Ray Monk FRSL (born 15 February 1957) is a British biographer who is renowned for his philosophical biographies. 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 64)
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 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]


  • Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. London: Vintage, 1991.
  • Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude 1872–1921. London: Vintage, 1996.
  • Russell. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997.
  • Bertrand Russell: The Ghost of Madness 1921–1970. London: Vintage, 2001.
  • How to Read Wittgenstein. London: Granta, 2005.
  • Inside the Centre: the Life of J. Robert Oppenheimer. London: Jonathan Cape, 2012
  • "Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Sketch of His Life" (chapter in A Companion to Wittgenstein, edited by Hans-Johann Glock and John Hyman. Wiley-Blackwell, 2017)


  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. July 1, 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 2018-05-01.
  5. ^ "Ray Monk on veganism in the New Statesman". University of Southampton.
  6. ^ "Ray Monk". Royal Society of Literature.

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