Mr David Braine

Mr David Braine

Honorary Research Fellow


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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.

Further Info

Selected Publications


  • The Reality of Time and the Existence of God, OUP, 1988
  • The Human Person: Animal and Spirit, University of Notre Dame Press, 1992, Duckworth,          1993, University of Notre Dame Press, paperback edition (revised), 1994
  • Language and Human Understanding: The Roots of Creativity in Speech and Thought, Catholic University of America Press (forthcoming)

Joint Works:

  • Medical Ethics and Human Life, with appendix by Anthony Schmitz, 1983, Palladio
  • Ethics, Technology and Medicine, ed. (with Harry Lesser), Avebury,1988

Papers in Metaphysics:

  • 'The Nature of Knowledge', Proc. Arist. Soc. 72, 1971-2
  • 'Varieties of Necessity', Proc. Arist. Soc., Suppl. Vol.46,1972

Papers in the Philosophy of Mind:

  • Article on ‘Knowledge and Belief’ in The Encyclopedic dictionary of psychology, ed  Rom Harré and Roger Lamb, 1983
  • Reply to David Cockburn's Discussion, Religious Studies, 1994
  • 'The Active and Potential Intellects: Aquinas as a Philosopher in his own right' in Mind, Metaphysics, and Value in the Thomistic and Analytical Traditions, ed. John    Haldane, University of Notre Dame Press, 2002
  • ‘Life and Human Life: their Nature and Emergence’ in The Missing Link – A Symposium on Darwin’s Framework for a Creation-Evolution Solution, ed. Roy Varghese, University of America Press (forthcoming)

Papers in Ethics:

  • 'Why Abortion?' in Light in the Darkness, 1981, Unity Press, Mowbray,
  • 'Human animality: its relevance to the shape of ethics', in Ethics, Technology and Medicine, ed. David Braine and Harry Lesser, Avebury, 1988
  • Human life: its secular sacrosanctness' in Ethics, Technology and Medicine, ed. David Braine and Harry Lesser, Avebury, 1988
  • 'The Human and the Inhuman in Medicine; Review of Issues concerning Reproductive Technology', in Moral Truth and Moral Tradition, ed. L. Gormally, Four Courts, Dublin, 1994

Papers in the Philosophy of Religion:

  • 'God, Eternity and Time', Evangelical Quarterly 66, 1994
  • 'Cosmological Arguments', in Philosophy of Religion, ed. Brian Davies, Cassell, 1998.
  • Articles on ‘Grace’, ‘Negative Theology’, and ‘Sacraments’ in Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward Craig, 1998
  • 'Philosophy and Cultures', Reflections on Fides et Ratio, no. 14, English trans. in L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English, 4 August 1999
  • 'Aquinas, God and Being', Analytical Thomism: Traditions in Dialogue, ed. Craig Paterson and Matthew Pugh, Ashgate Publishing Ltd, Aldershot, U.K. 2006

Papers in Theology:

  • 'Observations on the Trinity: a reply to Professor Lochman', Theology, 1976
  • 'The Place of the Virgin Mary in Dogmatics', Scottish Journal of Theology, 1984
  • 'The Inner Jewishness of St John's Gospel as the clue to the Inner Jewishness of Jesus', Studien zum Neuen Testament und Seiner Umwelt, 13, 1988, pp. 101-157
  • 'What Makes a Christology into a Christian Christology?', New Blackfriars 70, 1996
  • 'The Debate Between Henri de Lubac and His Critics', Nova et Vetera, English Edition,Vol. 6, No. 3 (2008): 543–590
  • 'The Virgin Mary in the Christian Faith: The Development of the Church's Teaching on the Virgin Mary in Modern Perspective’, Nova et Vetera, English Edition, Vol.7, No. 4 (2009): 877-940
  • 'Do people of different monotheistic religions worship the same God, and is this the "God of the philosophers"?', New Blackfriars (forthcoming)


  • Review of Anselm's discovery: a re-examination of the ontological proof for God's existence by Charles Hartshorne (La Salle, Open Court Publishing Co., USA, 1965) in Mind, 1968.
  • Review of From Existence to God by Barry Miller (Routledge, London, UK, (1992) in New Blackfriars 75, (1994), pp. 228-30
  • Review of Medicine, Money and Morals by Mark A. Rodwin (OUP, New York, USA, 1993) in Times Higher Education Supplement, Sept 16th, 1994
  • Review of Redirecting Philosophy: Reflections on the Nature of Knowledge from Plato to Lonergan by Hugo A. Meynell, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998 in International Philosophical Quarterly,  40, 2000
  • Review of Aquinas on Being by Anthony Kenny (Oxford University Press, 2002.) in British Journal for the History of Philosophy.  2006, Vol. 14, Issue 2, 346-49
  • Review of The Trinitarian Theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas by Gilles Emery, O.P., trans. by Francesca Aran Murphy (OUP, 2007) in Scottish Journal of Theology 2011, 64, 120-124

Works of interest, never presented for publication:

  • Explanation and Modality, B.Phil. thesis (University of Oxford), 1965
  • Separateness in Aristotle, composed 1966
  • “Infinite Sets”, paper presented to the Interdisciplinary Seminar on the History and Philosophy of Science, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 1968
  • Categories in Aristotle, composed 1967-70
  • “Two Kinds of Critical Philosophy”, paper presented to Société Belge de Logique et de Philosophie des Sciences, Brussels, November 18, 1972
  • “Truth and Definiteness”, paper presented at University of St. Andrews, Scotland, 1976

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