Honorary Research Fellow
Honorary Research Fellow.
David Braine was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he held a Demyship in Natural Science from 1958-62, obtaining Hon. Mods (Physics) in 1959 and then graduated B.A. Hon. (History) in 1962 (M.A., 1965). From 1962-3 he studied philosophy under C.C.W. Taylor, Geoffrey Warnock and Patrick Gardiner, and as B.Phil. student under Gilbert Ryle, 1963-65, with some study under Elizabeth Anscombe, graduating B Phil. (Oxon) in 1965.
From 1965-89 he was a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen. He was awarded a Gifford Fellowship from 1982-1988. Following complications after his spinal injury of 1977, he took medical retirement in 1989, becoming Honorary Lecturer 1989-2002, and Honorary Research Fellow since 2002. He taught Honours options in Aquinas until 2004.
From 1964 he developed considerable interest in the theory of types and philosophy of mathematics with their implications for the use of language. His studies in the nature of knowledge and the varieties of the ways in which we speak of possibility and necessity (seen in his papers of 1971 and 1972) made him see some consistencies of direction in the apparent vagaries in our use of language. In 1971 and 1975, his encounter with the teaching of Dummett, McDowell and Davidson on language and truth, together with his earlier encounters with Grice, made him increasingly doubtful of the tendencies prevalent in the philosophy of language since the late 1960s. From the mid-1970s he developed a continuing interest in the varied accounts of analogy and of models, alongside his concern with linguistics. These interests together with those in the theory of types and philosophy of mathematics were of particular importance to his books of 1988 and 1992.
Since 1991, his chief engagement has been with language, including a deeper study of Chomsky’s theories of grammar and their functionalist and other rivals. Since 2005, this work has come together in Language and Human Understanding, now forthcoming, a book setting linguistics and psycholinguistics in their proper context in philosophy and logic.
In the meantime, he continues work on the philosophy and theology of Thomas Aquinas, on the Incarnation, and on apologetics, with excursions into the philosophy of mathematics.