J. H. Muirhead

John Henry Muirhead (28 April 1855 – 24 May 1940) was a British philosopher best known for having initiated the Muirhead Library of Philosophy in 1890. He became the first person named to the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham in 1900.

John Henry Muirhead
Born28 April 1855
Died24 May 1940
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolBritish idealism


Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Muirhead was educated at Gilbertfield House School, the Glasgow Academy (1866–70), and proceeded to Glasgow University, where he was deeply influenced by the Hegelianism of Edward Caird, the Professor of Moral Philosophy. He graduated MA in 1875. The same year he won a Snell exhibition at Balliol College, Oxford, to which he went up in Trinity Term 1875. His Library was originally published by Allen & Unwin and continued through to the 1970s. His Library is seen as a crucial landmark in the history of modern philosophy, publishing a number of prominent 20th century philosophers including Ernest Albee, Brand Blanshard, Francis Herbert Bradley, Axel Hagerstrom, Henri Bergson, Edmund Husserl, Bernard Bosanquet, Irving Thalberg, Jr., Georg Wilhelm Hegel, Bertrand Russell and George Edward Moore. In 2002, the Library was made available in a 95 volume set (ISBN 0-415-27897-X).

Muirhead was a philosophical idealist and was involved in the British idealist movement.[1][2]

Selected bibliography


  1. Grayling, A. C; Pyle, Andrew. (2006). The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy, Volume 1. Thoemmes Continuum. p. 2666. ISBN 978-1843711414
  2. Mander, W. J. (2011). British Idealism: A History. Oxford University Press. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-19-955929-9
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