Josef Seifert was born in 1945 in Seekirchen near Salzburg. He received his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Salzburg in 1969 and, under Professor Robert Spaemann, his habilitation from the University of Munich (Privatdozent) in 1975. He studied chiefly under Balduin Schwarz, the most distinguished German former student of Dietrich von Hildebrand, at the University of Salzburg, and under Gabriel Marcel in Paris. Since his childhood (from age 3 on) he knew von Hildebrand in person, because Seifert's mother (Edith Schuchter-Seifert) had been a student of von Hildebrand in Munich and both of his parents were von Hildebrand's friends.
From his early youth (age 12) on, Seifert admired von Hildebrand not only as a person and as a convert to Catholicism, but also as a great philosopher, and started to read his books. He received the most important personal, philosophical and religious formation through von Hildebrand, whom Seifert met many times in person in Austria and Italy during vacation periods. In the Fall semester 1964, when von Hildebrand was Visiting Professor at the University of Salzburg, Seifert took a seminar and lecture course from him, and in the Spring Semester 1966 he studied with him (privately) and worked on a translation of one of his books in New Rochelle. Von Hildebrand was his most important teacher of philosophy and more than that: a spiritual father. The close relationship with von Hildebrand, who saw in Seifert his philosophical heir whom he entrusted (with his wife Alice (Jourdain) von Hildebrand) the responsibility for the posthumous publication of his works, lasted until von Hildebrand's death. Many personal letters addressed to him are in the possession of Seifert.
From 1973 to 1980 Seifert was Professor and Director of the doctoral program of philosophy at the University of Dallas where he was able to receive von Hildebrand as a Visiting Professor. In 1980 Seifert co-founded and became Director of the International Academy of Philosophy (IAP) in Irving, Texas; he has been Rector of the IAP in Liechtenstein since 1986, and of the IAP at the Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile en Santiago (IAP-PUC) since 2004. He is presently also Rector and Full Professor of Philosophy at the IAP, and Profesor titular asociado de la Facultad de Filosofía de la Pontifícia Universidad Católica de Chile en Santiago.