Peter D. Klein was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1940. His father, Bela Klein, was born in 1902 to a Jewish family in Austria-Hungary. In 1938, Bela escaped Europe through the aid of the American Friends Service Committee.
Peter Klein grew up in Cincinnati. During his time attending Walnut Hills High School, he participated in activities at the Fellowship House of Cincinnati and then became involved in the civil rights movement through the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE).
During his undergraduate years, Klein went to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He attended Highlander Folk School and received training in nonviolent civil disobedience. In the summertime, he worked in fire towers in Montana and ended up working for the Forest Service every summer from 1961 to 1983. Studying under Rulon S. Wells III at Yale University, Klein earned his M.A. in 1964 and Ph.D. in philosophy in 1966.
After beginning his career as a professor at Colgate University from 1966 to 1970, he came to Livingston College at Rutgers University in 1970, during the second year of the college's operation. He and his wife lived in Quad 2 as faculty resident advisors for three years. Klein helped shape the philosophy curriculum at Livingston College in its early years, and then once the faculties of the undergraduate colleges merged into the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), he served as the Chair of the Department of Philosophy three times.
In 1987, Klein became the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Associate Provost for Humanities/Fine Arts, a post he held until 1992. He served as the Acting Associate Dean of the FAS from 1999 to 2000 and then as the Executive Vice Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences from 2006 to 2009. In 2016, after forty-six years as a faculty member and administrator at Rutgers University, Klein retired. As Professor Emeritus, he continues to write and give talks about philosophy, focusing on the various theories of justification: foundationalism, coherentism and infinitism.
Photo courtesy of Peter Klein's web page on the Department of Philosophy website