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Edward Caird

Edward Caird
Caird while a professor at the University of Glasgow
Born23 March 1835
Greenock, Scotland
Died1 November 1908
Oxford, England
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
Era19th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolBritish idealism[1]
InstitutionsMerton College, Oxford
Academic advisorsBenjamin Jowett
Main interests
Philosophy of religion
Notable ideas
The relation of evolutionary theory to the development of thought and culture[1]

Edward Caird FRSE FBA (/kɛərd/; 23 March 1835 – 1 November 1908) was a Scottish philosopher. He was a holder of LLD, DCL, and DLitt.


Caird as caricatured by Spy (Leslie Ward) in Vanity Fair, April 1895.

The younger brother of the theologian John Caird, he was the son of engineer John Caird, the proprietor of Caird & Company,[2] born at Greenock in Renfrewshire, and educated at Greenock Academy and the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford (B.A. 1863). He was a Fellow and Tutor of Merton College from 1864 to 1866.[3][4]: xxxvi 

In 1866, he was appointed to the Chair of Moral Philosophy at Glasgow, which he held until 1893. In that year he became Master of Balliol College, from which he retired in 1907. In 1894 he was made an Honorary Fellow of Merton College.[3]

He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1900.

In May 1902 he was at Carnavon to receive the honorary degree D.Litt. (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Wales during the ceremony to install the Prince of Wales (later King George V) as Chancellor of that university.[5]

He was a founder member of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Association for Women's Suffrage,[6] alongside his wife, Caroline.

The philosopher John Watson was among his pupils at the University of Glasgow.[7]

He died in Oxford on 1 November 1908 and was buried there in St Sepulchres Cemetery.[8]

Caird was a Hegelian idealist and was an important contributor to the British idealist movement.[9][10]: 121 


He married Caroline Frances Wylie in 1867. They had no children.[11]


An extensive bibliography of works by and about Edward Caird has been produced by Prof. Colin Tyler (Centre for Idealism and the New Liberalism at the University of Hull, UK). It can be downloaded at:


  • The Collected Works of Edward Caird, 12 volumes, ed. Colin Tyler, Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1999
  • A Critical Account of the Philosophy of Kant, with an Historical Introduction, Glasgow: J. Maclehose, 1877
  • Hegel, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Co.; Edinburgh: W. Blackwood and Sons, 1883
  • The Social Philosophy and Religion of Comte, Glasgow: J. Maclehose and Sons, 1885; New York: Macmillan, 1885
  • The Critical Philosophy of Immanuel Kant, Glasgow: J. Maclehose and Sons, 1889; New York: Macmillan, 1889 (2 volumes) Volume 1 Volume 2 second edition 1909
  • Essays on Literature and Philosophy, Glasgow: J. Maclehose and Sons, 1892 (2 volumes) Volume 1 Volume 2
  • The Evolution of Religion, Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons, 1893; New York: Macmillan, 1893 (Gifford Lectures 1890–92; I, II)
  • The Evolution of Theology in the Greek Philosophers, Glasgow: J. Maclehose and Sons, 1904 (Gifford Lectures, 1900–02; I, II)
  • Lay sermons and addresses, delivered in the Hall of Balliol College, Oxford (1907)




  1. ^ a b "Edward Caird". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  2. ^ "Former RSE Fellows 1783–2002" (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburgh. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 October 2006. Retrieved 19 September 2010.
  3. ^ a b Levens, R.G.C., ed. (1964). Merton College Register 1900–1964. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. p. 6.
  4. ^ Boucher, D., Geuss, R., & Skinner, Q., eds., The British Idealists (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. xxxvi.
  5. ^ "The Royal visit to Wales". The Times. No. 36759. London. 5 May 1902. p. 10.
  6. ^ King, Elspeth (1978). The Scottish Women's Suffrage Movement / ... compiled by Elspeth King to accompany the Government sponsored 'Right to Vote' exhibition organised to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, from 9th September- 7th October 1978, Peoples Palace Museum, Glasgow Green. Glasgow: People's Palace Museum.
  7. ^ "Gifford Lecture Series – Biography – John Watson". Archived from the original on 14 September 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
  8. ^ C D Waterston; A Macmillan Shearer (July 2006). Former Fellows of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1783–2002: Part 1 (A–J) (PDF). Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 090219884X. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  9. ^ Mander, W. J. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century. Oxford University Press. p. 560. ISBN 978-0-19-959447-4
  10. ^ Brown, Stuart; Collinson, Diane; Wilkinson, Robert. (1996). Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers. Routledge. p. 121. ISBN 0-415-06043-5
  11. ^ Anon., Who was Who: A Companion to "Who's Who" (London: A & C Black, 1967), p. 111.


Academic offices Preceded byBenjamin Jowett Master of Balliol College, Oxford 1893–1907 Succeeded byJames Leigh Strachan-Davidson
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Edward Caird
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