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C. D. Broad (Charlie Dunbar Broad) Biography

(1887–1971), (Charlie Dunbar Broad), Perception, Physics, and Reality, Scientific Thought

British philosopher, born at Harlesden, Middlesex, the son of a wine merchant, educated at Dulwich College and at Trinity College, Cambridge. He began his academic career as a lecturer at the University of St Andrews. After holding a professorship in philosophy at Bristol from 1920 to 1922, he became a fellow and lecturer of Trinity College. He remained at Cambridge, where he was Knightsbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy between 1933 and 1953, until his death. He knew Bertrand Russell as a student and shared his belief in the primacy of scientific reasoning over common sense, a conviction reflected in Perception, Physics, and Reality (1914), Broad's first major work. His reputation rests on his lucid investigations of a remarkable range of philosophical problems and his analytical expositions of the insights of other thinkers; his writing more than justifies his modest claim in Scientific Thought (1923) to possessing ‘the … power of stating things clearly and not superficially’. His controversial interest in psychic phenomena emerged in the course of his examination of the relations between mind and matter in The Mind and Its Place in Nature (1925); his writings on parapsychology are chiefly collected in Religion, Philosophy, and Psychical Research (1953) and Lectures on Psychical Research (1962). The fullest statement of Broad's philosophical position is given in his Examination of McTaggart's Philosophy (two volumes, 19338), which is considered his most important work. The Philosophy of C. D. Broad (edited by P. A. Schilpp, 1959) contains Broad's idiosyncratically revealing ‘Autobiography’ and ‘Reply to Critics’ in addition to essays by twenty-one contributors. His Critical Essays in Moral Philosophy (1971) is edited by D. R. Cheney.

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