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John Cook Wilson (born Nottingham 6 June 1849, died 11 August 1915) was an English philosopher. The only son of a Methodist minister, after Derby Grammar School (attended 1862-1867, he went up to Balliol College, Oxford in 1868, where he read both Classics and Mathematics, gaining a 1st in Mathematical Moderations, 1869, 1st in Classical Moderations, 1870, 1st in Mathematics finals, 1871, and a 1st in Literae Humaniores ('Greats') in 1872. He was, along with H. A. Prichard, one of Oxford's few early twentieth-century philosophers, to have a mathematical background. Wilson became a Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford in 1874. He was Wykeham Professor of Logic and a Fellow of New College, Oxford, from 1889 until his death. H. A. Prichard and W.D. Ross were among his students.
Belonging to a generation brought up in the atmosphere of British idealism, he espoused the cause of direct realism. His posthumous collected papers, were influential on a generation of Oxford philosophers, including H. H. Price and Gilbert Ryle. He also features prominently in the work of J.L. Austin, John McDowell, and Timothy Williamson.
In his inaugural lecture Cook Wilson acknowledged that his deepest intellectual debts were to his mathematics tutor at Balliol, Henry Smith, to his Balliol philosophy tutor, T.H. Green, and to the classicist Henry Chandler.
Cook Wilson often argued the existence of God as an experiential reality, quoted saying "We don't want merely inferred friends, could we be satisfied with an inferred God?" He also had a long running dispute with Lewis Carroll over the Barber Shop Paradox.
Cook Wilson's classical contributions should not be overlooked : 'On rearrangements of the Fifth Books of the Ethics' (1879), 'On the Structure of the Seventh Book of the Nicomachean Ethics, ch. i - x (1879); 'On the Interpretation of Plato's Timaeus' (1889); 'On the Geometrical Problem in Plato's Meno' (1903) and others.
Cook Wilson married a German woman, Charlotte Schneider, in 1876. They had no children.
For more information, see Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cook_Wilson .
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