Lynne Rudder Baker was born on 14 February 1944 in Atlanta, Georgia. She completed a B.A. in mathematics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1966. After a year studying philosophy at Johns Hopkins University on a National Defense Education Act Fellowship (1967–1968), she returned to Nashville to marry. She resumed her graduate studies at Vanderbilt, completing an M.A. in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1972, both in philosophy.
Baker’s first academic appointment was at Mary Baldwin College, where she served from 1972 to 1976. During 1974–1975, she held an Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. Baker left Mary Baldwin College in 1976 to take up a post at Middlebury College. She was a fellow of the National Humanities Center (1983–1984) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (1988–1989). From 1989 to 1994, she taught at both Middlebury and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst during alternate semesters, but she resigned from Middlebury in 1994.
Baker continues to teach at the University of Massachusetts, where she served as director of the Graduate Program from 1994 to 2003. She is a member of Grace Episcopal Church in Amherst. As well as her contribution to the Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow, Professor Baker delivered the Kraemer Lectures at the University of Arkansas in 2002.
In addition to her numerous contributions to books and journal articles, she has published three monographs: Saving Belief: A Critique of Physicalism (1987); Explaining Attitudes: A Practical Approach to the Mind (1995); and Persons and Bodies: A Constitution View (2000). A volume of critical essays devoted to her work, entitled Explaining Beliefs: Lynne Rudder Baker and Her Critics, was edited by Anthonie Meijers (2001).