Professor Henry John McCloskey (1925 – 2000) was Professor of Philosophy at Latrobe University in Melbourne. After graduating from the University of Melbourne, he had appointments at the University of Western Australia and the University of Melbourne before taking up a chair at Latrobe. He was president of the Australasian Association of Philosophy in 1978.
The department of philosophy at La Trobe University was one of the four departments originally established in the School of Humanities, which took its first students in 1967. Former Rationalist Society President Brian Ellis was appointed foundation professor in June 1966.
Philosophy boomed at La Trobe in the 1960s and ’70s, and by the end of this period it had become by far the largest philosophy department in Australia. Indeed, by this time, it was large even by American standards.
The rapid growth in philosophy at La Trobe enabled the department to develop into an academically distinguished and wide-ranging one within a very short period of time.
John McCloskey was appointed to the second chair of philosophy in 1970, when there were already twelve full-time members of the academic staff. His appointment greatly strengthened the areas of moral and political philosophy in which he specialised.
In 1971 he published John Stuart Mill: A Critical Study, and in 1974, his important book, God and Evil. In 1983 he published Ecological Ethics and Politics.