Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2013-09-03
September 3: John McTaggart (1866)

It was on this date, September 3, 1866, that British idealist metaphysician John McTaggart was born John McTaggart Ellis in London. The family dropped the name Ellis, so he attended Clifton College, Bristol, and Trinity College, Cambridge, as John McTaggart, studying under Henry Sidgwick and James Ward and taking First Class honors in Moral Sciences […]

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2013-07-05
July 5: Samuel Bailey (1791)

It was on this date, July 5, 1791, that the English philosopher and philanthropist Samuel Bailey was born. He was educated first by his maternal grandfather and then at the Moravian school of Fulneck. He visited America to establish commercial connections, but became distracted by literary pursuits. Back in England he acquired a fortune as […]

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2013-06-21
June 21: Jean-Paul Sartre (1905)

It was on this date, June 21, 1905, that French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris. Through his mother, Anne-Marie Schweitzer, Sartre was a great nephew of medical missionary Albert Schweitzer. He grew up fatherless and was reared by his grandfather, who called him Poulou. Working as a teacher from 1931 to 1945 […]

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2013-04-02
April 2: Camille Paglia (1947)

It was on this date, April 2, 1947, that American author, teacher, and social critic Camille Paglia was born. She was brought up in New York by Italian immigrant parents and spent her earliest days on a farm before her educator-father moved the family to more urban surroundings. Paglia graduated Harpur College at Binghamton University […]

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2013-03-28
March 28: Daniel Dennett (1942)

It was on this date, March 28, 1942, that American philosopher, writer and cognitive scientist Daniel Clement "Dan" Dennett III was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Although a researcher on the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science and the philosophy of biology, Dennett is chiefly known, along with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late […]

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2013-01-12
January 12: James Mark Baldwin (1861)

It was on this date, January 12, 1861, that American philosopher and psychologist James Mark Baldwin was born. He studied theology for a time at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University), but switched to philosophy and taught French and German at Princeton Theological Seminary. Baldwin made important contributions to early psychology, psychiatry, and […]

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2011-11-11
November 11: Joseph McCabe

Joseph McCabe (1867) It was on this date, November 11, 1867, that Freethought writer Joseph Martin McCabe was born in Manchester, the product of Protestant East Anglians and Irish Catholic stock. He was named Joseph, after the saint, because he was, from infancy, promised to the priesthood. He entered the priesthood at age 16 and […]

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2011-11-07
November 7: Albert Camus

Albert Camus (1913) It was on this date, November 7, 1913, that French existentialist philosopher Albert Camus was born in Mondovi, Algeria. Camus studied philosophy with the idea of teaching it, but also discovered theater and journalism, working at those endeavors full time by 1938. In World War Two (1941) he joined the French Resistance […]

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2011-10-30
October 30: John Adams

John Adams (1735) It was on this date, October 30, 1735, that the second president of the United States, John Adams, was born in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard, where he first intended to study for the orthodox ministry, but the reality of orthodoxy sobered him and he turned to the law. […]

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2011-10-18
October 18: Henri Bergson

Henri Bergson (1859) It was also on this date, October 18, 1859, that French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson was born in Paris, in the Rue Lamartine, not far from the Opera House. His heritage was a blend of a prominent Jewish family from Poland and Irish stock on his mother's side. Bergson spent most of his […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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This Week in Freethought History (April 28-May 4)

Read about fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett, ye Age of Chivalry, George Washington, the churches vs. working people, Catherine the Great of Russia, Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg, Darwin’s Bulldog, and more …



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