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Last revised 20 January 2018
Philosopher biographies – A random mish-mash, listed chronologically by philosophical era.

112. Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist (2012)
by Christof Koch
Part scientific overview, part memoir: one man’s quest for an explanation for consciousness.
111. The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy (2002)
by Colin McGinn
The self–portrait of a penetrating mind over a life on both sides of the Atlantic.
110. The Philosophical I: Personal Reflections on Life in Philosophy (2002)
by George Yancy et al
Fascinating self-portraits by 16 philosophers in the United States and Canadian academy.
109. A Life in the Academy (2013)
by Robert Paul Wolff
A delightful self-portrait that includes an inside look at a variety of institutions of higher learning in the United States and South Africa.
108. Philosopher: A Kind Of Life (2001)
by Ted Honderich
The story of a perilous progress from boyhood in Canada to the Grote Professorship of Mind and Logic in London.
107. Derrida: A Biography (2012)
by Benoit Peeters
The story of a Jewish boy from Algiers who went on to become the most widely translated French philosopher in the world.
106. Confessions of a Philosopher (1997)
by Bryan Magee
In this infectiously exciting book, Bryan Magee tells the story of his own discovery of philosophy.
105. Habermas: A Biography (2014)
by Stefan Müller-Doohm
Traces the intellectual development of one of the most important public intellectuals of our time.
104. Jürgen Habermas: A Philosophical-Political Profile (2001)
by Martin Joseph Matuštík
A lively and dramatic engagement with major themes of Habermas’ adult life in postwar Germany.
103. The Passion of Michel Foucault (1993)
by James Miller
A startling portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most influential philosophers.
102. The Lives of Michel Foucault (1993)
by David Macey
The richest account to date of Michel Foucault’s life and work.
101. Killing Time: The Autobiography of Paul Feyerabend (1995)
by Paul Feyerabend
The self-portrait of one of the century’s most original and influential intellectuals.
100. Iris Murdoch as I Knew Her (2003)
by A. N. Wilson
A brilliant, controversial and insightful biography.
99. A Philosopher’s Story (1999)
by Morton White
Professional philosophers seldom write their memoirs and, when they do, they rarely produce books as engaging as this one.
98. Alan Turing: The Enigma (1983)
by Andrew Hodges
A bestselling biography: the definitive account of an extraordinary mind and life.
97. A. J. Ayer: A Life (1999)
by Ben Rogers
A powerful biography of a provocative and unforgettable man whose ideas changed the landscape of Western thought.
96. More of My Life (1984)
by A. J. Ayer
A picture of a rich public and private life: the second of two autobiographies written by Ayer.
95. Part of My Life (1977)
by A. J. Ayer
A picture of a remarkably precocious boy: the first of two autobiographies written by Ayer.
94. A Mind and its Time: The Development of Isaiah Berlin’s Political Thought (2013)
by Joshua L. Cherniss
The genesis and development of Berlin’s political thought, philosophical views, and historical understanding.
93. Isaiah Berlin: A Life (1998)
by Michael Ignatieff
Berlin agreed to talk about himself, and so for ten years, he allowed Michael Ignatieff to interview him.
92. The Time of My Life: An Autobiography (1985)
by Willard Van Orman Quine
One of the world’s most famous philosophers as no one else has seen him before.
91. A Life of H. L. A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream (2004)
by Nicola Lacey
A chronicle of a life which made an impact far greater than many of us realize.
90. Hannah Arendt: For Love of the World (1982)
by Elisabeth Young-Bruehl
Prize-winning biography of one of the foremost political philosophers of the twentieth century.
89. Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel (2005)
by Rebecca Goldstein
An unforgettable account of one of the great moments in the history of human thought.
88. Sartre: A Philosophical Biography (2014)
by Thomas R. Flynn
An extensive work and a major contribution to Sartre studies.
87. Words (1964)
by Jean-Paul Sartre
Sartre’s brilliant recollection of growing up within the confines of French provincialism in the period before the First World War.
86. Adorno: A Biography (2005)
by Stefan Müller-Doohm
This outstanding biography will be the standard work on Adorno for years to come.
85. Frank Ramsey (1903-1930): A Sister’s Memoir (2012)
by Margaret Paul
Margaret Ramsey’s memoir of her prodigious brother and the era in which they lived.
84. Karl Popper: The Formative Years, 1902-1945 (2000)
by Malachi Haim Hacohen
A compelling portrait of the young Popper as socialist reformer and revolutionary philosopher.
83. Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography (1976)
by Karl Popper
At the age of 8, Popper was puzzling over infinity and by 15 taking a keen interest in his father’s lavish library.
82. Alfred Tarski: Life and Logic (2004)
by Anita Burdman Feferman & Solomon Feferman
The first full-length biography of one of the greatest logicians of all time.
81. Hans-Georg Gadamer: A Biography (2003)
by Jean Grondin
Gadamer’s life and his ideas in the context of some of the century’s darkest and most complex historical events.
80. Leo Strauss: An Intellectual Biography (2007)
by Daniel Tanguay
Indispensable for anyone seeking to understand Strauss’s philosophy and legacy.
79. Wittgenstein’s Poker (2001)
by David Edmonds & John Eidinow
In a crowded Cambridge room, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper came face to face for the first and last time.
78. Martin Heidegger: Between Good and Evil (1998)
by Rüdiger Safranski
The best intellectual biography of Heidegger ever written: a best-seller in Germany.
77. Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius (1990)
by Ray Monk
Deeply intelligent and generous to the ordinary reader. A beautiful portrait of a beautiful life.
76. Wittgenstein: A Life – Young Ludwig 1889-1921 (1988)
by Brian McGuinness
Traces the life of Wittgenstein from his privileged childhood to the appearance of the Tractatus.
75. An Autobiography (1939)
by R. G. Collingwood
The self-told life-story of an English academic, seen from Oxford just before the Second World War.
74. Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher (2008)
by Leonard Harris & Charles Molesworth
Reclaims Locke’s place in the pantheon of America’s most important minds.
73. Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture (2008)
by Edward Skidelsky
The first extensive intellectual biography of Cassirer in English in two decades.
112. Consciousness: Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist (2012)

by Christof Koch

Part scientific overview, part memoir: one man’s quest for an explanation for consciousness.