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Finding philosophy

What made me a philosopher? Two great teachers, the promise of escape and a neat pencil case

By Colin McGinn   November 2003

I have been an academic philosopher for the past 30 years. I came from an academically disinclined background in the northeast of England, my relatives being mainly coalminers and other manual workers. I was the first in my family to attend university, and indeed had no thought of it until age 17, when a teacher mentioned it at school. My father had become a successful builder, so we were not materially deprived, and it was expected that I would become some sort of technical worker, possibly a quantity surveyor. The idea that I might one day become a professional philosopher…

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