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WATKINS, John William Nevill (1924-1999), philosopher

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0097 WATKINS
Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science
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Full title: WATKINS, John William Nevill (1924-1999), philosopher
Date(s): 1940s-
Level of description: collection
Extent: c780 files
Name of creator(s): Watkins | John William Nevill | 1924-1999 | philosopher


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Watkins was born in Woking, Surrey, training at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, before joining the Navy in 1941; after the war he studied politics at the London School of Economics where he was greatly influenced by reading Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom. After graduation he studied for an MA at Yale University, before returned to the Government Department at LSE to take up a lectureship in political science, transferring to the Philosophy Department as Reader in 1958. He was promoted to Professor in 1966. Watkins retired in 1989 but continued regular attendance at seminars and was an associate for the LSE Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science. Professor Watkins' publications include Hobbes's System of Ideas(1965), Science and Scepticism (1984)and Human Freedom after Darwin (1999) and numerous articles including 'Ideal types and Historical Explanation' (1953), 'Historical Explanation in the Social Sciences' (1957), 'Negative Utilitarianism' (1963), 'Confirmation, the Paradoxes and Positivism' (1964), 'Decision and Belief' (1967) and 'Imperfect Rationality' (1971).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of John Watkins, from the 1940s onwards consisting of an alphabetical series of correspondence files, mainly with other philosophers including Karl Popper, Imre Lakatos and Paul Feyerabend.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Broadly alphabetical, with some unsorted files at the end of the sequence

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Most items can be photocopied, subject to handling and copyright restrictions. No material may be published without the prior permission of both the copyright holder and the Library. All applications for publication must be made to the Archivist in the first instance, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user.

Finding aids:

File list available from Archives staff

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by the family in 2008

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Sources: Copied from LSE Archives CALM database by Anna Towlson

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Apr 2008

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