Grote Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic, University College London

Visiting Professor, University of Bath

Chairman Emeritus, Royal Institute of Philosophy

Principal interests: being conscious, mind and brain etc, determinism and its consequences for us, the mistake of taking determinism to be just compatible or just incompatible with freedom, causation and other connections of law, right and wrong, humanity and equality, terrorism, democracy, the tradition of conservatism, state punishment, philosophy as ordinary logic



Informal Summary


Principal Books

Edited Books

Selected Papers

Editing of Series of Books

College & University Administration etc

Some Reviews, Lectures, Journalism, Broadcasts etc


Literary Agent




1933    Born Baden, Ontario, Canada, of John William Honderich and Rae Laura Armstrong. Undergraduate at the University of Toronto. In 1959 preferred graduate work with the Logical Positivist A. J. Ayer at University College London to graduate work at Harvard. Remained at UCL when Ayer left the Grote Chair to return to Oxford. Supervised by Stuart Hampshire, Bernard Williams, Richard Wollheim. Went native  in England, became British citizen. Also democratic socialist, proud of small civil disobedience of having sat down in Parliament Square with Bertrand Russell, resolute Leftwing books.


 1962   First lectureship in philosophy at University of Sussex, two years.  On returning to University College London, was successively Lecturer, Reader, Professor, and then Grote Professor. Visiting professor at Yale University, Graduate Centre of the City University of New York, Brooklyn College, University of Lethbridge.


1960/70's  Journal articles on the nature of truth, Russell's theory of descriptions. Commissioned book Punishment: The Supposed Justifications (1969). Articles on causation, determinism, the nature of time, justice, and John Stuart Mill's On Liberty. Because of punishment book, invited pieces on political violence. Became Three Essays on Political Violence (1977), later revised and republished as Violence for Equality: Inquiries in Political Philosophy.


1980's  Philosophy of Mind articles on psychoneural or mind-brain lawlike connection, against Donald Davidson's Anomalous Monism. Main book A Theory  of Determinism: The Mind, Neuroscience, and Life-Hopes , 644 pp (1988). Not widely read, republished as paperbacks Mind and Brain and The Consequences of Determinism. 1981 article proposing fundamental principle of justice or equality, later rechristened Principle of Humanity.


1990's  Articles included advocacy of the Union Theory of mind and brain in place of the Identity Theory, and pieces on consciousness, its subjectivity, perception, neural functionalism, hierarchic democracy, and moral consequentialism. Books Conservatism (1990), in hope of helping to defeat that political tradition in the coming election, and How Free are You? (1993), subsequently translated seven times. Book edited was The Oxford Companion to Philosophy.


Also 1990's  Articles proceeding from conviction, widely enough shared, that current Philosophy of Mind, whatever is to be said of various sciences of the mind, has run into a dead end. Existing theories of the nature consciousness either devout physicalism or spiritualism -- mysterious dualism. Something different needed.


2001   A book Philosopher: A Kind of Life, a philosophical autobiography and a kind of picture of a profession and academic life. Attempt at personal truth. Successful.


2002    After the Terror prompted  by September 11, but about more, including morality, acts and omissions. In passing, a  moral defence of the Palestinians against neo-Zionism, i.e. enlargement of Israel after 1967. Book charged with anti-semitism in Germany as a result, 'banned' by original publisher, republished by another Jewish publisher, large controversy.


Since 2003  Collection of papers On Consciousness, public controversy with Colin McGinn about his critical review, maybe unprecedented in recent philosophical decades. Collection of papers On Political Means and Social Ends (not = the earlier Social Ends and Political Means). Considerable revision of Violence for Equality: Inquiries in Political Philosophy, under new title Terrorism for Humanity: Inquiries in Political Philosophy.


Also since 2003  Collection of papers On Determinism and Freedom, and greatly revised edition of Conservatism under title Conservatism: Burke, Nozick, Bush, Blair? New and revised edition of  the punishment book of 1969. A second edition of The Oxford Companion to Philosophy.


2006  Humanity, Terrorism, Terrorist War: Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7/7... Published in America as Right and Wrong, and Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7/7....


2006  Work towards new theory of nature of consciousness -- Radical Externalism or Consciousness as Existence -- the subject of 11 articles by other philosophers in special edition of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. Also published as book, Radical Externalism: Honderich's Theory of Consciousness Discussed. Fundamental proposition: what it is for you to be perceptually conscious is for a state of affairs to exist in a way outside your head. Not literary or metaphorical utterance or the like, but proposal for literal conceptual revision. 

2014 Publication of Actual Consciousness, completion of new theory of consciousness. Basis of occasional hope for posthumous existence. Further strengthening of Lef t morals and politics. Contemplating book of.


1965-1990  Time also spent editing three series of philosophy books: The International Library of Philosophy and Scientific Method, and The Arguments of the Philosophers, and The Problems of Philosophy:Their Past and Present, for Routledge. Also various titles for Penguin.


Lived in Hampstead in London for decades, changed less than it, found better place for philosophy in Somerset, then in 2007 Highgate Wood, aka Muswell Hill Road, London. Happy husband of Ingrid Coggin Purkiss as she was, exemplary critic and gardener, lately The Secretary of The Royal Institute of Philosophy. Fourth marriage. Father of Kiaran Honderich and John Ruan Honderich, by second of four marriages. Many liaisons, no deception.


Recreations: wine, old  vicarage, Land Rover in Somerset, north London again, being read all of Trollope novels, decent and inexpensive restaurants, lunch at Garrick Club on Friday.





Edgar Dawn Ross Honderich

30 January 1933

Nationality: British


66, Muswell Hill Rd., London, N10 3JR


website: http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho


Education at home and at schools in Baden, Kitchener, and Toronto. University of Toronto, entrance scholarship, awards and prizes. B.A. Hons. Philosophy and English Literature, 1959. Postgraduate awards by British Council, Canada Council, Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Programme. Ph.D in Philosophy, University College London, 1968.


Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Sussex, 1962-64

Lecturer, University College London, 1964-72

Reader, 1972-83

Professor, 1983-88

Visiting Professor, Yale, 1970

Visiting Professor, Graduate Centre, City University of New York, 1971

Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic, University College London 1988-98

Vice Chairman, The Royal Institute of Philosophy, 1995-2005

Chairman, The Royal Institute of Philosophy, 2005-

Visiting Professor, University of Bath, 2003-




16   Actual Consiousness, Oxford University Press, 2014,     

15   Radical Externalism: Honderich's Theory of Consciousness Discussed, Imprint Academic, 2006, ed. Anthony Freeman. Half of book by T.H. -- opening paper and 11 other papers in reply to 11 papers by philosophers Harold Brown, Tim Crane, James Garvey, Stephen Law, E. J. Lowe, Derek Matravers, Paul Noordhof, Ingmar Persson, Stephen Priest, Barry C. Smith, Paul Snowdon.


14   Humanity, Terrorism, Terrorist War: Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7,7..., Continuum, UK edition, 2006; Right and Wrong and Palestine, 9/11, Iraq, 7/7... Seven Stories Press, US edition.


13   Punishment, the Supposed Justifications Revisited, Pluto Press, 2006. Greatly revised edition of Punishment, The Supposed Justifications.


12   Conservatism: Burke, Nozick, Bush, Blair? Pluto Press, 2005, greatly revised and enlarged edition of Conservatism.


11   On Determinism and Freedom, collected papers, Edinburgh University Press, 2005


10   On Consciousness, collected papers, Edinburgh University Press, 2004


9   Terrorism for Humanity: Inquiries in Political Philosophy, Pluto Press, 2004, revised and retitled edition. German translation.


8   On Political Means and Social Ends, collected papers, Edinburgh University Press, 2003


7   After the Terror, Edinburgh University Press, 2002. German translations Suhrkamp Verlag and then Melzer Verlag, 2002. Expanded edition 2003. Greek, Japanese translations.


6   Philosopher: A Kind of Life, Routledge, 2001


5   How Free Are You? The Determinism Problem, Oxford University Press, 1993. German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, Polish, Romanian translations, Enlarged edition 2002.


4   Conservatism, Hamish Hamilton, Westfield, Penguin, 1990, 1991. Spanish, German translations.


3   A Theory of Determinism: The Mind, Neuroscience and Life-Hopes, Oxford University Press, 1998, 644 pp. 1st half republished as Mind and Brain, 2nd as The Consequences of Determinism 1990.


2   Three Essays on Political Violence, Blackwells, Political Violence, Cornell University Press, 1976. In 1980, 1989, somewhat enlarged edition entitled Violence for Equality: Inquiries in Political Philosophy, Penguin, Routledge.


1   Punishment: The Supposed Justifications, Hutchinson, Harcourt Brace, Penguin, Polity, Pluto Press, 1969, 1971, 1984, 1989




9    Philosophers of Our Times. Royal Institute of Philosophy Annual Lectures. Introductions by editor. 2014.

8   Oxford Companion to Philosophy, ed., Oxford University Press, new edition, Feb 2005


7   A. J. Ayer: Writings on Philosophy, ed., 6 volumes, Palgrave Macmillan Archive Press, 2004


6   The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, ed., Oxford University Press, 1995. Arabic, Polish, Spanish translations. Excerpts in The Philosophers: Introducing Great Western Thinkers, Oxford University Press, 1999


5   Morality and Objectivity: A Tribute to J. L. Mackie, ed., Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985


4   Philosophy Through Its Past, anthology, ed., Penguin, 1984


3   Philosophy As It Is, anthology, co-ed. with Myles Burnyeat, Allen Lane, Penguin, 1979


2   Social Ends and Political Means, ed., Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1976


1   Essays on Freedom of Action, ed., Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973





2004  'Introduction to the Collection', A. J. Ayer: Writings on Philosophy, 6 volumes, Palgrave Macmillan Archive Press


2004  'Consciousness as Existence, Devout Physicalism, Spiritualism', Mind and



2004  'After Compatibilism and Incompatibilism', Freedom and Determinism, ed.

Joseph Keim Campbell, Michael O'Rourke, David Shier, MIT Press


2004  'Palestinian Terrorism, Morality and Germany', Rechtsphilosophisches

Hefte, x


2003  'After the Terror: A Book and Further Thoughts', Journal of Ethics


2003  'Perceptual, Reflective and Affective Consciousness as Existence', Minds

and Persons, Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, ed. Anthony O'Hear


2003  '20 Million Years of Living Time', The Monist


2002  'Determinism as True, Compatibilism and Incompatibilism as False, and the

Real Problem', The Oxford Handbook of Free Will, ed. Robert Kane


2001  'Consciousness As Existence, and the End of Intentionality', Philosophy at

the New Millenium, Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, ed. Anthony O'Hear


2001  'Mind the Guff: A Response to John Searle', Journal of Consciousness



2000  'Consciousness as Existence Again', Proceedings of the Twentieth World

Congress of Philosophy, also Theoria


2000  'Consciousness and Inner Tubes: On David Papineau's Introducing

Consciousness', Journal of Consciousness Studies


1998  'Compatibilism, Incompatibilism, and the Smart Aleck', Philosophy and

Phenomenological Review


1998  'Consciousness as Existence', Current Issues in the Philosophy of Mind,

Royal Institute of Philosophy Lectures, ed. Anthony O'Hear


1996  'Consequentialism, Moralities of Concern, and Selfishness', Philosophy


1995  'Consciousness, Neural Functionalism, Real Subjectivity', American

Philosophical Quarterly


1994  'Hierarchic Democracy and the Necessity of Mass Civil Disobedience',

Conway Memorial Lecture, South Place Ethical Society


1994  'Functionalism, Identity Theories, The Union Theory', The Mind-Body

Problem: The Current State of the Debate, ed. T. Szubka & R. Warner,



1994  'Seeing Things', Synthese


1993  'The Union Theory and Anti-Individualism', Mental Causation, ed. J. Heil

and A. Mele, Oxford University Press


1992  'Causation: One Thing Just Happens After Another', The Philosophy of A. J.

Ayer, The Library of Living Philosophers, ed. L. E. Hahn, Open Court


1992  'Seeing Qualia and Positing the World', A. J. Ayer Memorial Essays, 1989-90 Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture Series, Cambridge University Press, ed. A. Phillips-Griffiths


1992  'Conservatism Not Much Reconsidered', Utilitas


1992  'Conservatism, Ideology, Rationale and a Red Light', Radical Philosophy


1991  'Afterward to the Paperback Edition', Conservatism, Penguin


1991  'Better the Union Theory', Analysis


1990  'Introduction', A. J. Ayer, The Meaning of Life and Other Essays,



1987  'Mind, Brain and Self-Conscious Mind', Mindwaves, ed. C. Blakemore


1987  'Causation:  Rejoinder to Sanford'. Philosophy


1986  'Mind, Brain and Time: Rejoinder to Libet', Journal of Theoretical



1985  'Punishment, the New Retributivism, and Political Philosophy', Royal

Institute of Philosophy Proceedings


1984  'The Time of a Conscious Sensory Experience and Mind-Brain Theories',

Journal of  Theoretical Biology


1984  'The Principle of Equality: Reply to Nathan', Mind


1984  'Smith and the Champion of Mauve', Analysis


1984  'Actions and Psychophysical Intimacy', Inquiry


1983  'The Principle of Equality Defended', Politics


1983  'Anomalous Monism:  Reply to Smith', Analysis


1983  'Against Teleological Historical Materialism', Inquiry


1982  'On Liberty and Morality-Dependent Harms', Political Studies


1982  'Determinism and Politics', Midwest Studies in Philosophy


1982  'Causes and "If p, even if x, still q"', Philosophy


1982  'The Argument for Anomalous Monism', Analysis


1981  'Nomological Dualism:  Reply to Four Critics', Inquiry


1981  'Psychophysical Lawlike Connections and Their Problem', Inquiry,

with commenting articles by J. L. Mackie, S. Stich, T. L. S. Sprigge, E.



1981  'The Problem of Well-being and the Principle of Equality', Mind


1980  Critical discussion of Anthony Kenny, Will, Freedom and Power and Freewill

and Responsibility, in Mind


1979  'Four Conclusions about Violence of the Left', Canadian Journal of

Philosophy, 1979, also in Assent and Dissent, ed. J. P. White, Kendall



1977  'Temporal Relations and Temporal Qualities', Time and Philosophy (French

translation Le Temps et Les Philosophies), ed. Paul Ricoeur, UNESCO


1977  'Causes and Causal Circumstances as Necessitating'. Proceedings of the

Aristotelian Society


1975  'On Inequality and Violence, and Differences We Make Between Them', Royal

Institute of Philosophy Lectures


1975  'The Use of the Basic Proposition of a Theory of Justice', Mind


1974  'The Worth of J. S. Mill's On Liberty', Political Studies


1973  'A Difficulty with Democracy', Philosophy and Public Affairs


1973  'One Determinism', Essays on Freedom of Action, ed. Honderich


1973  'Democratic Violence', Philosophy and Public Affairs


1975  'Appraisals of Political Violence', Issues in Law and Morality, Proceedings Oberlin Colloquium, ed. Norman Care and Thomas Trelogan, Case Western Reserve University Press


1970  'A Conspectus of Determinism'. Supplementary Proceedings of the

Aristotelian Society


1969  'On Russell's Theory of Descriptions', Proceedings of the Aristotelian



1968  'Truth', Studies in Logical Theory, American Philosophical Quarterly

Monograph, ed. Nicholas Rescher


1968  'Mill on Liberty', Inquiry


1962  Bertrand Russell, Logic and Knowledge, review, Philosophy





1965-80  The International Library of Philosophy and Scientific Method, Routledge. c. 15 vols


1980-95  The Arguments of the Philosophers, Routledge, c. 15 vols.


1990-95  The Problems of Philosophy: Their Past and Present, c. 10 vols. Routledge.


1965-80 Penguin Philosophy books, c. 12 vols.





2005- Chairman, The Royal Institute of Philosophy, 2005-


1995-2005 Vice-Chairman, The Royal Institute of Philosophy


1989 Literary Executor, A. J. Ayer


1987-92 Head, Department of Philosophy, University College London


1986-9 Chairman, University of London Board of Philosophical Studies


1987-90 Chairman, University Boards of Examiners in Philosophy


1965-74 Departmental Tutor, Philosophy Department, UCL


various years Professorial Board, Academic Board, Library Committee, Committee on College  Governance, Pensions and Superannuation Committee, Appointment Committees


various years External Examiner, University of Ghana





1969-2006  lectures, talks to university philosophy departments, academic conferences, e.g. annual Towards A Science of Consciousness conference, in U.K., U.S., Canada, Ireland, continental European countries, Russia, China, Japan, Korea, Iran, Hawaii


2006   'The Real Friends of Terror', documentary television programme, Channel Five, Don't Get Me Started series, Liberty Bell Productions


2006   Discussion of Punishment: The Supposed Justifications Revisited, BBC Thinking Allowed programme, with Laurie Taylor


2005   'Humanity and Terrorism', House of Lords committee room debate with Lord Layard, Lord Parekh, Baroness O'Neill


2005   'On Being Persona Non Grata to Palestinians Too', CounterPunch


2004   'The Justification of Punishment', American public radio, Chicago


2004   'Mr Blair as Moralist', The Independent


2004   'Ted Honderich and the Newspaper LondonStudent, and a Postscript', http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/LondonStudent.html


2004   'The Way Things Are and the Need for a New Disrespect', lecture to Edinburgh Festival, Gothenberg Book Fair, Bath Festival


2003-4   entries on determinism & freedom for Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Oxford Companion to the Mind, Dictionary of the History of Ideas


2003   'The Fall and Rise of a Book in Germany: A Brief Account and Guide to Further Reading', http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho


2003   'Are Suicide Bombings Morally Defensible? A Reply to Richard Wolin', Chronicle of Higher Education, 24 October, http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/Wolinmyreply.html


2003   'I Have Not Changed My Mind: After the Terror, Germany, Palestine', Junge Welt, 14 November http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/terrnochangeEngl.html


2003   German television & radio on After the Terror


2003   'Banning a Book', Frankfurter Rundschau, 6 August http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/BrumlikReplybyTHEnglish.html


2002   Does the Book Have a Future?, Frome Festival Talk, privately printed, The Old School Press


2002   review, Bernard Williams, Truth and Truthfulness, in The Guardian


2002   'Good Enough?', review, Simon Blackburn, Being Good, in The Times


2002   'Oxfam G.B., 5000, Neo-Zionism, After the Terror, and Medical Aid for Palestinians', http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/ATTOxfam1.htm


2000   'Yes, Tony's Talking that Equality Talk', The Guardian


2000   'Hampstead: Goodbye To All That', Camden New Journal, http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/hampstead.htm


2000   'You Gotta Read It', review, John Searle, Mind, Language and Society, in Times Literary Supplement, http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/HonderichreviewSearle.html


1999? 'Consciousness', discussion with Roger Penrose, BBC In Our Time programme, chairman Melvyn Bragg. http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/PenroseHonderichBragg.html


1992   Newsnight, BBC, on J. S. Mill and the enforcement of morality


1992   'America on Trial', discussion with Profs. Kennedy, Zander, Channel 4


1990   'Fees and Ethics', Times Higher Educational Supplement, 1990


1990   'Free Will Discussed', with Janet Radcliffe Richards, BBC Open University broadcast


1989   'Simple Names and Language-Games', on Ludwig Wittgenstein, Radio 3


1989   'A Conversation with A. J. Ayer', Radio 3


1988   'Introduction' to A. J. Ayer, 'The Meaning of Life', Conway Memorial Lecture


1988   'Life-Hopes: A Conversation Between Ted Honderich and Mary Warnock', on A Theory of Determinism: The Mind, Neuroscience, and Life-Hopes, Radio 3, 16 May


1986   'Reasons', Six Debates, Anglia Television


1984   'Voices' programmes, presenter, Channel 4, 1984


1984   review, Derek Parfit, Reasons and Persons, in New Statesman, 4 May


1982   review, Bernard Williams, Moral Luck, in New Statesman, 15 Jan


1981   review, Donald Davidson, Essays on Actions and Events, in New Statesman, 3 April


1981   review, C. L. Ten, Mill on Liberty, in Times Higher Educational Supplement


1980   critical discussion of Anthony Kenny, Will, Freedom and Power and Freewill and Responsibility, in Mind


1977   'Political Violence -- Is It Possible to Have an Open Mind?', The Times, 26 Jan


1975   'Letter From Ghana', Radio 3 talk, one of 2 or 3 from Ghana





Garrick Club

Aristotelian Society

Mind Association

Labour Party 


Cooperative Society