best known for her editing of Wittgenstein
's writings in collaboration with Rush Rhees
and G.H. von Wright
, and for her defence of Roman Catholic
doctrines including the ontological argument
. The necessarily conservative
position of this brought her into conflict with many colleagues.
Born in Limerick on 18 March 1919 and died at Cambridge on 5 January 2001, (Gertrude) Elizabeth (Margaret) Anscombe studied at Sydenham School and St Hugh's College, Oxford. She married the fellow philosopher and convert Peter Geach on Boxing Day 1941 in the Brompton Oratory. She became a Research Fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge, and then at Somerville College, Oxford from 1946 to 1964 and a Fellow and Honorary Fellow thereafter. She was appointed to the Chair of Philosophy at Cambridge in 1970, holding it until 1986.
Donald Davidson called her book on intention the 'best thing since Aristotle' on the subject.
She and Geach had seven children. It was at their Oxford home that Wittgenstein lived for part of 1950; and she was with him in Cambridge when he died in 1951. She had a fondness for strong cigars, wore trousers in defiance of university rules, and sported a monocle.
Thanks to JudyT for pointing out my error: Wittgenstein did not actually die at Anscombe's house.