Nature 155, 231-231 (24 February 1945) | doi:10.1038/155231b0

Chair of Logic and Metaphysics at Edinburgh: Prof. A. D. Ritchie


IN inviting Prof. A. D. Ritchie, at present professor of philosophy in the University of Manchester, to succeed Prof. Kemp Smith, the electors have shown a courageous readiness to avoid too rigid an adherence even to a tradition so firmly established, for Prof. Ritchie, who has accepted the invitation, is as much a man of science as a philosopher. They may, indeed, be renewing the tradition. Sir William Hamilton, among his many pre-professorial activities, had studied medicine and had qualified for the Bar. Superficially, however, there is something like a break in the tradition. Prof. Ritchie’s principal, philosophical books are about scientific method and the natural history of mind. His other book deals with the comparative physiology of muscular tissue. His fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, was earned for his work in chemistry, and he was a lecturer on chemical physiology in Manchester before succeeding J. L. Stocks in the chair of philosophy there. Some may think that first-hand acquaintance with the inferences of experimental science, accompanied by writing upon its general theory, is the best possible preparation for the teaching of logic. As for philosophy in a wider sense, including metaphysics, Prof. Ritchie’s varied articles upon many themes, religion and sociology among them, give ample evidence of his interest and capacity. He began, too, in a very favourable environment, his father, D. G. Ritchie, professor of logic in the University of St. Andrews, though he died rather young, being still gratefully remembered as the most brilliant writer among Scottish philosophers at about the turn of the century.