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Some famous Irish communists

Benjamin Farrington


Benjamin Farrington was born in Cork in 1891 and educated at University College (now NUI), Cork, and Trinity College, Dublin. As a student at Trinity he witnessed the Dublin Lock-Out of 1913, which made a profound impression on him, and heard James Connolly speak.
    He subsequently became a lecturer in Classics at Belfast, Cape Town and Bristol and professor of Classics at Swansea. His many books on the history and philosophy of science include Science in Antiquity (1936), The Civilization of Greece and Rome (1938), Science and Politics in the Ancient World (1939), Greek Science: Its Meaning for Us (1944), Head and Hand in Ancient Greece: Four Studies in the Social Relations of Thought (1947), Francis Bacon: Philosopher of Industrial Science (1949), Has History a Meaning? (1950), Aristotle: Founder of Scientific Philosophy (1965), What Darwin Really Said (1966), and The Faith of Epicurus (1967).

    His pamphlet The Challenge of Socialism was based on lectures he gave at weekend schools in Dublin in August 1946. In it he gives a clear description of the scientific basis of socialism. Of James Connolly he writes: “All through my years as a university student I had been studying the history of thought. Nobody before Connolly had brought home to me that the history of thought does not exist in isolation but is part of the history of the society in which the thought is produced . . . I am conscious that it is to a workingman that I owe the conviction that learning need not be pedantic or obscurantist but a guide to action in the present.”


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