G. E. M. Anscombe was born in 1919 and studied Classics at St Hugh’s College, Oxford (1936-41). After graduating, Anscombe held a studentship at Newnham College, Cambridge (1942-5), before returning to Oxford for a research fellowship at Somerville College (1946-7). She remained at Sommerville until 1970, when she became Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge. She retired in 1986 and died in 2001. Anscombe was married to fellow-Catholic and philosopher Peter Geach, with whom she had seven children.

Anscombe is best known for her essay ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’ and her monograph Intention, both of which are foundational texts in their respective domains – ‘Modern Moral Philosophy’ for virtue ethics and Intention for philosophy of action. She translated Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. In 1956 she protested Oxford’s decision to award an honorary degree to Harry S. Truman on the grounds that he was guilty of mass murder.

We’ve done our best to make sure this lifeline is accurate and complete. Please let us know if you spot any errors or omissions.


Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (1919-2001)

(18 March) Born to Gertrude Elizabeth Anscombe and Allen Wells Anscombe in Limerick, Ireland

Graduates from Sydenham High School. From there, she goes on to St. Hugh’s College, Oxford where she studies Classics and Philosophy. She graduates in 1941 with first-class honours


Publication: ‘The Justice of the Present War Examined. A criticism based on traditional Catholic principles and on natural reason’ (pamphlet). With Norman Daniel

Married philosopher Peter Geach, with whom she has seven children

Becomes a Research Student at Newnham College, Cambridge

Accepts Research Fellowship at Somerville College, Oxford

Publication: ‘A Reply to Mr. C. S. Lewis’s Argument that Naturalism is Self-Refuting,’ The Socratic Digest, 4

Publication: ‘The Reality of the Past’ in Max Black (ed.), Philosophical Analysis: A Collection of Essays (New York: Cornell University Press).

Publication: ‘Note on the English Version of Wittgenstein’s Philosophiche Untersuchungen,’ Mind, 62(248), 521-522

Publication: ‘Symposium: The Principle of Individuation’ (with Jan Lukasiewicz and Karl Popper). Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, 27, pp. 69-120

Publication: Philosophical Investigations, by Ludwig Wittgenstein (edited & translated by GEM Anscombe (Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: Descartes: Philosophical Writings, translated and edited with Peter Geach (London: Nelson)

Publication: ‘Misinformation: What Wittgenstein Really Said, The Tablet

Publication: Wittgenstein, Remarks on the Foundation of Mathematics,translated and edited with G. H. von Wright and Rush Rhees (Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: ‘Mr Truman’s Degree’ (pamphlet)

Publication: ‘Aristotle and the Sea Battle: De Interpretatione, Chapter IX,’ Mind, 65 (257), pp. 1-15

Publication: ‘Analysis Competition—Tenth “Problem,”’ Analysis, 16(6)

Publication: Intention(Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: ‘Intention,’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 57(1), pp. 321-332

Talk: ‘Does Oxford Moral Philosophy Corrupt the Youth?’ The Listener

Publication: ‘Report on Analysis ‘Problem’ No. 10,’ Analysis, 17(3), pp. 49-52

Publication: ‘Names of Words. A Reply to Dr. Whiteley,’ Analysis, 18(1), pp.17-9

Publication: ‘Symposium: Pretending’ (with J. L. Austin), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volumes, 32, pp. 261-94

Publication: ‘Modern Moral Philosophy,’ Philosophy, 33(124)

Publication: ‘On Brute Facts,’ Analysis, 18(3), pp. 69-72

Publication: An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus(London: Hutchinson University Library Press)

Publication: ‘Mr. Copi on Objects, Properties and Relations in the Tractatus,’ Mind, 68(271), p. 404

Publication: Wittgenstein, Notebooks 1914-1916. Translated and edited with G. H. von Wright (Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: Three Philosophers. With Peter Geach (Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: ‘War and Murder’ in Walter Stein (ed.), Nuclear Weapons: A Catholic Response(London)

Publication: Plato: The Sophist & The Statesman. Edited with Raymond Klibansky. (London: Nelson)

Publication: ‘Authority in Morals’ in J. M. Todd (ed), Problems of Authority(London: Darton, Longman & Todd)

Publication: ‘On Sensations of Position,’ Analysis, 22(3), pp. 55-8.

Publication: ‘A critical note of Semantic Analysis, by Paul Ziff’, Mind, 72(286), pp. 288-93

Publication: ‘Two Kinds of Error in Action’, The Journal of Philosophy, 60(14), pp. 393-401

Appointed a teaching Fellowship at Somerville College

Publication: ‘Before and After,’ The Philosophical Review, 73(1), pp. 3-24

Publication: ‘Substance’ (with J. Körner), Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume, 38(1), pp. 69-90.

Publication: ‘Thought and Action in Aristotle. What is Practical Truth?’ in Renford Bambrough (ed), New Essays on Plato and Aristotle(London: Routledge and Kegan Paul)

Publication: ‘The Intentionality of Sensation. A Grammatical Feature’ in R. J. Butler (ed), Analytical Philosophy – Second Series(Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: ‘Contraception and Natural Law,’ New Blackfriars, 46(540), pp. 517-21

Publication: ‘Retractation,’ Analysis, 26(2), pp. 33-6

Publication: ‘A Note on Mr. Bennett,’ Analysis, 26(6), p. 208

Publication: ‘The New Theory of Forms,’ The Monist, 50(3), pp. 403-20

Became a Fellow of the British Academy.

Publication: Wittgenstein, Zettel. Translated and edited with G. H. von Wright (Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: ‘Who is Wronged? Philippa Foot on “Double Effect”: One Point,’ The Oxford Review, 5, pp. 16-7

Publication: ‘On the Grammar of ‘Enjoy’,’ The Journal of Philosophy, 64 (19), pp. 607-14

Publication: ‘You Can have Sex without Children: Christianity and the New Offer’ in L. K. Shook (ed), Renewal of Religious Structures: Proceedings of the Canadian Centenary Theological Congress(Toronto)

Publication: Wittgenstein, On Certainty. Translated with Denis Paul and edited with G. H. von Wright (Oxford: Blackwell).

Publication: ‘On Promising and its Justice, and Whether it Need be Respected in Foro Interno,’ Critica, 3(7/8), pp. 61-83

Publication: ‘Parmenides, Mystery and Contradiction,’ Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 69, pp. 125-32

Publication: ‘Causality and Extensionality,’ The Journal of Philosophy, 66(6), pp. 152-9

Moves to Cambridge University, as Chair of Philosophy. She remains there until her retirement in 1986

Publication: Causality and Determination. An Inaugural Lecture(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Publication: ‘Contraception and Chastity,’ The Human World

Publication: ‘On the Nature of Justice in a Trial’ (with J. Feldman), Analysis, 33(2), pp. 33-6

Publication: ‘Hume and Julius Caesar,’ Analysis, 34(1), pp. 1-7

Publication: ‘Comment on Professor R. L. Gregory’s Paper’ in S. C. Brown (ed), Philosophy of Psychology(London: Macmillan)

Publication: ‘Memory, “Experience” and Causation’ in H. D. Lewis (ed.), Contemporary British Philosophy: Personal Statements Fourth Series(London: Allen and Unwin).

Publication: ‘Times, Beginnings and Causes,’ Proceedings of the British Academy, 60

Publication: ‘Transubstantiation’ (pamphlet) for the Catholic Truth Society(London)

Publication: ‘Comment’ in Stephan Körner (ed), Practical Reason(Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: ‘“Whatever Has a Beginning of Existence Must Have a Cause”: Hume’s Argument Exposed,’ Analysis, 34(5), pp. 145-51

Publication: ‘The First Person’ in Samuel Guttenplan (ed.), Mind and Language: Wolfson College Lectures 1974(Oxford: Clarendon Press)

Publication: ‘Subjunctive Conditionals,’ Ruch Filozoficzny, 33

Publication: ‘Soft Determinism’ in Gilbert Ryle (ed), Contemporary Aspects of Philosophy(London: Oriel Press)

Publication: ‘The Question of Linguistic Idealism’ in J. Hintikka (ed.), Essays on Wittgenstein in Honour of G.H. von Wright(Acta Philosophica Fennica)

Publication: ‘The Subjectivity of Sensation,’ Ajatus(Yearbook of the Philosophical Society of Finland), 36

Publication: ‘On the Hatred of God,’ Theology, 79, pp. 131-2

Publication: ‘On Frustration of the Majority by Fulfilment of the Majority’s Will,’ Analysis, 36 (4), pp. 161-8

Publication: ‘On the Source of the Authority of the State,’ Ratio, 20 (1), pp.1-28

Publication: ‘Will and Emotion,’ Grazer Philosophische Studien, 5, pp. 139-48

Publication: ‘Rules, Rights, and Promises,’ Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 3(1), pp. 318-23

Elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Publication: ‘Chisholm on Action,’ Grazer Philosophische Studien, 7/8, pp. 205-13

Publication: ‘What is it to Believe Someone’ in C. F. Delaney (ed.), Rationality and Religious Belief (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press)

Publication: ‘On Humanae Vitae’ in J. N. Santamaria and J. J. Billings (eds), Human Love and Human Life. Papers on Humanae Vitae and the Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning from the International Conference, University of Melbourne, 1978 (Melbourne: Polding Press)

Publication: ‘Understanding Proofs: Meno, 85d9-86c2, Continued, Philosophy, 54(208), pp. 149-58

Publication: ‘Under a Description,’ Noûs, 13(2), pp. 219-33

Publication: ‘Prolegomenon to a Pursuit of the Definition of Murder: The Illegal and the Unlawful,’ Dialectics and Humanism, 6(4), pp. 73-77

Publication: Review of J. Teichman, The Meaning of Illegitimacy, The Philosophical Quarterly, 29(117), pp. 375-376

Publication: From Parmenides to Wittgenstein: The Collected Philosophical Papers of G.E.M. Anscombe: Volume One (Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind. The Collected Philosophical Papers of G.E.M. Anscombe: Volume Two (Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: Ethics, Religion and Politics. The Collected Philosophical Papers of G.E.M. Anscombe: Volume Three (Oxford: Blackwell)

Publication: ‘A Theory of Language’ in Irving Block (ed.), Perspectives on the Philosophy of Wittgenstein (Massachusetts: MIT Press)

Publication: ‘Commentary 2’ [on ‘Ethical problems in the management of some severely handicapped children,’ by John Harris], Journal of Medical Ethics, 7(3), pp. 122-3

Publication: ‘Medalist’s Address: Action, Intention and “Double Effect”’, Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, 56, pp. 12-25

Publication: ‘On the Notion of Immaterial Substance’ in M. L. O’Hara (ed.), Substance and Things: Aristotle’s Doctrine of Physical Substance in Recent Essays (Washington, D.C: University Press of America)

Publication: ‘Opening Address’ and ‘On Private Ostensive Definitions’ in W. Leinfellner, E. Kraemer and J. Schank (eds), Language and Ontology: Proceedings of the 6th Inter­national Wittgenstein Symposium (Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky)

Publication: ‘Morality’ in C. Marneau (ed.), Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, pp.16-18

Publication: Review of Gareth B. Matthews, Philosophy and the Young Child. In Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 43(2), pp. 265-267

Publication: ‘The Causation of Action’ in Carl Ginet and Sydney Shoemaker (eds), Knowledge and Mind: Philosophical Essays (Oxford University Press)

Publication: ‘Sins of Omission? The Non-Treatment of Controls in Clinical Trials’ (with Michael Lockwood), Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume, 57, pp. 207-227

Publication: ‘Some Reminiscences of Wittgenstein from Littlewood’s Papers per Dame Mary Cartwright,’ The Cambridge Review

Publication: ‘Has Mankind One Soul … An Angel Distributed through Many Bodies?’ (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press).

Publication: ‘Were You a Zygote?’ in A. Phillips Griffiths (ed.), Philosophy and Practice (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Publication: ‘Paganism, Superstition and Philosophy,’ The Thoreau Quarterly, 17

Publication: ‘Why Anselm’s Proof in the Proslogion is not an Ontological Argument?’ The Thoreau Quarterly, 17

Publication: Review of Saul Kripke, Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language. In Ethics, 95(2), pp. 342-352

Publication: ‘Aquinas Lecture 1984: Truth: Anselm or Thomas?’New Blackfriars, 66(776), pp. 82-97

Publication: ‘Knowledge and Reverence for Human Life’ in Russell Hittinger (ed), Linking the Human Life Issues (Chicago: Regnery Books)

Publication: ‘Gradualness in a Law, and a Law of Gradualness,’ Anthropos, 2

Publication: ‘Descartes and Anselm’ in Essays on Philosophy and Logic: Proceedings of the XXXth Conference on the History of Logic, Dedicated to Roman Suszko

Publication: ‘The Presidential Address: Existence and Truth, ’Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 88, pp. 1-12

Publication: ‘The Simplicity of the Tractatus,’ Critica, 21

Publication: ‘von Wright on Practical Inference’ in Paul Arthur Schilpp and Lewis Edwin Hahn (ed), The Philosophy of Georg Henrik von Wright (Open Court)

Publication: ‘Why Have Children?’ Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, 63, pp. 48-53

Publication: ‘Truth, Sense and Assertion, or: What Plato should have told the Sophists’ in Ewa Zarnecka-Bialy (ed.), Logic Counts(Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers), pp. 43-6

Publication: ‘A Comment on Coughlan’s “Using People”’, Bioethics, 4(1), p. 62

Publication: ‘On a Queer Pattern of Argument’ in H. A. Lewis (ed.), Peter Geach: Philosophical Encounters (Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers)

Publication: ‘Wittgenstein, Whose Philosopher?’ in A. P. Griffiths (ed.) Wittgenstein: Centenary Essays. Royal Institute of Philosophy Philosophy Supplement, 28 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press)

Publication: Reviews of Ruth Chadwick, Ethics, Reproduction and Genetic Control; and Michael Coughlan, The Vatican, the Law and the Human Embryo. In The Philosophical Quarterly, 42(166), pp. 126-129

Publication: ‘On Wisdom,’ Acta Philosophica, 2 (1), pp. 127-133

Publication: ‘Causality and Determination’ in. Ernest Sosa and Michael Tooley (eds), Causation (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Publication: ‘Knowledge and Essence’ in Josep-Maria Terricabras (ed.), A Wittgenstein Symposium, Girona, 1989, (Amsterdam: Rodopi)

Publication: ‘The Origin of Plato’s Theory of Forms’ in Robert W. Sharples (ed), Modern Thinkers and Ancient Thinkers. The Stanley Victor Keeling Memorial Lectures at University College, London, 1981-1991 (London: UCL Press)

Publication: ‘Russelm or Anselm?’ The Philosophical Quarterly, 43(173), pp. 500-504

Publication: Review of P. F. Strawson, Analysis and Metaphysics. In The Philosophical Quarterly, 44(177), pp. 528-530

Publication: ‘Cambridge Philosophers II: Ludwig Wittgenstein,’ Philosophy, 70(273), pp. 395-407

Publication: ‘Practical Truth,’ Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, 2(3), pp. 68-76

Publication: ‘Making True’ in Roger Teichmann (ed), Logic, Cause and Action: Essays in Honour of Elizabeth Anscombe. Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 1-8

Publication: ‘Grammar, Structure and Essence,’ Arete, 12(2), pp. 113-120

Publication: ‘Whatever has a beginning of existence must have a cause’ in Brian Davies (ed), Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

(5 January) Died, in Cambridge. 


Sarah Lewin (31/10/16)

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.