Feferman was born in The Bronx in New York City from working class parents who had emigrated to the United States after World War I and had met and married in New York. Neither had any advanced education. The family moved to Los Angeles, where Feferman graduated from high school at age 16. He received his B.S. from the California Institute of Technology in 1948 and his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1957 from the University of California, Berkeley under Alfred Tarski, after being drafted from 1953 to 1955. In 1956 he was hired with appointments in the Departments of Mathematics and Philosophy at Stanford University, where later he became the Patrick Suppes Professor of Humanities and Sciences.
Feferman was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1972 and 1986 and the Schock Prize in logic and philosophy in 2003. He was invited to deliver the Tarski Lectures in 2006. In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.
Feferman was the editor-in-chief of the five volumes of Collected Works of Kurt Gödel that were published by Oxford University Press between 2001 and 2013.
Together with his wife Anita Burdman Feferman, he wrote a biography of Alfred Tarski: Alfred Tarski: Life and Logic in 2004.
He worked on predicative mathematics, and in particular introduced the Feferman–Schütte ordinal as a measure of the strength of certain predicative systems.
- Feferman, Solomon; Vaught, Robert L. (1959). The first order properties of products of algebraic systems. Fund. Math. 47, 57–103.
- Feferman, Solomon. (1975). A language and axioms for explicit mathematics. Algebra and logic (Fourteenth Summer Res. Inst., Austral. Math. Soc., Monash Univ., Clayton, 1974), pp. 87–139. Lecture Notes in Math., Vol. 450, Springer, Berlin.
- Feferman, Solomon. (1979). Constructive theories of functions and classes. Logic Colloquium '78 (Mons, 1978), pp. 159–224, Stud. Logic Foundations Math., 97, North-Holland, Amsterdam-New York.
- Buchholz, Wilfried; Feferman, Solomon; Pohlers, Wolfram; Sieg, Wilfried. (1981). Iterated inductive definitions and subsystems of analysis: recent proof-theoretical studies. Lecture Notes in Mathematics, 897. Springer-Verlag, Berlin-New York.
- Feferman, Solomon; Hellman, Geoffrey. (1995). Predicative foundations of arithmetic. J. Philos. Logic 24(1), 1--17.
- Feferman, Solomon. (1998). In the Light of Logic. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-508030-0, Logic and Computation in Philosophy series) review.
- Avigad, Jeremy; Feferman, Solomon. (1998). Gödel's functional (Dialectica) interpretation. Handbook of proof theory, 337–405, Stud. Logic Found. Math., 137, North-Holland, Amsterdam.
- Feferman, Anita Burdman; Feferman, Solomon (2004). Alfred Tarski: Life and Logic. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-80240-6. OCLC 54691904.
- Solomon Feferman at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved December 2, 2012.