Aristotelian Society

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The Aristotelian Society for the Systematic Study of Philosophy, more generally known as the Aristotelian Society, was founded at a meeting on 19 April 1880, at 17 Bloomsbury Square[1] which resolved "to constitute a society of about twenty and to include ladies; the society to meet fortnightly, on Mondays at 8 o'clock, at the rooms of the Spelling Reform Association…"[2]

Amongst other things, the rules of the Society stipulated:

The object of this Society shall be the systematic study of philosophy; 1st, as to its historical development; 2nd, as to its methods and problems.

According to H. Wildon Carr, in choosing a name for the society, it was:

"essential to find a name which would definitely prescribe the speculative character of the study which was to be the Society's ideal, and it seemed that this could best be secured by adopting the name of a philosopher eminently representative. There is only one such name in the history of philosophy and so we became the Aristotelian Society, not for the special study of Aristotle, or of Aristotelianism, but for the systematic study of Philosophy."[3]

The Society's first president was Mr. Shadworth H. Hodgson. He was president for fourteen years from 1880 until 1894, when he proposed Dr. Bernard Bosanquet as his replacement.

Professor Alan Willard Brown [2] noted in 1947 that '[The Society]'s members were not all men of established intellectual position. It welcomed young minds just out of university as well as older amateur philosophers with serious interests and purposes. But many distinguished men were faithful members, and not the least virtue of the society has remained, even to the present day, the opportunity it affords for different intellectual generations to meet in an atmosphere of reasoned and responsible discussion.'."[4]

The Society continues to meet fortnightly at the University of London's Senate House to hear and discuss philosophical papers from all philosophical traditions. The current President is, Adrian Moore a Professor of Philosophy at University of Oxford.[5]

Its other work includes giving grants to support the organisation of academic conferences in philosophy, and, with Oxford University Press, the production of the 'Lines of Thought' series of philosophical monographs.

Its annual conference, organised since 1918 in conjunction with the Mind Association (publishers of the philosophical journal Mind), known as the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association, is hosted by different university departments in turn in July each year.


The first edition of the Society's proceedings, the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society for the Systematic Study of Philosophy, now the Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, was issued in 1888.

The papers from the invited speakers at the Joint Session conference are published in the June of each year (i.e., prior to the joint conference) in The Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volume.ISSN 0066-7374

The Proceedings and the Supplementary Volume are published by the Society and distributed by Wiley-Blackwells.

The entire back run of both journals has been digitised by JSTOR.

List of current and past presidents

Many significant philosophers have served the Society as its president:


  1. Five individuals attended this meeting: Mr. F. G. Fleay, Dr. Alfred Senier (1853-I918) (later Professor of Chemistry in the University of Galway), Mr. Herbert Burrows, Mr. Edward Clarkson, and Mr. Alfred Lowe (Carr, 1928-1929, pp.360).
  2. Carr (1928-1929), pp.360.
  3. Carr (1928-1929), pp.361.
  4. Brown (1947), p.249.
  5. [1], Aristotelian Society website


  • Brown, A.W., "The Metaphysical Society: Victorian Minds in Crisis, 1869-1880" New York: Columbia University Press (1947)
  • Carr, H.W., "The Fiftieth Session: A Retrospect", Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Vol.29, (1928-1929), pp. 359–386.

External links