Mackinnon, Donald M.

Biography: Philosopher and theologian. Born Oban, Argyll, 1913. Educated at Cargilfield School, Edinburgh 1921-6, Winchester College 1926-31 and New College, Oxford 1931-5, graduated in Greats and theology. Assistant to A.E. Taylor in moral philosophy at Edinburgh University, 1936-7. Here he met his future wife, Lois Dryer, whom he married in 1939. Having won the John Locke scholarship, he became fellow and tutor at Keble College, Oxford 1937-47, and held the Wilde lectureship in natural and comparative religion 1945-7. He volunteered for war service in 1939, but was turned down on medical grounds, and went on to teach philosophy throughout the war to naval and air force cadets. He also assisted Jewish refugee scholars during the war. Appointed regius chair in moral philosophy, Aberdeen University, 1947-60. Took up the Norris-Hulse chair of divinity in Cambridge, 1960-76, whilst holding a concurrent fellowship at Corpus Christi. President of the Aristotelian Society, 1976-7. President of the Society for the Study of Theology, 1981-2. Fellow of the British Academy, 1978. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1984. Mackinnon's thought was "generally at odds with the times", and he had an "imperious if eccentric style". This made him a popular speaker, essayist and radio broadcaster. He dominated Cambridge theology for about 15 years, being well read in most areas of theology and biblical scholarship. He engaged with continental and Marxist philosophy, travelling frequently to Europe. After retiring from Cambridge in 1976, he taught at St Andrews for one session before returning to Aberdeen, where he became a well-known figure in and around King's College. Awarded honorary degrees by the universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Stirling. He died in March 1994 after a sudden heart attack.

Biography Date: 1913-94

Biography References: DNB;


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