David Bostock (philosopher)

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David Bostock (born 1936) is a British philosopher and an Emeritus Fellow of Merton College, Oxford.

Merton College, Oxford college of the University of Oxford

Merton College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England. Its foundation can be traced back to the 1260s when Walter de Merton, chancellor to Henry III and later to Edward I, first drew up statutes for an independent academic community and established endowments to support it. An important feature of Walter's foundation was that this "college" was to be self-governing and the endowments were directly vested in the Warden and Fellows.


Origins, education and career

Bostock was one of four children of Edward and Alice Bostock. He was educated at Amesbury School in Hindhead, Surrey, and at Charterhouse School, [1] before undertaking his National Service as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Surrey Regiment. [2] Having read Literae Humaniores at St John’s College, Oxford, and after stipendiary posts at Leicester University (1963), the Australian National University at Canberra (1964) and Harvard University (1967), Bostock served as a Fellow and Tutor in philosophy at Merton College, Oxford between 1968 and his retirement in 2004.

Amesbury School is a co-educational independent prep school in the Hindhead/Haslemere area of Surrey, England, educating pupils between the ages of 2 and 13. It was founded in 1870. The Grade II*-listed main building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and stands on a 34-acre (140,000 m2) estate. The Head is Sheina Wright.

Hindhead village in the English county of Surrey

Hindhead is a village in Surrey, England. It is the highest village in Surrey, with buildings at between 185 and 253 metres above sea level. It is best known as the location of the Devil's Punch Bowl, a beauty spot and site of special scientific interest, and as the site of the Hindhead crossroads, a formerly notorious congestion spot, where the A3 between Portsmouth and London was crossed by the A287 between Hook and Haslemere. The A3 now passes under Hindhead in the Hindhead Tunnel and its route along the Punch Bowl has been removed and landscaped, but the crossroads still exists for local traffic.

Surrey County of England

Surrey is a subdivision of the English region of South East England in the United Kingdom. A historic and ceremonial county, Surrey is also one of the home counties. The county borders Kent to the east, East and West Sussex to the south, Hampshire to the west, Berkshire to the northwest, and Greater London to the northeast.


Bostock has written extensively on a range of philosophical issues, with particular focus on ancient philosophy. His publications include:

Phædo or Phaedo, also known to ancient readers as On The Soul, is one of the best-known dialogues of Plato's middle period, along with the Republic and the Symposium. The philosophical subject of the dialogue is the immortality of the soul. It is set in the last hours prior to the death of Socrates, and is Plato's fourth and last dialogue to detail the philosopher's final days, following Euthyphro, Apology, and Crito.

The Theaetetus is one of Plato's dialogues concerning the nature of knowledge, written circa 369 BCE.

<i>Metaphysics</i> (Aristotle) work by Aristotle

Metaphysics is one of the principal works of Aristotle and the first major work of the branch of philosophy with the same name. The principal subject is "being qua being," or being insofar as it is being. It examines what can be asserted about any being insofar as it is and not because of any special qualities it has. Also covered are different kinds of causation, form and matter, the existence of mathematical objects, and a prime-mover God.


In 1961 Bostock married, first, Jenny Lawton (died 1996), by whom he has two children, Timothy and Penelope. In 2002 he married, secondly, Rosanne, the daughter of Colonel Atherton George ffolliott Powell. [3]

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  1. Roland Bostock, David Bostock (1936), Genealogy of the Bostock and Bostwick Families (accessed on 17 December 2018)
  2. Supplement to the London Gazette, 28 August, 1956, at page 4911
  3. Michael Race, Rosanne Bostock, The Oxford Times, 6 April 2017