Adolf Grünbaum was born on 15 May 1923 in Cologne Germany. In 1938 he emigrated to the United States and naturalised in 1944. He earned his BA from Wesleyan University Connecticut in 1943. From 1944 to 1946 he served in the U.S. Army. Following the war he earned his MS in physics from Yale University in 1948. He married Thelma Braverman on 26 June 1949.
He earned his PhD in philosophy in 1951. He held a teaching post at Lehigh University from 1950 until 1960. During this time he was promoted first to professor of philosophy (in 1955), and then to the position of Selfridge Professor of Philosophy (in 1956). In 1960 he left Lehigh University for the position of Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh.
In 1985 he was the Werner Heisenberg lecturer at the Barvarian Academy of Sciences and the Gifford Lecturer at the University of St Andrews.
His publications include: Modern Science and Zeno’s Paradoxes (2nd ed. 1968); Philosophical Problems of Space and Time (1973); The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophical Critique (1984); Validation in the Clinical Theory of Psychoanalysis: A Study in the Philosophy of Psychoanalysis (1993).