Marjorie Grene

Marjorie Glicksman Grene (born 1910) is an American philosopher.

She is known as a writer both on existentialism and the philosophy of science, especially philosophy of biology. As of 2005 (aged 95) she was Professor Emerita of philosophy at Virginia Tech.

Her first degree was in zoology, from Wellesley College; she then received a doctorate in philosophy from Harvard University (Radcliffe College).

She studied with Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers, leaving Germany in 1933. She was in Denmark in 1935, and then at the University of Chicago.

After losing her position there during World War II, she spent 15 years as a mother and farmer.

In 1995 the International Society for History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology () established a Marjorie Grene prize for work by younger scholars. ISHPSSB noted that her work in the history and philosophy of biology exemplified the strong spirit of interdisciplinary work fundamental to ISHPSSB, that she played a central role in bringing together diverse scholars of biology even before the formation of the Society, and that she had been a valued mentor to many members of the Society and a long-standing inspiration to all.


  • Philosophers Speak for Themselves: From Descartes To Kant. Readings in the Philosophy of the Renaissance and Enlightenment (1940) editor with Thomas Vernor Smith
  • Dreadful Freedom: A Critique of Existentialism (1948)
  • The World View of Physics by C. F. von Weizsäcker (1952) translator
  • Martin Heidegger (1957)
  • Philosophers Speak for Themselves: From Descartes to Locke (1958) editor with T. V. Smith
  • Introduction to Existentialism (1959)
  • A Portrait of Aristotle (1963)
  • Philosophers Speak for Themselves: Berkeley, Hume and Kant (1963) editor with T. V. Smith
  • The Knower and the Known (1966)
  • Approaches to a Philosophical Biology (1968)
  • The Anatomy of Knowledge: Papers Presented to the Study Group on Foundations of Cultural Unity, Bowdoin College, 1965 and 1966; (1969) editor
  • Toward a Unity of Knowledge (1969) editor
  • Laughing and Crying: A Study of the Limits of Human Behavior by Helmuth Plessner (1970) translator with James Spencer Churchill
  • Interpretations of Life and Mind: Essays Around the Problem of Reduction (1971) editor
  • Jean-Paul Sartre (1973)
  • Spinoza : A Collection of Critical Essays (1973) editor
  • The Understanding of Nature: Essays In The Philosophy Of Biology (1974)
  • Philosophy In and Out of Europe (1976) essays
  • Topics in the Philosophy of Biology (1976) editor with Everett Mendelsohn
  • Dimensions Of Darwinism : Themes And Counterthemes In Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Theory (1983) editor
  • Descartes (1985)
  • Spinoza And The Sciences (1986) editor
  • Muntu : African Culture and the Western World by Janheinz Jahn (1990) translator
  • Descartes Among the Scholastics (1991) Aquinas Lecture 1991)
  • Interactions. The Biological Context of Social Systems (1992) with Niles Eldredge
  • A Philosophical Testament (1995)
  • Descartes and His Contemporaries: Meditations, Objections, and Replies (1995) editor with Roger Ariew
  • The Mechanization of the Heart: Harvey and Descartes by Thomas Fuchs (2001) translator
  • Malebranche's First and Last Critics: Simon Foucher and Dortous De Mairan (2002) with Richard A. Watson;
  • Apology for Raymond Sebond by Montaigne (2003) translator with Roger Ariew
  • Philosophy of Biology: An Episodic History (2004) with David Depew
  • Knowing & Being: essays by Michael Polanyi, editor
  • Geoffroy Saint Hilaire by Hervé Le Guyader, translator


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