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A. A. Luce

A. A. Luce

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Arthur Aston Luce MC
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 (21 August 1882 – 28 June 1977) was professor of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 at Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

 and also Precentor
Precentor
A precentor is a person who helps facilitate worship. The details vary depending on the religion, denomination, and era in question. The Latin derivation is "præcentor", from cantor, meaning "the one who sings before" ....

 of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
Saint Patrick's Cathedral , or more formally, the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Patrick is a cathedral of the Church of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland which was founded in 1191. The Church has designated it as The National Cathedral of Ireland...

 (1952–1973). Throughout his life he held many clerical appointments and was Vice-Provost of Trinity from 1946-1952. He was widely known as an authority on the philosopher George Berkeley
George Berkeley
George Berkeley , also known as Bishop Berkeley , was an Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism"...

. His fellowship of Trinity College from 1912 to 1977 is a record.

Schooling


Luce was born in Gloucester
Gloucester
Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, and on the River Severn, approximately north-east of Bristol, and south-southwest of Birmingham....

 on 21 August 1882. He was the fourth son of the Reverend John James Luce and Alice Luce (née Stubbs). He was educated at Lindley Lodge School and Eastbourne College. He entered Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin
Trinity College, Dublin , formally known as the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin, was founded in 1592 by letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I as the "mother of a university", Extracts from Letters Patent of Elizabeth I, 1592: "...we...found and...

 in 1901. He obtained his BA in 1905, BD in 1908 and MA in 1911.

Early academic work


Luce's earlier work focuses largely on theological matters within Christianity. His academic career was interrupted by World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in which he served with the 12th Royal Irish Rifles. He was awarded the Military Cross
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 in 1917. After the war he published "Monophysitism Past and Present" (1921) which deals with the nature of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 and his relationship to the world. The following year he published his Donnellan Lectures
Donnellan Lectures
The Donnellan Lectures are a lecture series at Trinity College, Dublin, instituted in 1794. The lectures were originally given under the auspices of the School of Hebrew, Biblical and Theological Studies. But since 1987 they have been run on a triennial basis by the Department of Philosophy and are...

 on Henri Bergson
Henri Bergson
Henri-Louis Bergson was a major French philosopher, influential especially in the first half of the 20th century. Bergson convinced many thinkers that immediate experience and intuition are more significant than rationalism and science for understanding reality.He was awarded the 1927 Nobel Prize...

 where he examined issues in psychology and evolution as well as religion.

Work on Berkeley


From the 1930s Luce became interested in the Irish philosopher George Berkeley
George Berkeley
George Berkeley , also known as Bishop Berkeley , was an Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called "immaterialism"...

. Luce felt many of the previous studies of Berkeley were in many ways inadequate and sometimes wrong. His unearthing of new sources on Berkeley as well as better ways of interpreting existing sources guided Luce's work in this direction. Luce stressed the role of the French monk Malebranche
Nicolas Malebranche
Nicolas Malebranche ; was a French Oratorian and rationalist philosopher. In his works, he sought to synthesize the thought of St. Augustine and Descartes, in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world...

 on influencing the thought of the young Berkeley. Prior to Luce's Berkeley and Malebranche (1934) Berkelely had been seen almost solely in the patrimony of John Locke
John Locke
John Locke FRS , widely known as the Father of Liberalism, was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition of Francis Bacon, he is equally important to social...

 and empiricism
Empiricism
Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

.

Berkeley's mature philosophy was given lucid exposition by Luce in his 1945 work "Berkeley's Immaterialism". Along with Thomas Edmund Jessop  he edited The Works of George Berkeley (in nine volumes, 1948–1957).

Luce was not only a Berkeley scholar but came to be a believer in Berkelianism itself. In "Sense without Matter" (1954) Luce attempts to bring Berkeley up to date by modernising the philosophers vocabulary and putting the issues Berkeley faced in today's terms. In this work Luce also treats of the Biblical account of matter (or rather the lack of such an account) and the psychology of perception and nature.

Berkeley's personal reputation among historians and the public was also an area which Luce felt needed correcting and updating. Some studies of Berkeley had contributed to his reputation as a dreamer or a loner who often hid his real views. Luce's "Life of George Berkeley, Bishop of Cloyne" (1949) takes aim at this picture of Berkeley and by careful use of (often new) sources paints a more grounded picture of the man.

Personal


In 1918 Luce married Lilian Mary Thomson with whom he had three children. Tragically his wife and young daughter were drowned in 1940. His original academic work and numerous administrative and clerical appointments earned him a solid local and international reputation. He was regarded as a fine preacher and respected tutor. His hobbies were chess and particularly angling on which he wrote a book ("Fishing and Thinking" 1959) which is regarded highly among anglers: to his freshmen philosophy students, he would muse, "fishing and philosophy: trout and truth!" He died, shortly after an assault, on 28 June 1977.

The Works of A. A. Luce

  • Berkeley and Malebranche. Oxford: 1934.
    Luce, A. A. Berkeley and Malebranche. A Study in the Origins of Berkeley's Thought. New York: Oxford, 1967. Repr. of 1934 ed. with new Preface.
    Luce, A. A. Berkeley and Malebranche - A Study in the Origins of Berkeley's Thought. - READ BOOKS, 2008. ISBN 1443728381 ISBN 9781443728386 (Google Books)
    Download Luce A. A. Berkeley and Malebranche in DjVu and other formats from Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...

  • Berkeley's immaterialism: a commentary on his "A treatise concerning the principles of human knowledge". - London: 1945.
  • with T. E. Jessop. A bibliography of George Berkeley. 2nd. edn. - Springer, 1968. ISBN 9024715776 ISBN 9789024715770
  • The Dialectic of Immaterialism: An Account of the Making of Berkeley's Principles. - London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1963.
  • Fishing and Thinking. Many printings.

Literature

  • A Dictionary of Irish Biography, edited by Henry Boylan, Third Edition, Gill and MacMillan 1998, pp. 226–227.
  • Mccormack. (2001) Blackwell Companion to Modern Irish Culture, Blackwell Publishing. p. 361. ISBN 0-631-22817-9.
  • Luce, John Victor - "A Memoir of A.A. Luce" 1990 Intro. to "Fishing and Thinking" (1993) Ragged Mountain Press pp. 1–7.
  • Bettcher, Talia Mae (Ph. D., California State University) LUCE, Arthur Aston - In: Dictionary of Twentieth Century British Philosophers. Ed by S. Brown. Thoemmes Continuum, 2005. pp. 590–594.
  • McKim, R. Luce's account of the development of Berkeley's immaterialism. - J. of the history of ideas. - Philadelphia, 1987. - Vol. 48. - N 4. - P. 649-669.