Elizabeth “Old Man” Anscombe

Elizabeth “Old Man” Anscombe

Limerick, County Limerick, Ireland
Death 5 Jan 2001 (aged 81)
Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Burial Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Plot 5D??
Memorial ID 96738617 · View Source
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Elizabeth Anscombe (full name: Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe) was an analytic philosopher. She was a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein's and became an authority on his work. She edited and translated many books drawn from his writings, above all his Philosophical Investigations. She wrote on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, philosophical logic, philosophy of language, and ethics. Her 1958 article "Modern Moral Philosophy" introduced the term "consequentialism" into the language of analytic philosophy; this and subsequent articles had a seminal influence on contemporary virtue ethics. Her monograph 'Intention' is generally recognized as her greatest and most influential work, and the continuing philosophical interest in the concepts of intention, action and practical reasoning can be said to have taken its main impetus from this work.

As Wittgenstein's student Anscombe introduced the term 'consequentialism' into the language of analytical, moral philosophy in modernity in 1958. During this time, Anscombe was a Fellow at the University of Oxford, and was very vocal in debates against atomic warfare, denouncing Truman as a mass murderer for his use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

She died of kidney failure in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, on 5 January 2001. She was survived by her husband and their seven children. Her funeral mass took place on 20 January in the Dominican chapel in Buckingham Road, Cambridge. There was a memorial service on 24 February in the Church of the English Martyrs, Cambridge, at which the homily was given by the Cardinal–Archbishop of Armagh.

She was married to the late Peter Geach, FBA, 29 March 1916 – 21 December 2013, a fellow member of the Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club.

Wittgenstein gave her the nickname 'Old Man'; she learned German in order to be able to translate his work. She is buried near him.

Note: "she was famous for her style, for being the keeper of Wittgenstein's legacy, and for the skin-tight ski pants in which she walked around the city and delivered her lectures" (contributed by someone who saw her in Cambridge).


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  • Created by: Martin Douglas Packer
  • Added: 8 Sep 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 96738617
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elizabeth “Old Man” Anscombe (18 Mar 1919–5 Jan 2001), Find a Grave Memorial no. 96738617, citing Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge, City of Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England ; Maintained by Martin Douglas Packer (contributor 47912178) .