Thursday, January 22, 2009

90 Most Influential philosophers of All-Time

My Opinion Again:

1. Socrates - He Taught us to question.
2. Abraham - Father of Western Monotheism.
3. Confucius - Created the structure upon which China is modeled.
4. Jesus Christ - The Center Point of Christianity.
5. Mohammed - Father of Islam.
6. Buddha (Siddhartha Gatama) - He taught us about moderation.
7. Aristotle - A wonderful classifier of knowledge.
8. Plato - Author of the Republic.
9. Georg Hegel - Champion of the Dialectic.
10. Martin Luther - He galvanized the Reformation.
11. Voltaire - One has to love his satire.
12. St. Augustine - The central qualifier of Church orthodoxy.
13. Friederich Nietzche - Journeyed with us Beyond Good and Evil . He threw Absolute Morality on its head.
14. John Locke - Empiricist writings are crucial to Western Democracy.
15. Niccolo Machiavelli - In the Prince he described the rationale of the power holders.
16. Rene Descartes - In a sense Descartes and Cartesian thought are the basis for Modern Science.
17. Francis Bacon - A pioneer in the legal world he also stressed the importance of inductive methodology in scientific research.
18. Immanuel Kant - No, he wasn't a real 'pissant' as the Monty Python Song goes but a critical figure in our understanding of reason, ethics and aesthetics.
19. Adam Smith - He put in words the workings of the market economy.
20. John Stuart Mill - Great voice on liberty and utilitarianism.
21. Karl Marx - Birth figure of Dialectic Materialism.
22. Carl Jung - One of my favourite philosophers. Spoke about the collective unconscious and the psyche as a self regulating system.
23. John Wycliffe - Early Church reformer.
24. Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Author of the Social Contract.
25. Mohandas K Gandhi - Indian Champion of Passive Resistance.
26. St. Thomas Aquinas - Wrote Summa contra Gentiles and Summa theologiae. The latter has a five point proof for the existence of God.
27. David Hume - Empiricist philosopher. Extended work of Locke and Berkley.
28. Mary Wollstonecraft - Feminist. Wrote Vindication of the Rights of Woman.
29. Sören Kierkegaard - Danish Philosopher. Specialized in existence making choices.
30. Martin Heidegger - Changed philosophy with his classification of 'being'.
31. Baruch Spinoza - Dutch Rationalist.
32. Erasmus - Scholar. One of the leading figures in renaissance philosophy.
33. Zeno - One of the leading proponents of Stoicism.
34. Philo - Hellenistic Jewish philosopher. Works bought together Hebrew scripture and Greek writings.
35. Lao-tzu - Early Chinese Libertarian.
36. Maimonides - A wonderful voice for Jewish thought.
37. Thomas Hobbes - Political Philosopher. Famous for the Leviathan.
38. Mencius - He took the mantle of Confucius to the next level.
39. Pythagoras - Polymath. His work influenced music, math and the concept of the soul.
40. Arthur Schopenhauer - He rejected Hegel's idea and emphasized the role of human will.
41. Ludwig Wittgenstein - His Tractatus logico-philosophicus looked at the role of language in philosophy.
42. Gottfried Leibniz - Well Renowned generalist. Rationalist Philosopher.
43. Edmund Husserl - Founder of the School of phenomenology.
44. Plotinus - Father of Neoplatonism. Advocated asceticism and the contemplative life.
45. Thomas More - Humanist scholar. Wrote Utopia.
John Calvin - Church reformer. Proclaimed a Protestant Confession of Faith. Emphasized moral severity.
46. David Hume - Empiricist philosopher. Extended work of Locke and Berkley.
47. Sigmund Freud - Father of Psychoanalysis.
48. Edmund Burke - British statesman. Writings influenced the American revolution.
49. John Dewey - Philosopher and Educator. Leading thinker in pragmatism school.
50. Tom Paine - Revolutionary Philosopher. Wrote the Rights of Man.
51. Bertrand Russell - Philosopher/Mathematician/Pacifist. Wrote Principia mathematica with A.N. Whitehead.
52. Thales - Greek natural philosopher. Some see him as the first philosopher.
53. William of Ockham - Scholastic philosopher. Said that 'entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.'
54. Peter Abelard - Philosopher and scholar. Was condemned by the Church for his Nominalistic doctrines.
55. Auguste Comte - Father of Sociology.
56. Diogenes - Ancient Greek Cynic and austere ascetic.
57. Averroes - Arab philosopher. Wrote commentaries on Aristotle and effected both Jewish and Christian thought.
58. Simone de Beauvoir - French Feminist. Wrote The Second Sex.
59. Henri Bergson - French philosopher. Contrasted the fundamental reality of the dynamic flux of consciousness with the inert physical world of discrete objects. Wrote about the 'creative impulse'.
60. Boethius - Roman philosopher. Spoke about the mutability of all Earthly fortune. His book Consolation was the most widely read book for its time after the Bible.
61. Heraclitus - Early Greek philosopher. Argued that all things consist of opposites eg. hot/cold, wet/dry etc.
62. Max Weber - Sociologist and economist. Spoke about the Protestant Ethic.
George Lukacs - Marxist philosopher. Influential in literary criticism and Socialist Realism.
63. Epicurus - Greek Philosopher. Argued that pleasure is the chief good, By pleasure he meant the absence of pain.
64. Jean-Paul Sartre - French Existentialist Bulldog.
65. Avicenna - Arab Philosopher/physician. Interpreted the works of Aristotle.
66. Protagoras - Greek sophist. Presented a system of practical philosophy designed to train people for their duties as citizens.
67. Jeremy Bentham - An important Utilitarian figure.
68. George Santayana - Philosopher, writer and novelist. Wrote The Life of Reason.
69. Antonio Gramsci - Political Philosopher, Important socialist figure.
70. Baron Montesquieu - Liberal philosopher influenced French Revolution.
71. Marcus Aurelius - Roman Emperor. Stoic. Influenced both law and philosophy.
72. St Jerome - Early Christian philosopher.
73. Georges Sorel - Social philosopher. Argued that serious political opposition must resort to violence.
74. Kurt Gödel - Logician. Showed that any formal logical system adequate for number theory must contain propositions not provable in that system.
75. Thomas Kuhn - Philosopher. Historian of science.
76. Henry Thoreau - American essayist and transadentalist.
77. Willard Quine - Philosopher and logician. Challenged distinction between analysis and synthetic truths and between science and metaphysics.
78. Karl Popper - Philosopher of Science - Fasification Notion.
79. Franz Brentano - Developed doctrine of 'intentionality' characterizing mental events as involving the 'direction of the mind to an object'.
80. George Berkley - Philosopher/Anglican bishop. Argued that 'to be is to be perceived'.
81. Michel Foucalt - Modern French philosopher. Wrote Madness and Civilization and The Order of Things.
82. Seneca - Roman Stoic.
83. William James - Pragmatist. Involved in both philosophy and psychology.
84. Martin Buber - Zionist thinker and existentialist.
85. Friederich Hayek - Economist/Philosopher. Strong opponent of government intervention in free market.
86. Jurgen Habermas - Philosopher and social theorist.
87. Alfred Whitehead - Philosopher and Mathematician. Worked with Bertrand Russell on Principia mathematica.
88. Gottlob Frege - Set up a complete system for symbolic logic
89. Jacques Derrida - French Deconstructionist.
90. Thomas à Kempis - Religious writer. Wrote The Imitation of Christ (1415-1424).


akhter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
John said...

Akhter your comment is terrible go away

G.H.Kanowitz said...

A bit long winded but interesting.

akhter said...

So the truth does hurt!

Will said...

That is a great list in influential philosophers, maybe you can come by and take a shot at answering some of the physics or philosopher questions at as we are having a hard time with finding the answers.

Ashely :)

akhter said...

Check it out!

calvin said...

Great list but no Nietzsche, Rawls, Marx, Kreipke or Deleuze?

akhter said...

These are not my words ,check it if you want!

Timothy said...

i like the list! you might want to check #46 and #27, though..

alan said...

hi leibniz was the greatest thinker of all time . he had the first idea of virtual reality and was a genius in 13 fields and his idea of monads and awareness are genius. his idea of the best of all possible worlds is perfect as well. becasue we are headed with infinite time to a total understanding of the unioverse. All knowledge is already in ther universe. we only discover what is already known.

Awareness is the key to life and we should all pay attention. we all come from the same source and therefore we should all love one another and quit thinking that other people are the ¨other¨ and therefore bad. His ideas have clearly lead me to believe that limited government where individucal are free to choose but shoud take the responsibility of their actions is the greatest sociopl structure.

there are two things human want and that is to be able to freely express themselves and make connections to others in this world.

leibniz idea of the best of all possible worlds is correct because based on how we think and what we do with that knowledge determines whether we will be happy or suffer.

Happy said...

The top 4 should be Kant, Berkeley, Hume, and Locke.

They really created Modern Metaphysics. They may not be very influential compared to religious prophets, but they (with the exception of Berkeley) really did start the study of metaphysics beyond religion and the supernatural. Religious prophets use gods just because they can't explain certain things beyond their range of reason. But Kant, Hume, and their peers taught us that EVERYTHING, including what is beyond physical nature, can be defined by logic alone. The limitations of perception, the lack of empirical evidence for the supernatural, etc. disprove the religious doctrines of their predecessors. They are not influential because ignorant laity are consumed by simple religious propaganda rather than the pursuit of total metaphysical knowledge.

Timo said...

I disagree with semi-legendary religious figures being on this list who are certainly not the architects of their own philosophies. Paul belongs up there. Averroes, Avicenna, and Moses Maimonides definitely do! BUT Jesus, Abraham, and Mohammed should not be on this list.

Top 10 Most Important Western Philosophers

1. Socrates
2. Aristotle
3. Plato
4. Descartes
5. Aquinas
6. Kant
7. Augustine
8. Nietzsche
9. Hegel
10. Hume

Top 10 Most Important Eastern Philosophers

1. Confucius
2. Laozi
3. Siddartha Ghatima
4. Zhuangzi
5. Vyasa
6. Mencius
7. Mozi
8. Gongsun Long
9. Miyamoto Musashi
10. Liezi

Uravara said...

a very exhaustive and illuminating list...tons of thanks...

Tommy in Italia! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ti Carioca said...

Abraham??? But he didnt existed!!! He is only a legend! And he was not philosopher!!!

And about you Timo. Nietzsche is too important to be on the 8th place!

Sidarta Gautama is more important than Confucius and Lao Zi, cause this two philosophers have their influence confined to China. Buddha has a stronger range.

lysysloik said...

i'm quite surprised that you omitted claude levi-strauss

Boreas said...

My objections:
Abraham is too vague a historical figure and Muhammad and Jesus can be classified at best as Mystics, but not as philosophers.

And Avicenna was not an Arab, he was a Muslim Iranian...
and where is Alpharabius or the mystic-philosopher Mani?

all in all, a general and well composed list.

neda said...

Avicenna was not an Arab philosopher, he is a persian philosopher and scientific too.

Tór Marni Weihe said...

Surprised to see that Carl von Clausewitz is omitted. He is, as far as I know, one of the most influential war-philosopher.

Michael Thomas said...

Far too dominated by figures from religion who may have been influential but not by virtue of their contribution to philosophy. Too many of the other thinkers are also peripheral to philosophy like Smith and Jung. If they are allowed why not Newton or Darwin, both of whom have certainly had a much greater influence than Jung? If they can appear why not Shakespeare, Chekov, Keats, Bach, Stravinsky or Picasso? Strangely Hume appears twice (on both occasions shockingly under-valued for such an influential philosopher). Not a credible list.

Harsha said...

What reason you put Machiavelli in it and not chankya...