Peter Bieri (author)

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Peter Bieri
Born (1944-06-23) June 23, 1944 (age 76)
Bern, Switzerland
Pen namePascal Mercier

Peter Bieri (born 23 June 1944), better known by his pseudonym, Pascal Mercier, is a Swiss writer and philosopher.

Academic background[edit]

Bieri studied philosophy, English studies and Indian studies in both London and Heidelberg. He took his doctoral degree in Heidelberg in 1971 after studies with Dieter Henrich and Ernst Tugendhat on the philosophy of time, with reference to the work of J. M. E. McTaggart. After the conferral of his doctorate, Bieri followed an academic career at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard University, the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. In 1983 he started work at the University of Bielefeld and later he worked as a scientific assistant at the Philosophical Seminar at University of Heidelberg.[1]

Bieri co-founded the research unit for Cognition and Brain studies at the German Research Foundation.[2] The focuses of his research were the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and ethics. From 1990 to 1993, he was a professor of the history of philosophy at the University of Marburg; from 1993 he taught philosophy at the Free University of Berlin while holding the chair of analytic philosophy, succeeding his mentor, Ernst Tugendhat.[3]

In 2007 he retired early, disillusioned by academic life and condemning what he saw as the rise of managerialism ("Eine Diktatur der Geschäftigkeit") and decline in respect for academic work.[4]

Pseudonym and work as a writer[edit]

As a writer, Bieri uses the pseudonym Pascal Mercier, made up of the surnames of the two French philosophers Blaise Pascal and Louis-Sébastien Mercier. Martin Halter, in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, criticized Bieri's attempt "to dress up the trite man from Berne in a French philosopher's lace jabot"[5] as a pretentious mannerism. Peter Bieri has published four novels to date. Reviewers have identified “heart, woe and a lot of fate” as “his recipe for success”[6] which Bieri, aiming at “wellness literature”,[7] applies in each of his books with little variation.[8]

Awards and recognition[edit]


Philosophical works[edit]

  • Peter Bieri: Das Handwerk der Freiheit. Hanser, Munich 2001.[10] ISBN 978-3-446-20070-8
  • Peter Bieri: Eine Art zu Leben. Hanser, 2013. ISBN 978-3-446-24349-1

A full list of his philosophical works may be found on Wikipedia's German pages.



  1. ^ Bieri's CV
  2. ^ ZiF workshops Archived 2006-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Free University, Philosophy Department Archived 2009-06-22 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Manfred Papst, Peter Bieri alias Pascal Mercier hat genug von der Universität. In: NZZ am Sonntag, 27 May 2007 (with quotation from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23 May 2007)
  5. ^ Martin Halter, Die Seele hängt voller Geigen. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 30 May 2007
  6. ^ Martin Halter, Die Seele hängt voller Geigen. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 30 May 2007: “Herz, Schmerz und viel Schicksal”, “sein Erfolgsrezept”. Similarly Joseph Hanimann, Mit dieser Geige findet sie den Tod. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung. 16 July 2007: “painting emotion in a way that borders on kitsch” (“an Kitsch grenzende Gefühlsbeschreibung”), and Volker Weidermann, Professor Kitsch. In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. 10 May 2007.
  7. ^ Eberhard Falcke, Abgeschmackte Stimmungsmacherei. In: DIE ZEIT. 10 June 2007: “literarische Wellness”.
  8. ^ Jens Jessen, Monumentale Biederkeit. In: DIE ZEIT. 12 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Honorary Doctorates - University of Lucerne". Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  10. ^ This is a popular science book on the topic of 'free will'. Marcus von Schmiede claims that Bieri does a good job in making the discussions surrounding determinism accessible to a wider audience; cf. von Schmiede's review of the book in Die Zeit (Hamburg, Germany), 13 December 2001.