Five Best Biographies of Philosophers

From a Wall Street Journal story headlined “Five Best: Biographies of Philosophers”:

Selected by David Edmonds, the author of “Parfit: A Philosopher and His Mission to Save Morality.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein
By Ray Monk (1990)

1. It’s barely 30 years old, but this feels like the Great Granddaddy of philosophical biography. The book’s subtitle, “The Duty of Genius,” perfectly captures the subject. If the Austrian-born Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) doesn’t deserve the “genius” tag, then nobody does—but his intellectual gifts were for him a heavy psychological burden. Ray Monk brilliantly portrays Wittgenstein’s tortured soul (he was often on the verge of suicide) and his brutal, uncompromising approach to life.