John Foster (philosopher)

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John Foster
Born Brian Jonathan Foster
(1941-05-05)5 May 1941
Southgate, London, England
Died 1 January 2009(2009-01-01) (aged 67)
London, England
Notable work A World for Us: The Case for Phenomenalistic Idealism
Main interests

John Foster (5 May 1941 – 1 January 2009) was a British philosopher. He authored several books, including The Case for Idealism and A World for Us: The Case for Phenomenalistic Idealism.[1]

John Foster was tutorial Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford from 1966 to 2005 and was Emeritus Fellow there until his death in 2009.


Foster was born in North London and grew up in Southgate. He studied at Mercers' School, but transferred to the City of London School to do A-levels after Mercers' was closed—he wrote a letter to The Times to protest the closing of the school. He started studying Classics at Lincoln College, Oxford but transferred to Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology ('PPP') after discovering a distaste for studying ancient history. Foster became friends with A.J. Ayer although was strongly critical of Ayer's philosophy. He later wrote a book on Ayer's work that Anthony Quinton described as "the only serious monograph about his philosophy".[2]

Foster was a devoted Christian and an outspoken pro-life campaigner. Foster met his wife-to-be Helen in 1963 and the two married in Royal Tunbridge Wells in 1967. He joined the Church of England. In 1989 both John and Helen converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism.[2]


  • Foster, John (1982). The Case for Idealism. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. ISBN 0-7100-9019-6
  • Foster, John (1985). Ayer
  • Foster, John (1991). The Immaterial Self
  • Foster, John (2000). The Nature of Perception
  • Foster, John (2004). The Divine Lawmaker
  • Foster, John (2008). A World for Us: The Case for Phenomenalistic Idealism. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 0-19-929713-4.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Garrett, Brian Jonathan (2010). "John Foster, A World For Us: The Case for Phenomenalistic Idealism. Review". Philosophy in Review. XXX (6): 397–399. 
  2. ^ a b Sinclair, Peter (2010). "John Foster Remembered" (PDF). The Brazen Nose: 135–141.