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Donald MacKinnon (1913–94)

Brian Hebblethwaite

Subject Religion » Christianity

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics theology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405135078.2009.00067.x


Donald MacKenzie MacKinnon, moral philosopher and philosopher of religion, was born in Oban, Argyll. He went, as a scholar, to Winchester College, from which a further scholarship took him to New College, Oxford, where he read Litterae Humaniores and Theology, graduating in 1935. His first academic appointment was as assistant in Moral Philosophy to Professor A. E. Taylor at Edinburgh University. During this time he met his future wife, Lois Dryer, daughter of a Church of Scotland minister. They married in 1939 and the marriage lasted until MacKinnon's death. He himself had become a High Episcopalian, but she remained a Presbyterian, and this ecumenical partnership was reflected in MacKinnon's work and concerns throughout his life. In 1937, MacKinnon was appointed Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy at Keble College, Oxford, where he soon established a formidable reputation as teacher and eccentric. The regard in which he was already held by fellow Oxford philosophers is evident from his being invited by J. L. Austin and Isaiah Berlin, along with Stuart Hampshire of All Souls, to join the informal group which they had formed the previous academic year for regular philosophical discussion. MacKinnon held the Wilde Lectureship in Natural and Comparative Religion during his last two years in Oxford. In 1947 he moved to Aberdeen as Regius Professor of Moral Philosophy. After 13 years in ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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