Raymond Geuss

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Raymond Geuss
Born (1946-12-10) December 10, 1946 (age 68)
Evansville, Indiana, USA
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western philosophy
School Continental, critical theory
Main interests
Ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of history, intellectual history

Raymond Geuss (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, inter alia, aesthetics, Nietzsche, contextualism, phenomenology, intellectual history, culture and ancient philosophy. Alasdair MacIntyre has written the following about Geuss:[1]

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.


Geuss took both his undergraduate (B.A., summa cum laude, 1966) and graduate (Ph.D., 1971) degrees at Columbia University, where he wrote his thesis under the direction of Robert Denoon Cumming, but was also greatly influenced by Sidney Morgenbesser. He 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.[2] He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2011.[3]

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.


To date Geuss has published nine 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; Glueck und Politik; Outside Ethics, Philosophy and Real Politics, Politics and the Imagination, and A World without Why, which has just appeared from Princeton University Press. He has also co-edited two critical editions of works of Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and Writings from the Early Notebooks. Together with Quentin Skinner, Geuss co-edits the Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought series of books. Geuss has also published two collections of translations/adaptations of poetry from Ancient Greek, Latin and Old High German texts.


  • 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)
  • Glueck und Politik (2004)
  • Outside Ethics (2005)
  • Philosophy and Real Politics (2008)
  • Politics and the Imagination (2010)
  • A World Without Why (2014)


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