Ray Monk


Ray Monk FRSL (born 15 February 1957) is a British biographer who is renowned for his biographies of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bertrand Russell, and J. Robert Oppenheimer. He is emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Southampton, where he taught in various capacities from 1992 to 2018.[1][2][3]

Ray Monk
Born (1957-02-15) 15 February 1957 (age 65)
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy, postanalytic philosophy
InstitutionsUniversity of Southampton
Main interests
Philosophical biography, history of analytic philosophy, philosophy of mathematics, veganism


Monk graduated with an MA in philosophy from York University in 1979. Later he obtained an MLitt from Oxford University.[2]

He won the 1990 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 1991 Duff Cooper Prize for his acclaimed biography of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. His two-volume biography of Bertrand Russell appeared in 1996 and 2001. His biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer was published in 2012.

Since 2012 he has occasionally written for the New Statesman, contributing articles on philosophers and on veganism.[4][5]

In 2015 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.[6]



  1. ^ "Professor Ray Monk | Philosophy | University of Southampton". www.southampton.ac.uk.
  2. ^ a b "An Interview with Ray Monk". Cogito. 6 (2): 57–61. 1 July 1992. doi:10.5840/cogito19926228 – via www.pdcnet.org.
  3. ^ Ray Monk's announcement of his retirement on Twitter
  4. ^ "Writers". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Ray Monk on veganism in the New Statesman". University of Southampton.
  6. ^ "Ray Monk". Royal Society of Literature.

External linksEdit

  • Home page
  • Philosophy Bites podcast interview with Ray Monk on Philosophy and Biography
  • WGBY audio recording of lecture "Philosophy Circa 1905"
  • Leading, contemporary biographers Hermione Lee & Ray Monk and director Stephen Frears debate whether all biographies are fiction
  • Appearances on C-SPAN