Raymond Geuss

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Raymond Geuss
Born (1946-12-10) December 10, 1946 (age 75)
Evansville, Indiana, US
Alma materColumbia University
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolContinental, critical theory
Doctoral studentsKatherine Harloe[1]
Main interests
Ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of history, intellectual history

Raymond Geuss (/ɡɔɪs/; born 1946), Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge, is a political philosopher and scholar of 19th and 20th century European philosophy. Geuss is primarily known for three reasons: his early account of ideology critique in The Idea of a Critical Theory; a recent collection of works instrumental to the emergence of Political Realism in Anglophone political philosophy over the last decade, including Philosophy and Real Politics; and a variety of free-standing essays on issues including aesthetics, Nietzsche, contextualism, phenomenology, intellectual history, culture and ancient philosophy.


Geuss was educated at Columbia University (undergraduate B.A., summa cum laude, 1966, and Ph.D., 1971).[2] His Ph.D. thesis was written under the direction of Robert Denoon Cumming. Geuss was also greatly influenced by Sidney Morgenbesser during his university education.

Geuss taught at Princeton University, Columbia University, and University of Chicago in the United States, and at Heidelberg and Freiburg in Germany before taking up a lecturing post at Cambridge in 1993. In 2000 he became a naturalised British citizen.[3] He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2011.[4]

Geuss has supervised the graduate work of several prominent scholars working in the history of continental philosophy, social and political philosophy and in the philosophy of art. His students include former Southern Poverty Law Center president J. Richard Cohen.[5]


To date, Geuss has published 15 (with a 16th book due in spring 2022) books of philosophy, of which four are collections of essays. They are: The Idea of a Critical Theory: Habermas and the Frankfurt School; Morality, Culture, and History; Public Goods, Private Goods; History and Illusion in Politics; Glück und Politik; Outside Ethics, Philosophy and Real Politics, Politics and the Imagination, A World without Why, Reality and its Dreams, Changing the Subject: Philosophy from Socrates to Adorno, and Who Needs a World View?, which was published by Harvard University Press in 2020. He has also co-edited two critical editions of works of Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and Writings from the Early Notebooks. Geuss has also published two collections of translations/adaptations of poetry from Ancient Greek, Latin and Old High German texts.


Alasdair MacIntyre has written the following about Geuss:[6]

No one among contemporary moral and political philosophers writes better essays than Raymond Geuss. His prose is crisp, elegant, and lucid. His arguments are to the point. And, by inviting us to reconsider what we have hitherto taken for granted, he puts in question not just this or that particular philosophical thesis, but some of the larger projects in which we are engaged. Often enough Geuss does this with remarkable economy, provoking us into first making his questions our own and then discovering how difficult it is to answer them.


  • The Idea of a Critical Theory (1981)
  • Morality, Culture, and History (1999)
  • Parrots, Poets, Philosophers, & Good Advice (1999)
  • At Cross Purposes (2001)
  • History and Illusion in Politics (2001)
  • Public Goods, Private Goods (2001)
  • Glück und Politik (2004)
  • Outside Ethics (2005)
  • Philosophy and Real Politics (2008)
  • Politics and the Imagination (2010)
  • A World Without Why (2014)
  • Reality and its Dreams (2016)
  • Changing the Subject: Philosophy from Socrates to Adorno (2017)
  • Who Needs a World View? (2020)
  • A philosopher looks at work (2021)
  • Not thinking like a liberal (forthcoming spring 2022)


  1. ^ Harloe, Katherine (23 August 2004). Franz Neumann, the rule of law and the unfulfilled promise of classical liberal thought (phd). University of Cambridge. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  2. ^ ""You Never Retire from the Fight"". Columbia College Today. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  3. ^ "Raymond Geuss - CV" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Fellows elected July 2011". British Academy. Archived from the original on 8 May 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  5. ^ ""You Never Retire from the Fight"". Columbia College Today. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 4 June 2022.
  6. ^ "Outside Ethics". Archived from the original on 8 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.

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