The prior prior: Neglected early writings of Arthur N. prior

Heythrop Journal 43 (4):480–495 (2002)
It is commonly presumed that the earliest recoverable writing of the New Zealand born Philosopher Arthur N. Prior is that published in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy and Psychology in 1937. Yet Prior was an extremely active writer as both an undergraduate and as a recent graduate, in a variety of publications. This paper recovers the unknown early Prior and discusses the importance of neo–orthodox Christian theology upon the life and thought of the early Arthur Prior. During the 1930s Prior was primarily a theologian–philosopher and in these early writings there can be discerned important influences upon his thinking. This paper traces Prior’s writings from an early unpublished manuscript through his theological writings and the development of his neo–orthodox thinking to a point where preparatory work for his influential 1942 article ‘Can Religion be Discussed?’ occurs. It ends where Prior bibliographies begin, with a theologian–philosopher remaking himself as a philosopher theologian. Yet to understand the later Prior we need to understand his early life, thought and writing. This paper is an attempt to recover Prior’s early life and note his influences and talent in areas apart from tense logic
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DOI 10.1111/1468-2265.00206
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