, later lecturer in government at the LSE, then reader in the history of philosophy and, from 1966 until his retirement in 1989, Professor of Philosophy at the University of London. He edited the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science and was Head of the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method. He worked in the philosophy of science and of social science, on human freedom, and on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes. His lifelong service to the LSE was marked by the dedication, in 2003, of the John Watkins Plaza near the LSE library. He and his wife Mickey had four children.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.