Johnson, Samuel

Johnson, Samuel
American philosopher. A symptomatic figure rather than an independently important philosopher, Johnson was born in Connecticut and taught at Yale. He was instrumental in founding the university of Pennsylvania and Columbia university. His career shows a gradual evolution from narrow New England Calvinism, under the impact of Locke, Newton, and above all Berkeley, with whom Johnson became friendly during the latter's visit to Rhode Island. Johnson became an enthusiastic immaterialist, and defender of free will, tempering the harsh doctrine of predestination even to the point of joining the Church of England. See also plenitude, principle of.
The famous English man of letters and author of the Dictionary of the English Language is to be distinguished from the American of the same name. It is the English Johnson whose response to Berkeley was to kick a stone, saying ‘I refute him thus ’, thereby revealing a complete misunderstanding of Berkeley's thought. Johnson's analytical capacities in philosophy (‘we know our will is free, and there's an end on’t’) did not match the intensity of his moral and religious wrestlings, and his conviction that the infidel Hume could not have died in tranquillity is an unattractive instance of someone projecting his own fear of extinction onto others. However, his definition of a lexicographer as a harmless drudge is a consolation to his many followers.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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  • Johnson,Samuel — Johnson, Samuel. Known as “Dr. Johnson.” 1709 1784. British writer and lexicographer. The leading literary figure in the second half of the 18th century, he wrote Dictionary of the English Language (1755) and Lives of the Poets (1779 1781). * * * …   Universalium

  • Johnson, Samuel — known as Dr. Johnson born Sept. 18, 1709, Lichfield, Staffordshire, Eng. died Dec. 13, 1784, London British man of letters, one of the outstanding figures of 18th century England. The son of a poor bookseller, he briefly attended Oxford… …   Universalium

  • Johnson, Samuel — (1709 1784)    The son of a poor bookseller of Lichfield, Staffordshire, he was educated at the local grammar school and from 1728 to 1731 at Pembroke College, Oxford, but poverty forced him to leave without graduating. He started working for… …   British and Irish poets

  • Johnson, Samuel — (1709–94)    Literary Figure.    Johnson is famous in the history of English literature for his Dictionary of the English Language and as the subject of James Boswell’s biography. He was a highly influential writer in his own time. He was born in …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Johnson, Samuel — ► (1709 84) Literato inglés, llamado Doctor Johnson. Autor del Diccionario de la lengua inglesa (1747 55) y Rasselas (1759). * * * llamado Dr. Johnson (18 sep. 1709, Lichfield, Staffordshire, Inglaterra–13 dic. 1784, Londres). Literato británico …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • JOHNSON, SAMUEL —    the great English lexicographer, born in Lichfield, the son of a bookseller; received his early education in his native town and completed it at Pembroke College, Oxford, in 1728; in 1736 he married a widow named Porter, who brought him £800;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • JOHNSON, Samuel — (1709 1784)    English ESSAYIST, man of letters and defender of CHRISTIANITY against DEISM and other criticisms of his age …   Concise dictionary of Religion

  • Johnson, Samuel — 1) (1649 1703)    Political writer, sometimes called the Whig to distinguish him from his great namesake. Of humble extraction, he was ed. at St. Paul s School and Camb., and took orders. He attacked James II. in Julian the Apostate (1682), and… …   Short biographical dictionary of English literature

  • Johnson, Samuel Waite — SUBJECT AREA: Land transport, Railways and locomotives [br] b. 14 October 1831 Bramley, Leeds, England d. 14 January 1912 Nottingham, England [br] English locomotive engineer, designer of Midland Railway s successful compound locomotives. [br]… …   Biographical history of technology

  • Johnson, Samuel Curtis — ▪ 2005       American business executive (b. March 2, 1928, Racine, Wis. d. May 22, 2004, Racine), served for more than 30 years, until 2000, as head of S.C. Johnson & Son, a company founded by his great grandfather in 1886. Under his guidance… …   Universalium

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