The United Kingdom is famous for the tradition of "British
Empiricism", a branch of the philosophy of knowledge that states that
only knowledge verified by experience is valid. The most famous
philosophers of this tradition are John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume. Britain is notable for a theory of moral philosophy, Utilitarianism, first used by Jeremy Bentham and later by John Stuart Mill, in his short work Utilitarianism. Other eminent philosophers from the UK and the countries that preceded it include Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Thomas Hobbes, Bertrand Russell, Adam Smith and Alfred Ayer. Foreign-born philosophers who settled in the UK include Isaiah Berlin, Karl Marx, Karl Popper, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Science, engineering and innovation
Sir Isaac Newton
The United Kingdom and the countries that preceded it have produced
scientists and engineers credited with important advances, including;
- The modern scientific method, developed by English philosopher Francis Bacon
- The laws of motion and illumination of gravity, by English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, Sir Isaac Newton
- The unification of electromagnetism, by James Clerk Maxwell
- The discovery of hydrogen, by Henry Cavendish
- The steam locomotive, by Richard Trevithick and Andrew Vivian
- The world's first working television system, by Scottish engineer and inventor John Logie Baird
- Evolution by natural selection, by Charles Darwin
- The Turing machine, by Alan Turing, the basis of modern computers
- The structure of DNA, by Francis Crick and others
- The development of the World Wide Web, largely attributed to Tim Berners-Lee
- The discovery of penicillin, by Scottish biologist and pharmacologist, Sir Alexander Fleming
Notable civil engineering projects, whose pioneers included Isambard Kingdom Brunel, contributed to the world's first national railway transport system. Other advances pioneered in the UK include the marine chronometer, the jet engine, the modern bicycle, electric lighting, the electric motor, the screw propeller, the internal combustion engine, military radar, the electronic computer, vaccination and antibiotics.
Scientific journals produced in the UK include Nature, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet.
In 2006, it was reported that the UK provided 9% of the world's
scientific research papers and a 12% share of citations, the second
highest in the world after the US.
The Royal Academy is located in London. Other major schools of art include the Slade School of Fine Art; the six-school University of the Arts London, which includes the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and Chelsea College of Art and Design; the Glasgow School of Art, and Goldsmiths, University of London. This commercial venture is one of Britain's foremost visual arts organisations. Major British artists include Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable, William Blake, J. M. W. Turner, William Morris, L. S. Lowry, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Gilbert and George, Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, Howard Hodgkin, Antony Gormley, and Anish Kapoor. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the Saatchi Gallery in London brought to public attention a group of multigenre artists who would become known as the Young British Artists. Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili, Rachel Whiteread, Tracey Emin, Mark Wallinger, Steve McQueen, Sam Taylor-Wood, and the Chapman Brothers are among the better known members of this loosely affiliated movement.