Peter Sloterdijk

Year of birth, place
1947, Karlsruhe, Germany
lives and works in
Karlsruhe, Germany

Peter Sloterdijk was born in Karlsruhe on June 26, 1947, as the son of a German mother and a Dutch father.

He studied philosophy, history and German in Munich and at the University of Hamburg from 1968–1974. In 1972/1973, he published an essay on Michel Foucault’s structural theory of history and a study entitled Die Ökonomie der Sprachspiele. Zur Kritik der linguistischen Gegenstandskonstitution [The Economy of Language Games: On the Critique of the Linguistic Constitution of the Subject]. In 1976, he completed his doctoral thesis on Literatur und Organisation von Lebenserfahrung. Gattungstheorie und Gattungsgeschichte der Autobiographie der Weimarer Republik 1918–1933 [The Literature and Organization of Life Experience: The Theory and History of the Genre of Autobiography of the Weimar Republic, 1918–1933]. Between 1978 and 1980, Sloterdijk stayed at the ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) in Pune, India. His Critique of Cynical Reason, first published in 1983, is one of the best-selling philosophy books of the twentieth century. Sloterdijk became a professor of philosophy and aesthetics at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design in 1992, and was the rector from 2001–2015. He directed the department of cultural philosophy and media theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna from 1993–2008. From 2002–2012, he co-hosted Das Philosophische Quartett [The Philosophical Quartet], a television show on the German channel ZDF, with Rüdiger Safranski. Peter Sloterdijk has been awarded numerous prizes and honorary doctorates (Ernst Robert Curtius Prize, 1993; Sigmund Freud Prize, 2005; Ludwig Börne Prize, 2013, etc.). In 2013, the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute in Switzerland named him one of the “100 most influential thinkers in the world.” 

[Last update: July 2017]