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Mary Warnock, née Helen Mary Wilson, was the youngest of seven siblings. Her father was a housemaster and German teacher at Winchester College who died before she was born. Mary was brought up by her mother, who never remarried, at Kelso House in Winchester. She was educated at St. Swithun's, an Anglican school, and then won a scholarship to Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford University, where she graduated with a First degree in 1948. In 1949, she married Geoffrey Warnock, a philosopher, with whom she had five children. She taught philosophy at St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, from 1949 to 1966. She served as headmistress of the Oxford High School from 1966 to 1972 and as Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge, from 1984 to 1991. Mary Warnock chaired two British national committees of inquiry, each of which issued a significant report. The second and most influential was A Question of Life: The Warnock Report on Human Fertilisation and Embryology (1984). She is the author of numerous books on ethics, existentialism, and philosophy of mind, beginning with Ethics Since 1900 (1960); other works include Jean-Paul Sartre (1963), The Philosophy of Sartre (1965), Existentialist Ethics (1967), Schools of Thought (1977), Memory (1987), The Uses of Philosophy (1992), Imagination and Time (1994), An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Ethics (1998), and Making Babies: Is There a Right to Have Children? (2002). She also edited several volumes. In the 1960s, she became a regular philosophy commentator on BBC Radio. She was named a life peer in 1985 as Baroness Warnock of Weeke. Her autobiographical Mary Warnock: A Memoir—People and Places, was published in 2000, and Nature and Morality: Recollections of a Philosopher in Public Life, appeared in 2003.
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