|Born||Frederick Charles Copleston
10 April 1907
|Died||3 February 1994
|Occupation||Historian, author, philosopher, priest|
|Society of Jesus|
History of the Jesuits
Copleston's family was Anglican (his uncle, Reginald Stephen Copleston, was an Anglican bishop of Calcutta), but he converted to Roman Catholicism while a pupil at Marlborough College, and became a Jesuit in 1929. He studied and later lectured at Heythrop College and, seeing the poor standard of philosophical teaching in seminaries, wrote an influential multi-volume History of Philosophy (1946–75), which is highly respected. He graduated from Oxford University with a third in classical moderations in 1925 and a good second at Greats in 1929. 
He is well known for debating the existence of God with Bertrand Russell in a celebrated 1948 BBC broadcast; the following year he debated logical positivism and the meaningfulness of religious language with his friend the analytic philosopher A. J. Ayer.
One of Copleston's most significant contributions to modern philosophy was his work on the theories of St Thomas Aquinas. He attempted to clarify Aquinas's Five Ways (in the Summa Theologica) by making a distinction between in fieri causes and in esse causes. By doing so Copleston makes clear that Aquinas wanted to put forth the concept of an omnipresent God rather than a being that could have disappeared after setting the chain of cause and effect into motion.
From 1952, Copleston spent some of his teaching time at the Gregorian University in Rome, continuing to lecture at Heythrop until it joined the University of London system in 1970, whereupon he became the College Principal. After officially retiring in 1974 he continued to lecture overseas, especially at Santa Clara University in California. He was appointed a member of the British Academy in 1970 and CBE in 1993.
- Even if the actual systems of philosophy which have appeared in the philosophical thought of a given culture are historically conditioned, there may be ways of thought exemplified by past systems which remain a feature of a people's mentality or cultural outlook.
- If one refuses to sit down and make a move, one cannot be checkmated (in relation to Russell's belief about the existence of the universe).
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Philosopher of Culture. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1942.
- Arthur Schopenhauer: Philosopher of Pessimism. London: Burns Oates & Washbourne, 1946.
- A History of Philosophy: Volume I: Greece and Rome: From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1946.
- A History of Philosophy: Volume II: Medieval Philosophy: From Augustine to Duns Scotus. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1950.
- Medieval Philosophy: An introduction. London: Methuen, 1952.
- A History of Philosophy: Volume III: Late Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy: Ockham, Francis Bacon, and the Beginning of the Modern World. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1953.
- Aquinas. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1955.
- Contemporary Philosophy: Studies of Logical Positivism and Existentialism. London: Burns & Oates, 1956.
- A History of Philosophy: Volume IV: Modern Philosophy: From Descartes to Leibniz. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1958.
- A History of Philosophy: Volume V: Modern Philosophy: The British Philosophers from Hobbes to Hume. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1959.
- A History of Philosophy: Volume VI: Modern Philosophy: From the French Enlightenment to Kant. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1960.
- A History of Philosophy: Volume VII: Modern Philosophy: From the Post-Kantian Idealists to Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1963.
- A History of Philosophy: Volume VIII: Modern Philosophy: Empiricism, Idealism, and Pragmatism in Britain and America. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1966.
- A History of Medieval Philosophy. London: Methuen, 1972. (revision of Medieval Philosophy, 1952)
- A History of Philosophy: Volume IX: Modern Philosophy: From the French Revolution to Sartre, Camus, and Levi-Strauss. London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1975.
- Philosophies and Cultures. Oxford University Press, 1980. ISBN 0-19-213960-6
- Religion and the One: Philosophies East and West. Tunbridge Wells: Search Press, 1982. ISBN 0-85532-510-0
- Philosophy in Russia. Tunbridge Wells: Search Press, 1986.
- Memoirs of a Philosopher. Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1993.
- A History of Philosophy (9 volumes reissued). New York: Image Books, 1993–1994.
- "Frederick Charles Copleston". Gifford Lectures. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
- The original edition and Double Day edition have 9 volumes whereas the Continuum edition has 11 volumes
- "Fr. Copleston vs. Bertrand Russell: The Famous 1948 BBC Radio Debate on the Existence of God". History of Philosophy. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
- "Obituary: The Rev Professor Frederick Copleston SJ". The Independent. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
- Fr. Frederick C. Copleston vs Bertrand Russell (BBC Radio, 28 January 1948)
- Frederick Copleston on Schopenhauer