Rolf Schock was born in France in 1933. His parents emigrated from Germany in 1931 and settled in the USA. Rolf Schock, who became an American citizen, went to school in New York and New Jersey. He continued his education at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque, where he majored in geology and psychology, and read mathematics as a subsidiary subject. After taking his BA. in 1955 he began postgraduate studies in philosophy at the University of California, first at Berkeley and then at Los Angeles.
In 1960 Schock moved to Sweden, where he pursued his studies in philosophy at the university of Stockholm, taking the degree of Fil. Lic. in 1964. During his studies at Los Angeles, where he was influenced by the American philosopher Richard Montague, he developed what was to become a lifelong interest in logic and its application to philosophy.
He was especially interested in certain deviant logics that make no existence assumptions, and wrote a dissertation on this topic, for which he was awarded the degree of Ph.D. at Uppsala University in 1968. This study, Logics without Existence Assumptions, was an early work in what is now known as free logic, and it has often been cited by scholars in this field. In addition he wrote many other works in logic and philosophy of science, including several books and a large number of articles in international journals.
After taking his doctorate Schock became Assistant Professor at Uppsala University in 1969. He held lectureships for a brief period at the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm, and for many years the Royal Institute of Technology provided him with a base. Never getting a permanent appointment, he led a very simple life as an independent scholar, devoted to his research in logic and related areas of philosophy. Having studied art at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, he was a keen painter. Some of his pictures were exhibited in Stockholm. He was also a keen photographer and traveller.
Rolf Schock died in an accident on 5 December 1986. After his death it came as a surprise to most of his colleages that he had left a considerable fortune, which he had inherited from his father, and had bequeathed half of it for prizes in the arts and sciences.