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Published Books

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Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience  Second Edition 
(extra 80,000 words) Wiley 2022

This ground-breaking volume, co-authored with a leading neuroscientist, investigates the conceptual flaws in contemporary cognitive neuroscience. Now in its second edition, this acclaimed work has been comprehensively expanded to address the latest issues and critiques.  

“This is a wonderful book that will illuminate, provoke and delight professional scientists, philosophers, and general readers alike.”

Damian Grace

“Sweeping, argumentative, and brilliant, this book will provoke widespread discussion among philosophers and neuroscientists alike.”

Dennis Patterson

“[It] will certainly, for a long time to come, be the most important contribution to the mind-body problem there is.”

Georg Henrik von Wright 


The final volume of Hacker’s tetralogy on human nature. It deals with the nature of good and evil, virtues and vices, freedom and determinism, pleasure and happiness, the meaning of life and the place of death in life. It presents a comprehensive logico-grammatical description of the conceptual scheme we use to think about ourselves, our relationships to others, and our place in the world.  The tetralogy constitutes the culmination of fifty years of studying and teaching philosophy.

"Hacker’s magnum opus is an intriguing exploration of what it means to be human.  The series is the exposition of the wisdom he has derived over his career from Wittgenstein and many other philosophers, including, importantly, Aristotle. The revelation is the simplicity and common sense with which he describes the nature of living beings in general, and human beings in particular." 

Joanna Moncrieff

Intellectual Entertainments, Eight Philo

Intellectual Entertainments: Eight Philosophical Dialogues on Consciousness, Mind and Body 226pp




A collection of philosophical dialogues, each with five participants. These include great philosophers such as Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Frege, Wittgenstein and Strawson, each speaking in the idiom of his times. Themes range over the mind and the mind-body relation, consciousness and its demystification, and the nature of thought and its relation to speech.

“No one interested in philosophy should miss this exceptional opportunity to enter the philosophical fray through dialogues spiced with humour, and achieve clarity on the most difficult and controversial philosophical questions. This is a tour de force by the most eminent Wittgenstein scholar of our time.”  

Daniele Moyal-Sharrock

“In these engaging dialogues Peter Hacker has distilled a lifetime’s meticulous and insightful philosophical reflection on consciousness, thought and the nature of the mind, and the often misguided ways in which we talk and think about them.” 

John Cottingham

Dialogues sur la pensée, l’esprit, le corps, et la conscience, trs. Michel le Dou & Benoit Gaultier (Agone, Marseille, 2021), 272pp. [a translation of five of the dialogues, with additions]




The third volume of the tetralogy on human nature. Part 1 examines the general concept of emotion, part 2 investigates pride, arrogance and humility, shame embarrassment and guilt, envy, jealousy, and anger. Part 3 explores love, friendship, sympathy and empathy. 


"The passions by PMS Hacker is a wonderful read. The most eminent scholar of Wittgenstein, and one of the world’s greatest philosophers, analyses human emotions throughout the ages.” Matthew Sayed

“A survey of astonishing breadth and penetration. No cognitive neuroscientist should ever conduct an experiment in the domain of the emotions without reading this book, twice.”

Parashkev Nachev

“There is not a slack moment in the whole of this impressive work. With his remarkable facility for making fine distinctions, and his commitment to lucidity, Peter Hacker has subtly characterised those emotions which make up our all too human nature. This is an important book for philosophers but since most of its illustrative material comes from an astonishing range of literature, it is required reading for anyone with an interest in understanding who we are.”

David Ellis


This is a collection of Hacker's papers on Wittgensteinian themes written over the last decade. It presents Hacker's own (Wittgensteinian) conception of philosophy, and defends it against criticisms. The volume complements Hacker's previous collection, Wittgenstein: Connections and Controversies (OUP, 2001), but stands as an independent contribution to work in the field.



Two essays compare Wittgenstein with Kant on transcendental arguments. Two further essays trace the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy of psychology, and examine his anthropological and ethnological approach. This leads naturally to a synoptic comparison of Wittgenstein's later philosophy of language with truth-conditional conceptions of language. There are two clarificatory essays: the first concerns Wittgenstein's conception of grammar, and his exclusion of theses, doctrines, and opinions in philosophy; the second concerns his treatment of intentionality. The penultimate essay examines Quine's epistemological naturalism, which is often presented as a more scientific approach to philosophical problems than Wittgenstein's. The final essay offers a synoptic view of analytic philosophy and its history, in which Wittgenstein played so notable a part.

The Intellectual Powers A Study of Human

The Intellectual Powers – A Study of Human Nature 475pp



The second volume of the tetralogy on human nature. The first part is concerned with consciousness, intentionality, and mastery of a language. The second surveys the cognitive faculties of knowledge, belief, sensation, perception, and memory. The final part investigates the cogitative powers of thought and imagination. 

"Peter Hacker is the most subtle and penetrating philosopher of the age. He has demolished the pretentions of cognitive neuroscience and caused outrage among fellow philosophers by showing that many of their claims are meaningless. His most recent book, is another masterpiece, examining the cognitive capacities of the human species. If, as the Ancient Greeks believed, philosophy is the most important subject, Hacker is one of our most seminal thinkers.” 

Matthew Syed, The Times

“This is Peter Hacker at his best– an investigation of the cognitive and cogitative powers that distinguish us from other animals, which is at once painstaking, unsettling, and bracing.”

Adrian Moore

"A meticulous, illuminating and brilliantly sustained exercise in conceptual cartography. This is Peter Hacker writing at the the height of his formidable powers and displaying his unerring ability to uncover philosophical pretension and confusion.” 

John Cottingham

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History of Cognitive Neuroscience Co-authored with M. R. Bennett. 320pp




History of Cognitive Neuroscience documents the major neuroscientific experiments and theories over the last century and a half in the domain of cognitive neuroscience, and evaluates the cogency of the conclusions that have been drawn from them. It provides a companion work to the highly acclaimed Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience - combining scientific detail with philosophical insights. Accompanied by more than 100 illustrations.

"The authors are experts in cognitive neuroscience and discuss the landmark experiments which have significantly influenced the field. it is a veritable treasure trove of knowledge." 



Mind, Method and Morality – Essays in Honour of Anthony Kenny Co-edited with John Cottingham. 391pp


Mind, Method and Morality celebrates Kenny's work by focusing on the four great philosophers to whom Kenny has given special attention; Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, and Wittgenstein. It contains four essays on each philosopher written by leading specialists. 


“The essays in this volume are worthy tributes to Anthony Kenny. They go some way towards repaying philosophy’s debt to him.

Mike Inwood

“No one, not even a scholar as distinguished as Anthony Kenny, could ask for a more handsome published tribute than this: sixteen essays by first-class scholars, ranging over the full spectrum of Kenny's historical interests, each offering its own personal homage to the honoree before embarking on historical scholarship of the highest order.

Robert Pasnau



Human Nature The Categorial

Human Nature – The Categorial Framework 344pp

The first volume of a tetralogy on human nature. The most general categorial concepts we use to think about ourselves and the world, substance, causation, power, teleology, rationality, mind and body, are subjected to comprehensive analysis.

“An outstanding contribution to contemporary metaphysics and philosophical anthropology.” Stephen Mulhall

"Blends powerful philosophical analysis with masterful grasp of the history of philosophical reflection on the topics in question.”

APA PsychNet 

“An amazing achievement when writing about such potentially confusing and hotly contested issues.”

Duncan Richter



Neuroscience and Philosophy, Language, M

Neuroscience & Philosophy: Language, Mind, & Brain 

Co-authored with Max Bennett, Daniel Dennett and John Searle. 215pp

The proceedings of an authors' and critics' session of the American Philosophical Association in New York 2005 on Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience, in which Bennett and Hacker confronted Dennett and Searle.

“This four-cornered discussion must rank as one of the great philosophical debates of our generation and gives the reader an unparalleled chance to reach a personal decision on issues of fundamental intellectual importance.”

Anthony Kenny 

“Peter Hacker’s philosophically rich and informed critique [is] … a careful and, yes, elegant application of the better tools philosophers haver fashioned.”

Daniel Robinson 

“If you can get two sworn and unrestrained philosophical enemies such as Daniel Dennett and John Searle to join forces against you, you must at the very least be described as the controversialists of our time." 

Akeel Bilgrami 



A collection of thirteen of the author’s papers, including two papers on the relation of Wittgenstein’s philosophy to Frege’s and two papers on the New American Wittgensteinians.

“The book bears all the hallmarks of Hacker’s writing. It exhibits his usual high standard of scholarship and erudition. It provides a characteristically bracing assault on various philosophical prejudices of our time. I cannot begin to do justice to its countless virtues … this is a wonderful collection of essays.” Adrian Moore

“This extremely rich and substantial book is to be recommended to all those who will want to benefit from or challenge the subtle arguments of one of the foremost experts on Wittgenstein.” 

Edward Kanterian

A clear and concise introduction to Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy and his philosophy of mind. It makes the radical aspects of Wittgenstein’s philosophy accessible to non-academic educated readers.

"A brilliant little book on Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mind"

Joanna Moncrieff

"Rarely have intellectual sophistication and complexity come so cheap" 

Financial Times

"Should improve the cultural circulation of philosophy"



Wittgenstein's Place in Twentieth Centur

Wittgenstein's Place in Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy 346pp



A comprehensive overview of analytic philosophy from the 1890s to the 1970s with special reference to Wittgenstein’s role in it. It is a postscript to the multi-volume analytical commentary.

“Hacker’s book delivers even more than its title promises.The central theme, of the character and dramatic evolution of Wittgenstein’s thought, is brilliantly developed. At the same time, the placing of that theme in the wider context of the background and greatly varying successive phases of all that falls under the heading of ‘analytic philosophy’ is executed with comprehensive scholarship and masterly skill. The result is an outstanding work of intellectual history which will fascinate all practitioners and all students of the subject.”

Peter Strawson 

“The most impressive history of the analytic movement yet written. Along the way, Hacker provides perceptive and original accounts of the impact of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus on the Viennese logical positivists, and of his Philosophical Investigations on post-war Oxford philosophy"

Ray Monk

Wittgenstein: Mind and Will, Volume 4 of an Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations  734pp



Part 1: The Essays 289pp

“Scholarly and erudite … Hacker’s chapters on the will and intention exemplify his enormous competence in reading Wittgenstein … No one seriously interested in Wittgenstein can ignore this work.”

Michel ter Hark

“The essays successfully place Wittgenstein’s descriptive achievements in the context of many debates in the philosophy of mind. Wittgenstein’s own distinctive perspective … is masterfully expounded.”

Ernst Michael Lange 


Part 2: The Exegesis §428 - §693  462pp

“It must rank alongside the greatest contributions to philosophical scholarship … since it combines, on a momentous scale, authoritative textual exegesis, philosophical insight, encyclopedic knowledge of historical background, and lucidity of expression.”  

H.-J. Glock 

"Essential reading for any serious student of Wittgenstein. Anybody reading Philosophical Investigations would do well to keep it by their side"

Ray Monk

The final volume of analytical commentary on the Philosophical Investigations, covering intentionality, the autonomy of grammar, memory, intention and will, and meaning something by one’s words.



This is the first book in English on one of the greatest French engravers of the twentieth century, incorporating a biographical memoir of the artist by his friend, the distinguished French academic Marc Fumaroli, a detailed essay on Vieillard's engravings by the editor, P.M.S. Hacker, and an essay on Vieillard's livres d'artiste by Eunice Martin.


In addition there are extensive biographical data and a selection from the artist's own writings. The volume also includes the catalogue of the exhibition of Vieillard's engravings held at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in 1993 and at the National Museum of Wales in1994.

Wittgenstein: Meaning and Mind, Vol 3 of an Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations 602pp





Part 1: The Essays  312pp

“One can only admire Hacker’s clarity, insight and encyclopaedic range …  His explanatory and exploratory essays add to the debates on the topics they address, and there, as throughout he combines philosophical acuity and plain good sense … This volume is a formidable achievement." 

A.C. Grayling


“A wonderful book … it provides a lasting contribution to Wittgenstein studies … essential reading for cognitive and social psychologists.”  

Stuart Shanker

Part 2: The Exegesis §243-427  290pp

“In the exegesis of Wittgenstein, Peter Hacker’s work is pre-eminent. This revised edition of Wittgenstein: Meaning and Mind shows him capable of surpassing even himself. Through the deepening of his own understanding and appreciation of Wittgenstein’s arguments comes a deepening of the reader’s. The result is exhilarating.”

Adrian Moore

“Hacker’s expositions are typically detailed, careful, and informative; they draw on a wide rang of Wittgenstein’s writings, including his Nachlass, to present an impressively coherent picture of Wittgenstein’s later views on meaning and mind.”

Paul Moser

The third volume of analytical commentary on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, revised edition in two parts:


The Renaissance of Gravure: the art of S.W. Hayter 125 pp



This is a book and catalogue published for an exhibition of the prints of Stanley William Hayter at the Ashmolean Museum and Glascow Museum of Art, curated by the author in 1988

“Peter Hacker is a philosopher who became fascinated by Hayter’s imagery, and he contributes with elegance and authority to these essays, which provide a first survey of Hayter’s work.”

Paddy Kitchen 

“There is an excellent catalogue too for the exhibition of the art of S. W. Hayter, initiated and organized by a philosopher from St John’s College, Dr Peter Hacker.”

Giles Auty

Appearance and reality , A philosophical

Appearance and Reality - a philosophical investigation into perception and perceptual qualities 243 pp

A critical investigation into the doctrine of primary and secondary qualities and a defence of the objectivity of sensible qualities.

“Welcome and salutary . . .  ought to be taken very seriously indeed.”

Times Higher Education Supplement 

“A clear, vigorous, well-written and very readable exposition of a Wittgensteinian approach to the epistemology and metaphysics of perception.”

Review of Metaphysics

“A very good philosophical book”




Wittgenstein Rules, Grammar, and Necessi

Wittgenstein: Rules, Grammar, and Necessity - Vol 2 of an analytical commentary on the Philosophical Investigations– Essays and Exegesis of §§185-242

Co-authored with G.P. Baker. Second edition extensively revised by PMS Hacker. 380pp

The second volume of the analytic commentary on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, including a detailed overview of Wittgenstein’s views on logic, mathematics, and grammatical propositions.

"This second volume has all the scholarly virtues of its predecessor. It is imbued with massive learning."

Malcolm Budd

“[The authors] showed in the first volume that they had in full measure the combination of scholarship and philosophical excellence needed to expound and illuminate the intricacies of the text. That combination is apparent on every page of the present work.”  

Bede Rundle



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Scepticism, Rules and Language

 Co-authored with G.P. Baker. 135pp

A comprehensive criticism of Saul Kripke’s interpretation of Wittgenstein’s remarks on following rules based on Wittgenstein’s manuscripts. It demonstrates definitively that Kripke’s sceptical interpretation is far removed from anything Wittgenstein ever dreamt of. It advances a critique of Kripke’s ‘community view’ of rule-following and it explains the internal relation between a rule and what counts as following it.



Language, Sense and Nonsense, a critical

Language, Sense and Nonsense, a critical investigation into modern theories of language

Co-authored with G.P. Baker. 392pp

A polemical critique of twentieth-century theoretical linguistics (especially Chomsky) and of philosophical (truth-conditional) theories of meaning for a natural language (especially Dummett and Davidson)

“It could be the most important – and is likely to be the most controversial – challenge of the present decade to academic idées reçues about language.”

Roy Harris



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Frege: Logical Excavations

Co-authored with G.P. Baker. 406pp

A critical overview of Frege’s logical and logico-philosophical works, presenting them in the nineteenth century mathematical and logical contexts in which they were written. 



“...a sustained and informed critique of Frege, and should make all of us who admire Frege re-think and re-examine our understanding and our assessment of his various well-known doctrines. In this regard, it is a welcome addition to the growing literature on Frege.”

J.N. Mohanty 


“Highly controversial, but it anticipated many results of the more historically minded revisionism that has come to prevail in Frege scholarship.”

H. J. Glock

Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning,

Volume1 of an Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations

Co-authored with G.P. Baker. Second edition extensively revised by PMS Hacker 757pp



Part 1: The Essays 394pp

“The Bergen edition (of the complete Wittgenstein manuscripts) and the Hacker-Baker commentary remain as the principal monuments of Wittgenstein scholarship.”

Anthony Kenny

“Baker and Hacker skilfully conduct the reader through the tangles of controversy that surround the topics of sense and meaning. They have an admirable grasp of the whole corpus of Wittgenstein’s writings.” Norman Malcolm 

Part 2: The Exegesis §1 - §§184   363pp

"I cannot do without it, both in the sense that I need it to get all kinds of historical or philological information, as well as philosophical stimulation, and in the sense that I have become addicted to the book's magisterial way of bringing out and dealing with the difficulties of Wittgenstein's masterpiece." Joachim Schulte

“This meticulously revised second edition of volume 1 serves as a reminder that over a quarter of a century later the commentary remains unsurpassed, while also ensuring that it is kept up to date. No one seriously interested in Wittgenstein should do without it.”  

Constantine Sandis 


The first volume, in two parts: essays and exegesis, of the most detailed and comprehensive commentary on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations.



Law, Morality and Society, essays in hon

Law, Morality and Society, essays in honour of H.L.A. Hart

Co-edited with J. Raz 312pp

A Festschrift for Herbert Hart, one of the two or three greatest philosophers of law of the twentieth century.


The volume consists of sixteen essays by leading legal, constitutional and political theorists of the 1970s. 




Insight and Illusion : Themes in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein Revised Edition 341pp

An overall survey of Wittgenstein’s work from the Tractatus to the Investigations, tracing the evolution of Wittgenstein's thought. This edition has been extensively revised to take into account the wealth of Wittgenstein's writings that have become accessible since 1972.



To this day, the revised edition of Insight and Illusion is probably the best single book on Wittgenstein.H.-J. Glock

This book is an excellent overview of Wittgenstein’s two masterpieces and the relationship between them. Highly recommended.

Matthew Broome 

This is still today simply the best single volume introduction to Wittgenstein’s philosophy available. Eminently readable, lucid, precise and wide-ranging.

R. G. De Villiers



Repr. as 3rd ed. in hb and pb with Foreword by Constantine Sandis (Anthem Press, London, 2021), 341pp. ISBN-13: 978-1-78527-686-6, ISBN-10: 78527-686--7

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