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Timothy L. S. Sprigge Archive

Identifier: Coll-1154

Scope and Contents

The Sprigge collection of papers at E2008.47 is composed of:

  1. - curriculum vitae, life-diary (key events), and unpublished papers including 'What I believe'
  2. - photographs
  3. - obituaries
  4. - letters from philosophers, 1967-2003
  5. - copy of Ph.D thesis: 'The limits of morals defined'
  6. - Spinoza - lecture notes - adult education/extra-mural
  7. - references/works by others on Sprigge
  8. - reviews of Sprigge's work
  9. - journals and off-prints

There are other substantial lecture notes too, on:

  1. - William James, including lecture given at Birkbeck
  2. - Santayana
  3. - F. H. Bradley
  4. - Descartes
  5. - truth
  6. - ontology
  7. - philosophy of animal rights, and animal rights
  8. - idealism
  9. - semi-popular themes

The Sprigge collection of papers at E2009.24 is composed of:

  1. - 'The vindication of absolute idealism' - typescript and corrections
  2. - correspondence - William James; F. H. Bradley
  3. - material relating to Thomas Aikenhead
  4. - correspondence, 1960-1998
  5. - 'Ontology of the past: Whitehead - Santayana
  6. - Roslin
  7. - book chapters - The god of Spinoza; Spinozism and religion
  8. - notebooks - Truth, belief and objectivity; Concept of god
  9. - assorted notes and correspondence
  10. - Professor Green and Mr. Grey
  11. - Spinoza on god and nature
  12. - conferences - poster for University of Edinburgh 7-9 July 2009. The metaphysics of consciousness. A conference in honour of T.L.S.Sprigge (1932-2007); programme for Philosophical Society of England conference 27 June 2009. Reflections on ethics, religion and metaphysics

An additional small tranche of papers is at E2009.28, and is composed of:

  1. - photographs
  2. - letters, undated, and 1971-1999
  3. - assorted papers, one of which is a piece on 'Private languages...'

Contained in the tranche at E2009.40 is the following:

  1. - edited chapters of 'The Phenomenology of Thought'
  2. - unedited manuscript of the 'Thought book', being 'The Phenomenology of Thought', including notes for the main statement, the 'substitution view' which is the central chapter, and the main bulk of the unedited ms
  3. - disks containing text of the 'Thought book'
  4. - disks containing text of the 'God book'


  • Creation: 1960-2009

Language of Materials


Biographical / Historical

Timothy Lauro Squire Sprigge was born in London on 14 January 1932. His father, Cecil Jackson Squire Sprigge (1896-1959), was the chief correspondent for Reuters in Italy between 1943 and 1953. The elder Sprigge translated some of the work of Benedetto Croce, the Italian philosopher, and also wrote biographies of Croce and Karl Marx. The younger Sprigge attended Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, between 1952 and 1959. He had studied English and then transferred to Moral Sciences. He spent the last two years of his studies and research for a Cambridge Ph.D. at University College London (UCL) where in 1959 he worked on the manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham. In 1961 he submitted his dissertation entitledThe limits of morals definedand was awarded the degree of Ph.D. (Cantab).

On 4 April 1959, Sprigge married Giglia Gordon.

In 1961 Sprigge took up a post as a temporary Lecturer in Philosophy at UCL, and later on in the 1960s was a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sussex where he became Reader in 1970. From 1979 and for the next ten years he held the Chair of Logic and Metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh. Between 1989 and 1997 he was Emeritus Professor at Edinburgh University, and Endowment Fellow. After 1997 he was Emeritus Professor and Honorary Fellow.

Sprigge was President of the Aristotelian Society, 1991-1992, and in 1993 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His publications include:Facts, words and beliefs(1970),Santayana: an examination of his philosophy(1974),The vindication of absolute idealism(1983),The rational foundations of ethics(1987),James and Bradley: American truth and British reality(1993), and, as Advisory Editor,Metaphysics: the classic readings(2000).

Sprigge's own philosophy combined elements from Spinoza, Hegel, William James, and Francis Herbert Bradley. It 'emphasises the reality of the absolute, the larger unity that binds us together'.

Professor Timothy L. S. Sprigge died aged 75 on 11 July 2007.


11 boxes

Physical Location

E2008.47; E2009.24; E2009.28; E2009.40

Papers of Timothy L. S. Sprigge (1932-2007)
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379