Philosophy is a beautiful art of searching for the meaning of life and understanding various elements related to human existence, purpose, and sometimes the universe itself. The term philosophy was coined by Pythagoras in c. 570 – 495 BCE and since then many great philosophers took birth in various parts of the world especially in ancient Greece, Germany, Rome, and France. These philosophers are behind a number of profound ideas and beliefs that cleared ways to rational thinking. The influence of these philosophers is still present in many belief systems, practices, and even normal assumptions. These philosophers challenged deep-rooted political systems and scientific beliefs and played a pivotal role in giving shape to the world. Their study on human existence, belief system, insight, reasons, values, logic, language, mind, and language is guiding various researches going on in scholarly fields even today. Find the list of most popular and influential non-Indian philosophers here.
Note: Indian Philosophers are not added to this list. We have a separate list for them. Click to Read about Best Indian Philosophers.
Socrates (c. 470 – 399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens who is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher of the Western ethical tradition of thought.
An enigmatic figure, he authored no texts, and is known chiefly through the accounts...Read More
Plato (in Classical Attic; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian philosopher during the Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thought, and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.
He is widely considered the pivotal...Read More
Immanuel Kant ( 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers. Kant’s comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential figures in modern Western philosophy.In...Read More
Aristotle (384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath during the Classical period in Ancient Greece. Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition. His writings cover many subjects including physics, biology, zoology,...Read More
René Descartes (31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French-born philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. A native of the Kingdom of France, he spent about 20 years (1629–1649) of his life in the Dutch Republic after serving for a while in the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince...Read More
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche ( 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, poet, and philologist whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became...Read More
Confucius ( 551–479 BC) was a Chinese philosopher and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who was traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages.
The philosophy of Confucius, also known as Confucianism, emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships,...Read More
John Locke ( 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers and commonly known as the “Father of Liberalism”. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, following the tradition...Read More
Karl Heinrich Marx ( 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. Born in Trier, Germany, Marx studied law and philosophy at university. He married Jenny von Westphalen in 1843. Due to his political...Read More
Thomas Aquinas ( 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, he is also known within the latter as the Doctor Angelicus and the Doctor...Read More
Sigmund Freud ( FROYD, 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.Freud was born to Galician Jewish parents in the Moravian town of Freiberg,...Read More
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre ( 21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of existentialism and phenomenology, and one of the leading figures in...Read More
Diogenes, also known as Diogenes the Cynic, was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. He was born in Sinope, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea coast of modern day Turkey, in 412 or 404 BC and died at Corinth in 323 BC.Diogenes was a controversial figure. His father minted...Read More
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel ( 27 August 1770 – 14 November 1831) was a German philosopher and the most important figure in German idealism. He is considered one of the fundamental figures of modern Western philosophy, with his influence extending to the entire range of contemporary philosophical...Read More
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky ( 11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881), sometimes transliterated Dostoyevsky, was a Russian novelist, philosopher, short story writer, essayist, and journalist. Dostoevsky’s literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual...Read More
Jean-Jacques Rousseau ( 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Revolution and the development of modern political, economic and educational...Read More
Thales of Miletus ( c. 624/623 – c. 548/545 BC) was a Greek mathematician, astronomer and pre-Socratic philosopher from Miletus in Ionia, Asia Minor. He was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regarded him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition, and he...Read More
Pythagoras of Samos (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism. His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graecia and influenced the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and, through them, Western philosophy. Knowledge...Read More
Charles Sanders Peirce ( PURSS; September 10, 1839 – April 19, 1914) was an American philosopher, logician, mathematician, and scientist who is sometimes known as “the father of pragmatism”.
Educated as a chemist and employed as a scientist for thirty years, Peirce considered himself,...Read More
John Stuart Mill (20 May 1806 – 7 May 1873), usually cited as J. S. Mill, was an English philosopher, political economist, and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism, he contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy....Read More
Leucippus is reported in some ancient sources to have been a philosopher who was the earliest Greek to develop the theory of atomism—the idea that everything is composed entirely of various imperishable, indivisible elements called atoms. Leucippus often appears as the master to his pupil Democritus,...Read More
Chrysippus of Soli ( c. 279 – c. 206 BC) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was a native of Soli, Cilicia, but moved to Athens as a young man, where he became a pupil of Cleanthes in the Stoic school. When Cleanthes died, around 230 BC, Chrysippus became the third head of the school. A prolific writer,...Read More
The 14th Dalai Lama (spiritual name Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, known as Tenzin Gyatso; born Lhamo Dhondup, 6 July 1935) is the current Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader of Tibet, and considered a living buddha. The Dalai Lamas are also leaders of the Gelug school, which...Read More
Adam Smith (c. 16 June [O.S. c. 5 June] 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy, and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, also known as ”The Father of Economics” or ”The Father of Capitalism”....Read More
Richard John Koch (born 28 July 1950 in London) is a British management consultant, venture capital investor and author of books on management, marketing and lifestyle. Koch has an M.A. from Oxford University and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School. Initially Koch worked as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Subsequently he became a partner at Bain and Company. After leaving Bain in 1983 he co-founded L.E.K. Consulting with Iain Evans and James Lawrence.
Zeno of Elea ( c. 495 – c. 430 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of Magna Graecia and a member of the Eleatic School founded by Parmenides. Aristotle called him the inventor of the dialectic. He is best known for his paradoxes, which Bertrand Russell described as “immeasurably subtle and profound”.
Ibn Rushd ( 14 April 1126 – 11 December 1198), often Latinized as Averroes, was a Muslim Andalusian polymath and jurist who wrote about many subjects, including philosophy, theology, medicine, astronomy, physics, psychology, mathematics, Islamic jurisprudence and law, and linguistics. The author...Read More
David Hume ( 7 May 1711 NS (26 April 1711 OS) – 25 August 1776) was a Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, librarian and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. Beginning with A Treatise of...Read More
Gibran Khalil Gibran ( January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931), usually referred to in English as Kahlil Gibran (pronounced kah-LEEL ji-BRAHN), was a Lebanese-American writer, poet and visual artist, also considered a philosopher although he himself rejected the title. He is best known as the author of...Read More
William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist, and the first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States. James is considered to be a leading thinker of the late nineteenth century, one of the most influential philosophers of the United...Read More
Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second vice president of the United States between 1797...Read More
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD) was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors (a term coined some 13 centuries later by Niccolò Machiavelli), and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of...Read More
Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882), who went by his middle name Waldo, was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing...Read More
Ibn Sina, also known as Abu Ali Sina, Pur Sina, and often known in the West as Avicenna (c. 980 – June 1037), was a Persian polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age, and the father of early modern medicine....Read More
Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ( 1 July 1646 [O.S. 21 June] – 14 November 1716) was a prominent German polymath and one of the most important logicians, mathematicians and natural philosophers of the Enlightenment. As a representative of the seventeenth-century tradition of rationalism, Leibniz...Read More
Ptahhotep (Ancient Egyptian: ptḥ ḥtp piˈtaħħaːtip “Peace of Ptah”), sometimes known as Ptahhotep I or Ptahhotpe, was an ancient Egyptian vizier during the late 25th century BC and early 24th century BC Fifth Dynasty of Egypt.
Epictetus ( c. 50 – c. 135 AD) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey) and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published...Read More
Morgan Scott Peck (1936–2005) was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author who wrote the book The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978. Peck served in administrative posts in the government during his career as a psychiatrist. He also served in the US Army and rose to the rank of lieutenant...Read More
Paul the Apostle ( c. 5 – c. 64/67), commonly known as Saint Paul and also known by his Hebrew name Saul of Tarsus was an apostle (although not one of the Twelve Apostles) who taught the gospel of Christ to the first-century world. Paul is generally considered one of the most important figures...Read More
János Farkas (27 March 1942 in Budapest – 29 September 1989 in Budapest) was a Hungarian footballer.
During his club career he played for Vasas SC. He earned 33 caps and scored 20 goals for the Hungary national football team from 1961 to 1969, and participated in the 1962 FIFA World Cup,...Read More
Zeno of Citium ( c. 334 – c. 262 BC) was a Hellenistic philosopher of Phoenician origin from Citium (Κίτιον, Kition), Cyprus. Zeno was the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy, which he taught in Athens from about 300 BC. Based on the moral ideas of the Cynics, Stoicism laid great emphasis...Read More
Jürgen Habermas (born 18 June 1929) is a German philosopher and sociologist in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. His work addresses communicative rationality and the public sphere.
Associated with the Frankfurt School, Habermas’s work focuses on the foundations of epistemology...Read More
Herbert Marcuse ( July 19, 1898 – July 29, 1979) was a German-American philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist, associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. Born in Berlin, Marcuse studied at the Humboldt University of Berlin and then at Freiburg, where he received his PhD....Read More
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein ( 26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian-British philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. From 1929 to 1947, Wittgenstein taught at the University of Cambridge. During...Read More
William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon” (or simply...Read More
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard ( 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. He wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology,...Read More
Arthur Schopenhauer ( 22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher. He is best known for his 1818 work The World as Will and Representation (expanded in 1844), which characterizes the phenomenal world as the product of a blind and insatiable metaphysical will. Building on the transcendental...Read More
Epicurus ( 341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded Epicureanism, a highly influential school of philosophy. He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristippus, Pyrrho, and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism...Read More
Thomas Hobbes ( HOBZ; sometimes known as Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury; 5 April 1588 – 4 December 1679) was an English philosopher, considered to be one of the founders of modern political philosophy. Hobbes is best known for his 1651 book Leviathan, in which he expounds an influential formulation...Read More
Omar Khayyam ( 18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet. He was born in Nishabur, in northeastern Iran, and spent most of his life near the court of the Karakhanid and Seljuq rulers in the period which witnessed the First Crusade.
As a mathematician,...Read More
Protagoras ( c. 490 BC – c. 420 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. He is numbered as one of the sophists by Plato. In his dialogue Protagoras, Plato credits him with inventing the role of the professional sophist.
Protagoras also is believed to have created a major controversy during...Read More
Martin Heidegger ( 26 September 1889 – 26 May 1976) was a German philosopher, and a seminal thinker in the Continental tradition of philosophy. He is best known for contributions to phenomenology, hermeneutics, and existentialism.
In Being and Time (1927), Heidegger addresses the meaning of...Read More
Albert Camus ( 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French philosopher, author, and journalist. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature at the age of 44 in 1957, the second-youngest recipient in history. His works include The Stranger, The Plague, The Myth of Sisyphus, The Fall, and The Rebel.
Al-Ghazali ( c. 1058 – 19 December 1111) was a Persian philosopher who was one of the most prominent and influential Muslim philosophers, theologians, jurists, and mystics, of Sunni Islam.Most Muslims consider him to be a Mujaddid, a renewer of the faith who, according to the prophetic hadith,...Read More
John Calvin Maxwell (born February 20, 1947) is an American author, speaker, and pastor who has written many books, primarily focusing on leadership. Titles include The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. His books have sold millions of copies, with some on the New York Times Best Seller List.
Ernest Shurtleff Holmes (January 21, 1887 – April 7, 1960) was an American New Thought writer, teacher, and leader. He was the founder of a Spiritual movement known as Religious Science, part of the greater New Thought movement, whose spiritual philosophy is known as “The Science of Mind.”...Read More
Taqī ad-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Abd al-Halim ibn Abd al-Salam al-Numayri al-Ḥarrānī ( January 22, 1263 – September 26, 1328), known simply Ibn Taymiyyah (ابن تيمية) for short, was a controversial Muslim scholar muhaddith, theologian, judge, jurisconsult, who some have argued was a philosopher,...Read More
Robert Boyce Brandom (born March 13, 1950) is an American philosopher who teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. He works primarily in philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and philosophical logic, and his academic output manifests both systematic and historical interests in these topics. His...Read More
Pierre Bourdieu ( 1 August 1930 – 23 January 2002) was a French sociologist, anthropologist, philosopher and public intellectual. Bourdieu’s major contributions to the sociology of education, the theory of sociology, and sociology of aesthetics have achieved wide influence in several related...Read More
Tom Butler-Bowdon ( born 1967) is a non-fiction author based in Oxford, England. Butler-Bowdon is most notable for the 50 Classics series of books, which provide commentaries on key writings in personal development, psychology, philosophy and economics. The series is published in English by Nicholas...Read More
Augustine of Hippo (; Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; 13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, was a theologian, philosopher, and the bishop of Hippo Regius in Numidia, Roman North Africa. His writings influenced the development of Western philosophy and Western Christianity,...Read More
Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir ( 9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986) was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social theorist. Though she did not consider herself a philosopher, she had a significant influence on both feminist...Read More
Jakob Johann Freiherr von Uexküll (8 September [O.S. 27 August] 1864 – 25 July 1944) was a Baltic German biologist who worked in the fields of muscular physiology, animal behaviour studies, and the cybernetics of life. However, his most notable contribution is the notion of Umwelt, used by semiotician Thomas Sebeok and philosopher Martin Heidegger. His works established biosemiotics as a field of research.
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli ( 3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527) was an Italian Renaissance diplomat, philosopher and writer, best known for The Prince (Il Principe), written in 1513. He has often been called the father of modern political philosophy and political science.For many years he served...Read More
Graham Priest (born 1948) is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center, as well as a regular visitor at the University of Melbourne where he was Boyce Gibson Professor of Philosophy and also at the University of St Andrews.
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne ( 28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592), also known as Lord of Montaigne, was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography...Read More
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boëthius, commonly called Boethius ( c. 477 – 524 AD), was a Roman senator, consul, magister officiorum, and philosopher of the early 6th century. He was born about a year after Odoacer deposed the last Western Roman Emperor and declared himself King of Italy.
Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535 – c. 475 BC, fl. 500 BC) was an Ancient Greek, pre-Socratic, Ionian philosopher and a native of the city of Ephesus, which was then part of the Persian Empire.
His appreciation for wordplay and oracular expressions, as well as paradoxical elements in his...Read More
Moses ben Maimon, (1138–1204), commonly known as Maimonides ( my-MON-i-deez) and also referred to by the acronym Rambam (Hebrew: רמב״ם), was a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most prolific and influential Torah scholars of the Middle Ages. In his time, he was...Read More
Jacques Marie Émile Lacan ( 13 April 1901 – 9 September 1981) was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who has been called “the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud”. Giving yearly seminars in Paris from 1953 to 1981, Lacan’s work has marked the French and international...Read More
Parmenides of Elea ( fl. late sixth or early fifth century BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Elea in Magna Graecia (meaning “Great Greece,” the term which Romans gave to Greek-populated coastal areas in Southern Italy). He is thought to have been in his prime (or “floruit”)...Read More
Roland Gérard Barthes ( 12 November 1915 – 26 March 1980) was a French literary theorist, essayist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician. Barthes’s ideas explored a diverse range of fields and he influenced the development of many schools of theory, including structuralism, semiotics, social...Read More
Jacques Derrida ( July 15, 1930 – October 9, 2004) was an Algerian-born French philosopher best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as deconstruction, which he discussed in numerous texts, and developed in the context of phenomenology. He is one of the major figures associated...Read More
Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl ( 8 April 1859 – 27 April 1938) was a German philosopher who established the school of phenomenology. In his early work, he elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic based on analyses of intentionality. In his mature work, he sought to develop...Read More
Democritus ( c. 460 – c. 370 BC) was an Ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher primarily remembered today for his formulation of an atomic theory of the universe.Democritus was born in Abdera, Thrace, around 460 BC, although there are disagreements about the exact year. His exact contributions...Read More
Jeremy Bentham ( 15 February 1748 [O.S. 4 February 1747] – 6 June 1832) was an English philosopher, jurist, and social reformer regarded as the founder of modern utilitarianism.Bentham defined as the “fundamental axiom” of his philosophy the principle that “it is the greatest happiness...Read More
Anaximander ( c. 610 – c. 546 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus, a city of Ionia (in modern-day Turkey). He belonged to the Milesian school and learned the teachings of his master Thales. He succeeded Thales and became the second master of that school where he counted...Read More
Baruch (de) Spinoza ( 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin. One of the early thinkers of the Enlightenment and modern biblical criticism, including modern conceptions of the self and the universe, he came to be considered one of the great rationalists...Read More
Antonio Francesco Gramsci ( 22 January 1891 – 27 April 1937) was an Italian Marxist philosopher, journalist, linguist, writer and politician. He wrote on philosophy, political theory, sociology, history and linguistics. He was a founding member and one-time leader of the Communist Party of Italy...Read More
Mary Wollstonecraft ( 27 April 1759 – 10 September 1797) was an English writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. Until the late 20th century, Wollstonecraft’s life, which encompassed several unconventional personal relationships at the time, received more attention than her...Read More
Plotinus ( c. 204/5 – 270) was a major Hellenistic philosopher who lived in Roman Egypt. In his philosophy, described in the Enneads, there are three principles: the One, the Intellect, and the Soul. His teacher was Ammonius Saccas, who was of the Platonic tradition. Historians of the 19th century...Read More
Eric Leslie Barker (12 February 1912 – 1 June 1990) was an English comedy actor. He is most remembered for his roles in the popular British Carry On films, although he only appeared in the early films in the series, apart from returning for Carry On Emmannuelle in 1978.
Jenny Yue-fon Yang is an American chemist. She is an associate professor of chemistry at the University of California, Irvine where she leads a research group focused on inorganic chemistry, catalysis, and solar fuels. Yang is a recipient of several awards.
Shāh Nimatullāh or Shāh Ni’matullāh Wali, also spelled as Ne’matollah and Ni’matallah was a Persian Sufi Master and poet from the 14th and 15th centuries. He is revered by Sunni Islam as a saint and by the Ni’matullāhī tariqa, who consider him their founder.