famous philosophers

Famous Philosophers A-G

List of Famous Philosophers A-G

  • ADDucation’s list of famous philosophers was compiled by Robert Junker and last updated on Nov 20, 2022 @ 10:12 pm

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Famous Philosophers Country (today) Born / Died Thoughts, theories and and works of famous philosophers
Abelard, Pierre 🇫🇷 France 1079 – 1142 Pierre Abelard, the scholastic, sought peace between religions and developed an ethics of responsibility for the purpose.
Adelard of Bath 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England, UK 🇬🇧 1080 – 1162 Adelard of Bath was natural philosopher. The scholastics recognized in Spain the superiority of Arab science. Adelard of Bath translated and spread their knowledge in mathematics, medicine and astronomy.
Adorno, Theodor W 🇩🇪 Germany 1903 – 1969 Theodor W Adorno was an influential member of the “Frankfurt School”. In his critical theory “minima morelia” (1951) he takes up the ethical question of the “doctrine of the good life”. Other works: “Dialectic of Enlightenment” (1947, together with Max Horkheimer) and “Negative Dialectics” (1966).
Alcmaeon of Croton 🇮🇹 Italy c500 BC Alcmaeon of Croton was a Pythagorean. According to his thesis, a lack of harmony is the cause of many diseases. For him, the brain is the organ of perception.
Alcuin of York 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England, UK 🇬🇧 735 – 804 Alcuin of York was an English scholar, clergyman, poet, and teacher. The scholastic and head of the Palace School of Charlemagne taught the “seven liberal arts” in his classes.
Althusius, Johannes 🇩🇪 Germany 1557 – 1638 According to Althusius, the state is based on a social contract; the people are politically and religiously independent. His most famous work, first published in 1603 was “Politica Methodice Digesta, Atque Exemplis Sacris et Profanis Illustrata”.
Anselm of Canterbury 🇮🇹 Italy 1033 – 1109 Anselm of Canterbury, the scholastic, was a leading proponent of the ontological proof of God; “Credo ut intelligam” (I believe in order to understand).
Aquinas, Thomas 🇮🇹 Italy 1225 – 1274 Thomas Aquinas found a solution to the question of who should decide on the truth, the mind or the church. Aquinas proposed 5 proofs using reason to prove the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. Thomas Aquinas’ best known work “Summa Theologiae”.
Arcesilaus 🇹🇷 Turkey 316 – 241 BC Arcesilaus taught the suspension of judgment (the skeptical approach) and refuted claims to certitude in knowledge.
Archytas of Tarentum 🇮🇹 Italy 428 – 347 BC Archytas of Tarentum was a Pythagorean. The number is the foundation of knowledge. Archytas was the founder of mathematical mechanics.
Arendt, Hannah 🇩🇪 Germany 1906 – 1975 Hannah Arendt was a Jewish existential philosopher who first fled to France and then in 1941 to the US, where she taught as the first woman at Princeton University. She grappled particularly with Martin Heidegger and Karl Jaspers and called for a European federalism: direct democracy with a greater political participation by each individual. Arendt’s best known work: “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1955).
Aristarchus of Samos 🇬🇷 Greece 310 – 230 BC Aristarchus of Samos developed a heliocentric world view and held the sun for a fixed star.
Aristotle 🇬🇷 Greece 384 – 322 BC Aristotle was a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. He developed logic from two premises which led to one conclusion. Aristotle viewed philosophy as a science and dealt with virtue ethics, in which perfect happiness is sought. Man’s end purpose he claims is rational thought. Perhaps the best known of all famous philosophers.
Augustine of Hippo 🇩🇿 Algeria 354 – 430 Augustine of Hippo was the father of western Christian theology and philosophy for almost 1000 years. Influential in development of original sin and doctrine of grace by which God grants salvation to sinners. In favor of the separation between church and state.
Averroes Ibn Rušd (ابن رشد) 🇪🇸 Spain 1126 – 1198 Averroes Ibn Rušd was an Islamic philosopher. The spirit of man is immortal, religion is for the masses, but a philosophy needs reason.
Avicenna 🇮🇷 Iran 980 – 1037 Avicenna was a child prodigy of the Middle Ages. He was not only one of the most famous philosophers but also a doctor, physician, mathematician, astronomer, chemist, theologian, geologist, lawyer, inventor and he also wrote poetry. Avicenna led a life made for the movies and wrote two encyclopedias of medicine on diagnoses, treatments, prevention, hygiene, medicinal plants, surgery, cosmetics and drugs.
Bacon, Francis 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England, UK 🇬🇧 1561 – 1626 Sir Francis Bacon was a pioneer of scientific method and wrote the utopian “New Atlantis”. In his theory, all consciousness is derived from feelings or sensations. For Bacon, the world works purely mechanically. Francis Bacon, one of England’s most famous philosophers, best known quote:

Knowledge is power

Bacon, Roger 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England, UK 🇬🇧 1214 – 1294 Roger Bacon was a Franciscan Friar who studied nature using impirical methods. The high scholastic turned against prejudice, habit and lack of self-criticism.
Bergson, Henri 🇫🇷 France 1859 – 1941 Henri Bergson is a representative of the philosophy of life and forerunner of existentialism. Unlike Immanuel Kant, he distinguished between space (homogeneous) and time (flowing): “Space is detected by the mind, time by intuition”. Bergson coined the term “élan vital”, a spiritual force that drives development. Henri Bergson won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1927. Works: “Time and Free Will” (1889), “Matter and Memory” (1896), “Laughter” (1900), “Creative Evolution” (1907).
Berkeley, George 🇮🇪 Ireland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 1685 – 1753 George Berkeley Influenced by “sensationalism” Berkeley posed skeptical questions about “morals and ethics” and came up with “immaterialism”.
Bloch, Ernst 🇩🇪 Germany 1885 – 1977 In addition to Adorno, Habermas and Horkheimer, Ernst Bloch was one of the main representatives of the “Frankfurt School”. In his book “The Principle of Hope” discusses the meaning of utopia for the people’s present life.
Bruno, Giordano 🇮🇹 Italy 1548 – 1600 Giordano Bruno was a dominican friar who announced the infinity of the universe and God as the source of eternal change. He died at the stake in Rome for his belief that nature evolved to perfect itself.
Calvin, John 🇫🇷 France 1509 – 1564 John Calvin wrote the “Geneva Catechism” and a church order with “strict church discipline”.
Campanella, Tommaso 🇮🇹 Italy 1568 – 1639 Tommaso Campanella was the Italian who wrote the utopia of the “Sunshine State” and spent 27 years in prison during the Inquisition.
Capella, Martianus 🇩🇿 Algeria 350 – 400 Martianus Capella was a Neo-Platonist and defined the canon of the seven liberal arts. Trivium: grammar, rhetoric, logic. And quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy.
Chrysippus 🇹🇷 Turkey 276 – 204 BC Chrysippus created the basis of the Stoa with 705 books and formulated the Stoic ideal of freedom from effects; terms are generalizations of our perception of objects.
Cicero 🇮🇹 Italy 106 – 43 BC Cicero was a politician, lawyer and orator and represented the teachings of the Stoics and the academies. He is credited as a pioneer of humanism, the doctrine of natural law and general good judgement. One of the most famous philosophers in history.
Cleanthes 🇹🇷 Turkey 331 – 251 BC Stoic and former boxer; for Cleanthes virtuous action is only possible through the knowledge of reality.
Comte, Auguste 🇫🇷 France 1798 – 1857 Charity was the highest duty for Auguste Comte, he developed positivism, a science that is based on tangible facts and their empirical link. Auguste Comte said “God and man are as one”.
Confucius 🇨🇳 China 561 – 479 BC Confucius taught five virtues (love, righteousness, diligence, honesty, reciprocity) and three social obligations (loyalty, filial piety, respect of decency and morality). One of the most famous philosophers.
Dante Alighieri 🇮🇹 Italy 1265 – 1321 Dante is one of the most important poets and famous philosophers of the Middle Ages. With “Monarchia”, around 1316, he wrote a work on a state independent of the church and recognized that “there are things that you can not influence”. These things can only be observed. Other major works: Convivio (1306), The Divine Comedy (1307-20), Quaestio (1320)
Democritus 🇬🇷 Greece 460 – 370 BC As an atomist, he believed matter (including the soul) consists of an infinitely number of tiny particles (atoms), which are in perpetual motion; together with Leucippus, Democritus is regarded as the father of atomic theory.
Descartes, René 🇫🇷 France 1596 – 1650 In his famous book “Principles of Philosophy” (1641) René Descartes wrote “Cogito, ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am). The French mathematician and scientist saw no connection between body and soul, but replaced it with spirit and nature. With such reasoning he founded among other things “rationalism” and “dualism”. Other major works: “The Passion of the Soul” (1649) and “About the People” (1662). One of the greatest philosophers.
Diogenes 🇬🇷 Greece 399 – 329 BC Diogenes was a Socratic and a founder of cynic philosophy. Diogenes was one of the most famous philosophers but probably didn’t live in a barrel as widely rumored. However, he did complain to Alexander the Great telling him to “take thy shadow from me” when his view of the sun was blocked.
Dionysius 🇬🇷 Greece c500 BC All that is visible is only a metaphor of the invisible. God is the cause, the beginning, being and life for Dionysios. Through cleansing (catharsis) and enlightenment (photismos) it is possible to reach a kind of perfection.
Dong Zhongshu 🇨🇳 China 179 – 104 BC Promoted Confucianism as the official ideology of the Chinese imperial state. Many modern scholars doubt Dong Zhongshu was the author of the five elements theory of Chinese philosophy although they are credited to him.
Duns Scotus, John 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland, UK 🇬🇧 1265 – 1308 John Duns Scotus was a high scholastic and opponent of Thomas Aquinas. He believed will has priority over reason. Good is determined by the will and is thus higher than the truth.
Erasmus of Rotterdam 🇳🇱 Netherlands 1466 – 1536 Erasmus of Rotterdam was a friend of Thomas More and an Augustinian critical of the church, but also an opponent of Martin Luther on the question of free will. He stood for religious tolerance and against nationalism and war. Erasmus’ major work was “In Praise of Folly” (1509).
Epictetus 🇹🇷 Turkey 50 – 138 Epictetus was a Stoic philosopher with one major work on morality. Famous Epictetus quote:

Men are disturbed not by things but by the view they take of them

Epicurus 🇬🇷 Greece 341 – 270 BC Epicurus was an atomist who gathered his disciples in a garden where he taught physics, canonic (theory of knowledge) and ethics. He claimed that the seeking of pleasure and the avoidance of pain were at the centre of human morality and that they governed all our actions. One of the most famous philosophers.
Eusebius of Caesarea
🇮🇱 Israel 260 – 337 Eusebius of Caesarea (Eusebius Pamphili) is considered the father of church history on account of his chronicles.
Feuerbach, Ludwig 🇩🇪 Germany 1804 – 1872 Ludwig Feuerbach is a famous representative of materialist philosophy. Feuerbach further developed the “dialectical method” together with Karl Marx.
Fichte, Johann Gottlieb 🇩🇪 Germany 1762 – 1814 Johann Gottlieb Fichte was a German idealist. Fichte made an impact on government, ethics and law teachings with his theories of “subjective idealism”.
Fortescue, John
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England, UK 🇬🇧 1394 – 1476 Sir John Fortescue was a judge. In his belief, the king’s power was based on public consent and not on God’s grace.
Frankfurt School 🇩🇪 Germany 1923 onwards This group of philosophers, sociologists and neo-Marxist scholars which arose from the “Institute for Social Research IfS” (founded by Felix Weil) originated in Frankfurt. Followers such as Adorno, Bloch, Habermas, Horkheimer, Marcuse, Fromm and Alfred Schmidt dealt with “critical theory” and dealt with ideological and socio-critical issues. Major work: “Dialectic of Enlightenment” (1944-47 by Adorno and Horkheimer).
Galilei, Galileo 🇮🇹 Italy 1564 – 1642 Galileo Galilei opposed Aristotelian concepts and instead offered the law of fall as the basis of mechanics which became the basis of new philosophy. Galileo Galilei was tried for heresy in part for such beliefs as “The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics”.
Giles of Rome 🇮🇹 Italy 1243 – 1316 Giles of Rome was the high scholastic and outstanding theologian wrote a catalog of 95 false doctrines.
Gregory of Nyssa 🇹🇷 Turkey 335 – 394 Gregory of Nyssa was the Father of the Orthodox Church; Nyssa taught the infinity of God and the Trinity.

See also: List of Philosophers H-O… | Greek Philosophers P-Z…

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