Joseph, Horace William Brindley

Joseph (1867-1943) was educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, where he was elected a scholar in 1886, fellow in 1891 and tutor from 1892 until his retirement in 1932 (with the exception of one year in India), when he became supernumerary fellow. He was university lecturer in philosophy (1927-32).

As an undergraduate Harrod attended Joseph's lectures on "Plato, Republic I-IV" and "Justice and Wages", and was tutored by him. Joseph's style, which admirers and detractors alike described as closely knit and complex, led Harrod to frequent disputes with him, although he admitted that his "remorseless logic" was "so cunning indeed". Rowse recollected that "Joseph at New College was celebrated in his day for the inhuman rigour of his logic. [...] Ordinary humans were depressed by it, some given nervous breakdowns", but added that Harrod, Douglas Jay , Herbert Hart and the young Sparrow were among those who had emerged unscathed from the Josephian mincing machine. In Harrod's view, Joseph's "philosophy was intellectually defective and may even have set up in his pupils habits of incorrect thinking about practical matters"; nevertheless, "he was concerned with the ultimate problems confronting mankind, and the mere fact that undergraduates have been induced to dwell upon these problems gave them a sort of moral stuffing and a sense of purpose in life thereafter."

See list of letters .

Source: www ; DNB ; A. H. Smith , "Horace William Brindley Joseph 1967-1943", in Proceedings of the British Academy, vol. xxxi, 1945; A. L. Rowse, A Man of the Thirties (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979), pp. 114-115; Harrod, The Prof. (1959), p. 64. Harrod's notes on Joseph's lectures are in HP V-19 and HP V-12, respectively; Bowra's recollection of the disputes between Harrod and Joseph is cited in note 2 to letter 8 R; Harrod's own contemporary comments are in letters 8 R, 10 R, 12 R. The remark on the remorseless logic is in R. F. Harrod, "Alic Halford Smith (1883-1958)", The Oxford Magazine 77, 6 November 1958, p. 76.


Pictures: Joseph lecturing, and in New College, 1932 (in the left). Courtesy of New College, Oxford.

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