After studying at Giessen, Göttingen and Berlin, he spent a few years in Italy studying the fine arts, and established himself in 1842 at Giessen as a teacher of philosophy. In 1853 he was appointed professor at the University of Münich, where he lectured mainly on aesthetics. In the academy in Munich, he lectured on art history.
Carrière contributed in no small degree to making the idea of German unity more palatable to the South Germans.
He urged the conversion of the cathedral of Cologne into a free church. Carrière died in Munich on 19 January 1895.
Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.