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You Are Here: History of Psychology Centre > History & Research > History of the British Psychological Society > Founder Members > William Boyce Gibson

William Ralph Boyce Gibson (1869-1935)*

W.R. Boyce Gibson, son of the Revd William Gibson, Wesleyan minister, was born in Paris and lived there till he entered Kingswood School, Bath, in 1882. In 1887 he won an open scholarship to Queen’s College, Oxford. Here he had Jeremy Bentham’s old rooms. He studied mathematics 1888-1893, with a view to astronomy. He took a second class and proxime accessit for the Taylorian Scholarship. For a brief period he was mathematics master at Clifton College, and then from 1893 to 1895 was in France and Germany. In Jena he studied with Eucken and Liebmann, and in Paris worked with Emile Boutrollx. For the latter he wrote a treatise on ‘La géométrie de Descartes au point de vue de sa méthode’. This was later published in abridged form in Revue Métaphysique et Morale.

In 1895-97 he studied in Glasgow under Adamson and Henry Jones. During the next decade he was lecturer in logic, psychology and ethics at Hackney, Regent’s Park, Westfield and New Colleges, London. During 1910-11 he was lecturer in philosophy, University of Liverpool, and in 1912 succeeded Henry Laurie, Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy at the University of Melbourne, Australia, remaining in the chair until 1934. It was in this department at Melbourne that the university teaching of psychology began in Victoria. Under Professor Laurie it was a minor branch, in one year, of mental philosophy.** Later it became a sub-department and after the Second World War a chair was established with the appointment of Professor O.A. Oeser.

Boyce Gibson’s writings include articles and books on philosophy, psychology, ethics and logic and the relations between them. He also did a considerable amount of translation from the German (e.g. Husserl’s Ideas).

* The text here is adapted from John Kenna’s ‘Biographical Notes on the Ten Founding Members’, published in Steinberg, H. (Ed.) (1961) The British Psychological Society 1901-1961. Supplement to the Bulletin of the British Psychological Society.

** Latham. J.G. (1957). Psychology sixty years ago in Melbourne. Bulletin of the British Psychological Society, 31, 33-34.

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