Ivor Armstrong Richards was born in England in 1893. He attended Magdalen College, Cambridge, and studied philosophy under G. E. Moore, a popular English philosopher of the time. During this early period in his life, Richards pursued many interests, and it’s clear his later ideologies were significantly influenced by these pursuits. After graduating from Magdalen in 1915, Richards began studying medicine. During WWI, he became a mountain climber, and eventually gave up his medical studies. He then turned to teaching, and returned to his old college Magdalen to lecture on moral philosophy and literary criticism.
Richards’ ideology and epistemology was vastly different from that of the empiricists, who were prevalent during Richards’ day and believed that knowledge and meaning was discovered through observation of the material world. Richards studied rhetoric from a new perspective, and focused on how words were attributed meaning.