William Whewell Timeline (May 24, 1794 - March 6, 1866)

  • William Whewell is born!

    William Whewell is born May 24, 1794 in Lancaster.
  • Scholarship Student

    Whewell was a very bright young man, especially in the eyes of his local parish priest whom noticed Whewell's intellect at a young age.
    Eventually Whewell was afforded the opporotunity to go to Trinity College in Cambridge (1812) as a scholarship student. This is where Whewell established his life's work and became very well accomplished in later years.
  • Philosophical Breakfasts

    Whewell along with his 3 closest friends, Charles Babbage, John Herschel, and Richard Jones, met up for "Philosophical breakfasts" . During these meetups, they would discuss induction, and scientific methods. Whewell was greatly influenced by these meetings, leading him to establish a life long career as a philosopher among other things. "For the next 50 years these friends remained in contact, developing their view of inductive reasoning and applying it in diverse realms" (Snyder).
  • Period: to

    Keeping Science Alive

    "Whewell was very active intellectually and
    socially as founder of the Cambridge Philosophical Society in 1818, a fellow of the Royal Society in 1820, and a major figure in the British Association for the Advancement of Science from 1831." (Oslington)
    Whewell was well established in the community and strived to keep science and philosophy alive.
  • William has a way with words

    Whewell was well known for being the go-to person for creating new words! He helped coin the terms "Anode", "Cathode", and "Ion" for Michael Faraday. Whewell also coined the term "Scientist" in a response to a challenge by the poet S.T. Coolridge in 1833.
  • Whewell's Philosophy

    Whewell primarily considered himself a follower of Induction. In his major work , "Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, founded upon their History" (Published in 1840), Whewell describes his idea of induction as "Discoverers Induction". This idea is used to discover both phenomenal and casual laws. Whewell described that a conclusion should have numerous facts to support it. Whewell claimed to be "renovating" Francis Bacon's induction, as he was an avid follower of Bacon.
  • The death of William Whewell

    William Whewell was killed in 1866 by being thrown off of his own horse in Cambridge.
  • Philosophy of Science & History of Science

    "Thus it appears that what was important to Whewell was not whether a philosophy of science had been, in fact, inferred from a study of the history of science, but rather, whether a philosophy of science was inferable from it."
    This quote directly emphasizes Whewell's stance on the relationship between the philosophy and history of science. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCRl3lCiS0c&t=24s
  • Citations

    Snyder, Laura. “William Whewell.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 17 May 2022, plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2022/entries/whewell. Accessed 22 Sept. 2023. Oslington, Paul. “Natural Theology, Theodicy, and Political Economy in Nineteenth-Century Britain: William Whewell’s Struggle.” History of Political Economy, vol. 49, no. 4, 2017, pp. 575–606, https://doi.org/10.1215/00182702-4296317.
  • Major works of Whewell

    Major Works: (1840) The Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences, Founded Upon Their History, in two volumes, London: John W. Parker. (1857) History of the Inductive Sciences, from the Earliest to the Present Time, 3rd edition, in two volumes, London: John W. Parker.