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Born in Taunton, England, Frederick Copleston received his M.A. from Oxford University and his Ph.D. from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1930 and became an ordained priest in 1937. Throughout his academic career, he remained committed to his Roman Catholic faith, apparent in his writing and his treatment of philosophical issues. Focusing primarily on the history of philosophy, Copleston taught at various universities in England, Italy, and the United States. His published work includes individual volumes on such major philosophers as Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer. He also has written books devoted to particular movements, including logical positivism and existentialism, and has written on particular issues, including the relation of religion to philosophy and the relation of philosophy to culture. Sometimes he has concentrated his attention on specific geographical or social regions; his Philosophy in Russia (1988) reflects this latter approach. Not only has Copleston published numerous monographs, but also his writing has been excerpted and collected in everything from texts of introductory readings to volumes of essays about specialized, technical philosophical issues. Earlier in his career, Copleston sometimes found himself pitted in popular public debates against a famous advocate of atheism, Bertrand Russell. Among beginning philosophers and veterans alike, however, Copleston's most important academic contribution will remain his nine-volume History of Philosophy (1946--74). In his attempt to span the full sweep of Western philosophical development, Copleston starts with the pre-Socratics. In each volume, he devotes several hundred pages to a particular epoch in the history of Western philosophy, explaining dominant, representative figures as well as significant movements and covering each period and line of thought. Generally, Copleston tries to reproduce the actual pattern of argument expressed in the writings of major philosophical figures, offering critical insights throughout the course of his exposition. Copleston's final volume brings his coverage of Western philosophy up through the writings of Jean-Paul Sartre. Copleston's discussions are fair, balanced, and faithful to the original text. His interpretations provide a standard, mainstream understanding of the growth of Western philosophy. Because his understanding of the history of philosophy has been so widely respected for so long, even more advanced philosophers often find themselves checking their grasp of major figures or movements by reference to Copleston's work. (Bowker Author Biography)
— biography from A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1 : Greece and Rome : From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus
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Aquinas 587 copies
A history of philosophy 331 copies, 3 reviews
Séneca 19 copies
Memoirs 17 copies
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[Source: Wikipedia] Frederick Charles Copleston was raised in the Anglican faith—his uncle, Reginald Stephen Copleston, was an Anglican bishop of Calcutta. At the age of eighteen, he converted to the Roman Catholic faith, which caused great stress within his family.

In 1930, Copleston became a Jesuit. After studying at the Jesuit novitiate in Roehampton for two years, he resettled at Heythrop, where in 1937 he was ordained a Jesuit priest at Heythrop College. In 1938 he traveled to Germany to complete his training, returning to Britain just before the outbreak of war in 1939. Copleston originally intended to study for his doctorate at the Gregorian University in Rome, but the war now made that impossible. Instead, he accepted an offer to return to Heythrop College to teach the history of philosophy to the few remaining Jesuits there. Copleston achieved a degree of popularity in the media for debating the existence of God with Bertrand Russell in a celebrated 1948 BBC broadcast; the following year he debated logical positivism and the meaningfulness of religious language with his friend the analytic philosopher A. J. Ayer.

Throughout the rest of his academic career, Copleston accepted a number of honorary roles, including Visiting Professor at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he spent six months each year lecturing from 1952 to 1968.

After officially retiring in 1974, he continued to lecture. From 1974 to 1982, Copleston was Visiting Professor at the University of Santa Clara, and from 1979 to 1981, he delivered the Gifford Lectures at the University of Aberdeen, which were published as Religion and the One. Copleston was offered memberships in the Royal Institute of Philosophy and in the Aristotelian Society.
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