famous philosophers

Famous Philosophers A-G

List of Famous Philosophers A-G

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Famous PhilosophersCountryBorn / DiedThoughts, Theories, Philosophies and Works (first published)
Abelard, PierreFrance1079-1142The scholastic sought peace between religions and developed an ethics of responsibility for the purpose.
Adorno, Theodor WGermany1903-1969Adorno 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).
Giles of RomeItaly1243-1316The high scholastic and outstanding theologian wrote a catalog of 95 false doctrines.
Alcmaeon500 BCAlcmaeon 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)England735-804The scholastic and head of the Palace School of Charlemagne taught the “seven liberal arts” in his classes.
Althusius, JohannesGermany1557-1638According 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”.
Aquinas, ThomasItaly1225-1274Thomas Aquinas found a solution to the question of who should decide on the truth, the mind or the church. He proposed 5 proofs using reason to prove the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. His best known work “Summa Theologiae”.
Archytas of Tarentum428-347 BCPythagorean – the number is the foundation of knowledge. Archytas was the founder of mathematical mechanics.
Arendt, HannahGermany1906-1975Jewish 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. Best known work: “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1955).
Aristarchus of Samos310-230 BCAristarchus developed a heliocentric world view and held the sun for a fixed star.
AristotleGreece384-322 BCAristotle 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. One of the most famous philosophers.
Arcesilaus316-241 BCArcesilaus taught the suspension of judgment (the skeptical approach) and refuted claims to certitude in knowledge.
Augustine of Hippo354-430Augustine was the father of western Christian theology & 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)Spain1126-1198Islamic philosopher. The spirit of man is immortal, religion is for the masses, but a philosophy needs reason.
AvicennaIran980-1037A 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. He 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 (Sir)Great Britain1561-1626“Knowledge is power”. 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.
Bacon, RogerEngland1214-1294Franciscan Friar who studied nature using impirical methods. The high scholastic turned against prejudice, habit and lack of self-criticism.
Bath, Adelard ofEngland1080-1162The scholastic recognized in Spain the superiority of Arab science, he translated and spread their knowledge in mathematics, medicine and astronomy.
Bergson, Henri (Nobel Prize for literature 1927)France1859-1941Henri 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. Works: “Time and Free Will” (1889), “Matter and Memory” (1896), “Laughter” (1900), “Creative Evolution” (1907).
Berkeley, GeorgeAnglo Irish1685-1753Influenced by “sensationalism” Berkeley posed skeptical questions about “morals and ethics” and came up with “immaterialism”.
Bloch, ErnstGermany1885-1977In addition to Adorno, Habermas and Horkheimer, 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, GiordanoItaly1548-1600Giordano 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.
Caesaream, Eusebius260-337Caesaream is considered the father of church history on account of his chronicles.
Calvin, JohnFrance1509-1564Calvin wrote the “Geneva Catechism” and a church order with “strict church discipline”.
Campanella, TommasoItaly1568-1639The Italian wrote the utopia of the “Sunshine State” and spent 27 years in prison during the Inquisition.
Anselm (of Canterbury)Aosta1033-1109The scholastic was a leading proponent of the ontological proof of God; “Credo ut intelligam” (I believe in order to understand).
Capella, Martianus350-400Capella was a Neo-Platonist and defined the canon of the seven liberal arts. Trivium: grammar, rhetoric, logic. And quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy.
Chrysippus276-204 BCChrysippus 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.
CiceroItaly106-43 BCCicero 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.
CleanthesTurkey331-251 BCStoic and former boxer; for Cleanthes virtuous action is only possible through the knowledge of reality.
Comte, AugusteFrance1798-1857God and man are as one. Charity was the highest duty for Auguste Comte, he developed positivism, a science that is based on tangible facts and their empirical link.
ConfuciusChina561-479 BCConfucius 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.
Cusa, Nicholas ofGermany1401-1464Link between medieval scholasticism and the mysticism and metaphysics of the Renaissance. In his book “De Docta Ignorantia” Nicholas of Cusa writes about the limits of human knowledge.
Dante AlighieriItaly1265-1321Dante 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)
Democritus460-370 BCAs 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, RenéFrance1596-1650In his famous book “Principles of Philosophy” (1641) 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 most famous philosophers.
DiogenesGreece399-329 BCDiogenes was a Socratic and a founder of cynic philosophy. He probably didn’t live in a barrel as widely rumored. He did, however, complain to Alexander the Great telling him to “take thy shadow from me” when his view of the sun was blocked.
Dionysiusca. 500 BCAll 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 ZhongshuChina179–104 BCPromoted 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, JohnScotland1265-1308High scholastic and opponent of Thomas Aquinas. The will has priority over reason. Good is determined by the will and is thus higher than the truth.
Erasmus (of Rotterdam)The Netherlands1466-1536Erasmus 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. His major work, “In Praise of Folly” (1509).
Epictetus50 -138Stoic with one major work on morality. Epictetus wrote “Men are disturbed not by things but by the view they take of them”.
Epicurus341-270 BCEpicurus 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.
Feuerbach, LudwigGermany1804-1872Feuerbach is a famous representative of materialist philosophy. He further developed the “dialectical method” together with Karl Marx.
Fichte, Johann GottliebGermany1762-1814Johann Gottlieb Fichte was a German idealist. He penetrated government, ethics and law teachings with his theories of “subjective idealism”.
Fortescue, John (Sir)England1394-1476In his belief, the king’s power was based on public consent and not on God’s grace.
Frankfurt SchoolGermany1923-todayThis 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, GalileoItaly1564-1642Opposed Aristotelian concepts and instead offered the law of fall as the basis of mechanics which became the basis of new philosophy. He was tried for heresy in part for such beliefs as “The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics”.

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