Stebbing, L. Susan (1885–1943)

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Stebbing, L. Susan (1885–1943)

British philosopher. Name variations: Lizzie Susan Stebbing. Born on December 2, 1885, in Wimbledon, Surrey, England; died on September 11, 1943, in London, England; youngest of six children of Alfred Charles Stebbing (a barrister) and Elizabeth (Elstob) Stebbing; attended Girton College, Cambridge; University of London, M.A., 1912, D.Lit., 1931; never married; no children.

L. Susan Stebbing was born in 1885, the youngest of six children of Alfred Charles Stebbing, a lawyer, and Elizabeth Elstob Stebbing . She developed her acute intellectual gifts at Girton College in Cambridge, eventually earning both a master's and a doctoral degree at the University of London, and started lecturing in philosophy at King's College in London in 1913. Her distinguished teaching career included service at Bedford College, the University of London, Columbia University in New York City, and the Kingsley Lodge School for Girls in Hampstead, the latter of which she served as principal from 1915 until her death in 1943.

Stebbing's keen interest in the sciences and mathematics caused her to align herself philosophically with the Cambridge analytic school, which married Hume's empiricism with developed mathematical logic. While she did not make any original contributions to the field of logic, Stebbing was recognized as an expert teacher in the subject, able to convey complicated ideas clearly and without bias. Her work A Modern Introduction to Logic (1930) was the first text to make the advancements in logic generally accessible. Stebbing firmly believed that the application of reason could eradicate evil, and expounded on this idea in her work Ideals and Illusions in 1941. She died in London on September 11, 1943.


Legg, L.G. Wickham, and E.T. Williams, eds. The Dictionary of National Biography, 1941–1950. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1960.

Paula Morris , D.Phil., Brooklyn, New York