Philippa Ruth Foot (1920-2010)


1920       3 October: Born to Esther Cleveland and Captain William Sidney Bence Bosanquet.


1939       Studied PPE at Somerville College, Oxford. She graduated in 1942, with first-class honours.


1945       Married the historian, Michael Richard Daniell Foot.


1947       Became a lecturer, at Somerville College. She remained there until 1950.


1949       Became Somerville College’s first philosophy Tutorial Fellow.[1]


1952       October: Publication of “The Philosopher’s Defence of Morality,” Philosophy, 27 (103), pp.311-28.


1954       Publication of “Symposium: When Is a Principle a Moral Principle?” (with Jonathan Harrison), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, 28, pp.95-134.

—-         April: Publication of a review of The Interpretation of Plato’s Republic, by N. R. Murphy, Mind, 63 (250), pp.270-4.


1957       April: Publication of a review of Godwin’s Moral Philosophy, by D. H. Monro, Mind, 66, (262), pp.279-80.

—-         October: Publication of “Free Will As Involving Determinism,” The Philosophical Review, 66 (4), pp.439-50.


1958       Publication of “Moral Beliefs,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 59, pp.83-104.[2]

—-         October: Publication of “Moral Arguments,” Mind, 67 (268), pp.502-13.


[Note: at some point in the 1960’s (possibly the late 1960’s), Foot and Iris Murdoch supposedly had a brief affair. They communicated extensively throughout their lifetimes via letters, which are now owned by Kingston University’s Centre for Iris Murdoch Studies]


1960       Divorced.


1961       Publication of “Symposium: Goodness and Choice” (with Alan Montefiore), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, 35, pp.45-80.


1963       Publication of “Hart and Honoré Causation in the Law” (a review of H. L. A. Hart and A. M. Honore’s Causation in the Law), Philosophical Review, 72 (4), pp.505-15.

—-         Publication of “Hume on Moral Judgement” in David Hume: A Symposium, David Pears (ed), (London: MacMillan).


1965       April: Publication of a review of The Varieties of Goodness, by Georg Henrik von Wright, The Philosophical Review, 74 (2), pp.240-4.


1966       February: Publication of “Immoralist” (a review of R.J. Hollingdale’s Nietzsche: The Man and His Philosophy, and Arthur Danto’s Nietzsche as Philosopher), New York Review of Books, 6 (2).


1967       Became Somerville College’s Vice-Principle (until 1969).

—-         Publication of Theories of Ethics, (edited, with intro), (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

—-         Publication of “The Problem of Abortion and the Doctrine of the Double Effect,” Oxford Review,5.

—-         November: Publication of “Self-Reliance” (a review of Hazel E. Barnes’ An Existentialist Ethics), New York Review of Books, 9 (8).


1968       Publication of “Moral Arguments” and “Moral Beliefs” in Ethics, Judith Jarvis Thomson and Gerald Dworkin (eds), (New York: Harper & Row), pp.7-21 and 239-60.


1970       Became Somerville College’s Senior Resident Fellow (until 1988).

—-         Publication of “Abortion” in Morals and Medicine: Five Discussions from the BBC Third Programme, Archibald Clow (ed), (London: BBC).

—-         Publication of “Morality and Art,” Proceedings of the British Academy, 56, pp.131-44.


1971       Summer: Publication of “In Defence of the Hypothetical Imperative,” Philosophic Exchange, 2 (1).


1972       Publication of “Reasons for Action and Desires” (with Michael Woods), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, 46.

—-         July: Publication of “Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives,” The Philosophical Review, 81 (3), pp.305-16.


1973       Publication of “Nietzsche: The Revaluation of Values” in Nietzsche: A Collection of Critical Essays, Robert C. Solomon (ed), (New York).

—-         March: Publication of “Sincerely Yours” (a review of Lionel Trilling’s Sincerity and Authenticity), New York Review of Books, 20 (3).


1974       December: Publication of “Is Morality a System of Hypothetical Imperatives?’: A Reply to Mr. Holmes,” Analysis, 35 (2), pp.53-6.


1975       Publication of “How Good is our Morality,” Encyclopaedia Moderna 10, (Zagreb: Yugoslav Academy of Sciences).

—-         October: Publication of “A Reply to Professor Frankena,” Philosophy, 50 (194), pp.455-9.


1976       Elected a Fellow of the British Academy.

—-         Joined the philosophy department of the University of California. She remained there until her retirement in 1991.


1977       Publication of “Approval and Disapproval” in Law, Morality, and Society: Essays in Honour of H.L.A. Hart, P.M.S. Hacker and J.J. Raz (eds), (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp.229-46.

—-         Winter: Publication of “Euthanasia,” Philosophy and Public Affairs, 6 (2), pp.85-112.


1978       Publication of “Ethics XI: Moral Reasoning” in Encyclopedia of Bioethics, Volume One, Warren T. Reich (ed), (New York: The Free Press).

—-         Publication of Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy, (Oxford: Blackwell).

—-         September: Publication of “The Problem of Abortion and Negative and Positive Duty: A Reply to James LeRoy Smith,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 3 (3), pp.253-5.


1979       October: Publication of “Case Studies in Bioethics: Active Euthanasia with Parental Consent” (with Hunter C. Leake and James Rachels), The Hastings Center Report, 9 (5), pp.19-21.


1980       May: Publication of “The Brave Immoralist” (a review of Martin Heidegger’s Nietzsche Volume One: The Will to Power as Art, Harold Alderman’s Nietzsche’s Gift and J. P. Stern’s Friedrich Nietzsche), New York Review of Books, 27 (7).


1981       June: Publication of “Killing, Letting Die and Euthanasia: A Reply to Holly Smith Goldman,” Analysis, 41 (3), pp.159-60.

—-         July: Publication of “William Frankena’s Carus Lectures,” The Monist, 64 (3), pp.305-12.

—-         September: Publication of “Goods and Practices” (a review of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory), Times Literary Supplement.[3]


1982       Became President of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association.

—-         Autumn: Publication of “Think Tank” (a review of Robert Nozick’s Philosophical Explanations), Partisan Review, 49 (4), pp.609-12.

—-         November: Publication of “For Lack of a Rationale” (a review of Samuel Scheffler’s The Rejection of Consequentialism: A Philosophical Investigation of the Considerations Underlying Rival Moral Conceptions), Times Literary Supplement.[4]


1983       Became a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science.

—-         April: Publication of “Peacocke on Wittgenstein and Experience,” The Philosophical Quarterly, 33 (131), pp.187-91.

—-         July: Publication of “Moral Realism and Moral Dilemma,” The Journal of Philosophy, 80 (7), pp.379-98.

—-         November: Publication of “Utilitarianism and the Virtues,” Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 57 (2), pp.273-83.


1984       Publication of “Killing and Letting Die” in Abortion: Moral and Legal Perspectives, Jay L. Garfield and Patricia Hennessey (eds), (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press).


1985       Publication of “Morality, Action and Outcome” in Morality and Objectivity: A Tribute to J.L. Mackie, Ted Honderich (ed), (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul), pp.23-38.

—-         April: Publication of “Utilitarianism and the Virtues” [an expanded version of the 1983 publication, of the same name], Mind, 94 (374), pp.196-209.

—-         July: Publication of “Knowing What to Do” (a review of Bernard Williams’ Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy), Times Literary Supplement.[5]


1986       August: Publication of “Life and Death” (a review of James Rachel’s The End of Life, A. B. Downing and Barbara Smoker’s Voluntary Euthanasia, and Michael Lockwood’s Moral Dilemmas in Moral Medicine), London Review of Books, 8 (14), pp.3-5.


1988       Appointed the first holder of the Paul and Gloria Griffin Chair in philosophy.

—-         Became an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College.


1989       Publication of “von Wright on Virtue” in The Philosophy of Georg Henrik von Wright: The Library of Living Philosophers Volume XIX, Lewis Edwin Kahn and Paul Arthur Schilpp (eds), (Open Court).


1990       Publication of “Ethics and the Death Penalty: Participation by Forensic Psychiatrists in Capital Trials” in Ethical Practice in Psychiatry and the Law, Richard Rosner and Robert Weinstock (eds), (New York: Plenum Press), pp.207-17.

—-         Publication of “Locke, Hume, and Modern Moral Theory: A Legacy of Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Philosophies of Mind” in The Languages of Psyche: Mind and Body in Enlightenment Thought: Clark Library Lectures 1985-1986, G. S. Rousseau (ed), (Berkeley: University of California Press), pp.81-104.


1991       Retired from teaching.

—-         June: Publication of “Nietzsche’s Immoralism,” New York Review of Books, 38 (11).


1992       Invited to give the Gilbert Murray Memorial Lecture to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Her topic was “Justice and Charity.”


1993       Publication of Morality and Action: Collected Papers of Warren Quinn, (edited, with intro), (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).           


1994       Publication of “Rationality and Virtue” in Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook, Herlinde Pauer-Studer (ed), 2, pp.205-16.


1995       Publication of “Conscience” and “Fact-Value Distinction” in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, Ted Honderich (ed), (New York: Oxford University Press).

—-         Publication of “Moral Dilemmas Revisited” in Modality, Morality and Belief: Essays in Honor of Ruth Barcan Marcus, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Diana Raffman and Nicholas Asher (eds), (New York: Cambridge University Press), pp.117-28.

—-         Publication of “Does Moral Subjectivism Rest on a Mistake,” Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 15 (1), pp.1-14.


2001       Publication of “Nietzsche: The Revaluation of Values” in Nietzsche, John Richardson & Brian Leiter (eds), (New York: Oxford University Press), pp.210-20.


2002       Publication of Moral Dilemmas: and Other Topics in Moral Philosophy, (Oxford: Oxford University Press).


2003       Publication of “The Natural,” The Philosophers’ Magazine, 21, pp.40-3.

—-         Publication of “The Grammar of Goodness: an Interview with Philippa Foot” (with Alex Voorhoeve), Harvard Review of Philosophy, 11, pp.32-44.


2004       March: Publication of “Rationality and Goodness,” Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplements, 54, pp.1-13.


2010       3 October: Death.



Sarah Lewin (26/10/16)

[1] Note that some sources say 1950; I’m not sure which is correct.

[2] Official date of publication is 1958-9.

[3] This might want double-checking as I cannot access the archive online.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.


My name is Sarah Lewin. Last year, during my final year of study for a BA in Philosophy at Durham, I was fortunate enough to begin working on the In Parenthesis project, as a Research Associate. My fundamental task was to compile comprehensive timelines for each of the women studied by the project: Mary Midgley, Philippa Foot, Elizabeth Anscombe, Iris Murdoch and Mary Warnock. These timelines aimed to chronicle all the significant life events and philosophical publications of the women, as well as any details of their interactions with one another. As straightforward as this task initially sounded, compiling the timelines proved to be much more challenging than anticipated. Each of the women were incredibly prolific, with Mary Midgley in particular producing 4-5 philosophical essays and reviews each month, from the early 1970’s, until present. The other four women had similarly staggering bibliographies to contend with, and many hours were spent consolidating this information into cohesive chronologies. Ultimately, I wanted to make the timelines as accurate as possible, and spent a great deal of time tracing each publication back to its original source, in order to ensure that all the bibliographical information presented in my work was correct. Despite being challenging, it was an absolute pleasure to have the opportunity to research these incredible women, and to gain an insight into both their personal, and academic lives. Perhaps the greatest pleasure of all was hearing that Mary Midgley herself had read my chronicle of her life and works, and was able to add a few personal details that were not available through any amount of research. This additional input from Midgley ensures that her completed timeline offers a significantly comprehensive biographical account, and I am confident that the other four timelines are similarly illuminating, and accurate. Above all, the opportunity to do my own research for the In Parenthesis project has really confirmed to me that philosophy is something I would love to continue pursuing. This year I will be returning to Durham to do an MA in philosophy, and my work on the project has undoubtedly been a great factor in the success of my application. I’ve also been very fortunate to receive a scholarship from Durham University to help cover the tuition fees, and again, I am grateful to the In Parenthesis project for putting me in such a strong position for this award.