Geoffrey Warnock

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Sir Geoffrey Warnock
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford
In office
ChancellorThe Earl of Stockton
Preceded bySir Rex Richards
Succeeded byThe Lord Neill of Bladen
Personal details
Geoffrey James Warnock

(1923-08-16)16 August 1923
Leeds, England
Died8 October 1995(1995-10-08) (aged 72)
Axford, Wiltshire, England
Mary Wilson (m. 1949)
Alma materWinchester College
New College, Oxford
Known forPhilosopher and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University

Sir Geoffrey James Warnock (16 August 1923 – 8 October 1995)[1] was a philosopher and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University.[2] Before his knighthood (in the 1986 New Year Honours), he was commonly known as G. J. Warnock.


Warnock was born at Nerike House, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, to James Warnock (1880–1953), a general practitioner from Northern Ireland, and Kathleen (née Hall; 1890–1979); the Warnocks later lived at Grade II-listed[3] Pull Croft, Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire (historically Berkshire).[4][5]

Warnock was educated at Winchester College,[1] he then served with the Irish Guards until 1945, before entering New College, Oxford, with a classics scholarship. He was elected to a Fellowship at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1949. After spending three years at Brasenose College, he returned to Magdalen as a Fellow and tutor in philosophy. In 1970, he was elected to Principal of Hertford College, Oxford (1971–1988), where there is now a society and student house named after him,[6] he was also the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1981 to 1985.[2]

Warnock and his co-editor J. O. Urmson performed an invaluable service to the development of "analytic" or "linguistic" philosophy by preparing for publication the papers of their friend and fellow Oxford linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin.

Warnock married Mary Wilson, a fellow philosopher of St Hugh's College, Oxford, and later Baroness Warnock, in 1949, they had two sons and three daughters.[7][8] He retired to live near Marlborough, Wiltshire, in 1988 and died of degenerative lung disease in 1995[9] at Axford in Wiltshire.


  • Berkeley, Penguin Books, 1953.
  • English Philosophy Since 1900, 1st edition, Oxford University Press, 1958; 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 1969.
  • Contemporary Moral Philosophy (New studies in ethics), Palgrave Macmillan, 1967. ISBN 978-0333048979.
  • The Object of Morality, Methuen, 1971. ISBN 0-416-13780-6.
  • J. L. Austin (The Arguments of the Philosophers), Routledge, 1989.


  1. ^ a b Torrance, John (16 October 1995). "Obituary: Sir Geoffrey Warnock — Obituaries, News". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-12-23.
  2. ^ a b "Previous Vice-Chancellors". University of Oxford, UK. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  3. ^ "British Listed Buildings: Number 53 (Pull Croft) and railings to front". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  4. ^ "Warnock, Sir Geoffrey James". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  5. ^ Wills and Probate 1858-1996, surname 'Warnock', year of death '1954', page 170, Warnock, James, of Pull Croft, Sutton Courtenay, died 4 December 1953, Probate to Kathleen Warnock, widow
  6. ^ Geoffrey Warnock student accommodation Archived 2005-10-01 at the Wayback Machine, Hertford College, Oxford, UK.
  7. ^ "Belief transcript: Mary Warnock interview". archived at the Wayback Machine, 6 February 2007. Archived from the original on 6 February 2007.
  8. ^ "House of Lords". TheyWorkForYou. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Mary Warnock". The Gifford Lectures. Retrieved 22 March 2019.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
George Lindor Brown
Principal of Hertford College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Christopher Zeeman
Preceded by
Sir Rex Richards
Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
Succeeded by
Lord Neill of Bladen