1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wright, Chauncey

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WRIGHT, CHAUNCEY (1830-1875), American philosopher and mathematician, was born at Northampton, Mass., on the 20th of September 1830, and died at Cambridge, Mass., on the 12th of September 1875. In 1852 he graduated at Harvard, and became computer to the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac. He made his name by contributions on mathematical and physical subjects in the Mathematical Monthly. He soon, however, turned his attention to metaphysics and psychology, and for the North American Review and later for the National he wrote philosophical essays on the lines of Mill, Darwin and Spencer. In 1870-71 he lectured on psychology at Harvard. Although, in general, he adhered to the evolution theory, he was a free lance in thought. Among his essays may be mentioned The Evolution of Self-Consciousness and two articles published in 1871 on the Genesis of Species. Of these, the former endeavours to explain the most elaborate psychical activities of men as developments of elementary forms of conscious processes in the animal kingdom as a whole; the latter is a defence of the theory of natural selection against the attacks of St George Mivart, and appeared in an English edition on the suggestion of Darwin. From 1863 to 1870 he was secretary and recorder to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in the last year of his life he lectured on mathematical physics at Harvard.

His essays were collected and published by C. E. Norton in 1877, and his Letters were edited and privately printed at Cambridge, Mass., in 1878 by James Bradley Thayer.