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Famous Philosophers from France

List of notable or famous philosophers from France, with bios and photos, including the top philosophers born in France and even some popular philosophers who immigrated to France. If you're trying to find out the names of famous French philosophers then this list is the perfect resource for you. These philosophers are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known philosopher from France is included when available.

Famous French people of philosophy here include everything from Michel Foucault to Simone de Beauvoir.

This historic philosophers from France list can help answer the questions "Who are some French philosophers of note?" and "Who are the most famous philosophers from France?" These prominent philosophers of France may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected French philosophers.

Use this list of renowned French philosophers to discover some new philosophers that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page.
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  • Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (, US also ; French: [saʁtʁ]; 21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980) was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary ...more
  • Paul-Michel Foucault (UK: FOO-koh, US: foo-KOH, French: [pɔl miʃɛl fuko]; 15 October 1926 – 25 June 1984), generally known as Michel Foucault, was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social ...more
  • Albert Schweitzer (14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was an Alsatian polymath. He was a theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician. A Lutheran, Schweitzer challenged ...more
  • Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir (UK: , US: , French: [simɔn də bovwaʁ] (listen); 9 January 1908 – 14 April 1986) was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, ...more
  • Albert Camus (; French: [albɛʁ kamy] (listen); 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 ...more
  • Henry David Thoreau (see name pronunciation; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American essayist, poet, and philosopher. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a ...more
  • René Descartes ( day-KART, also UK: DAY-kart, French: [ʁəne dekaʁt] (listen); Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; adjectival form: Cartesian ; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, ...more
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau (UK: , US: ; French: [ʒɑ̃ˈʒak ʁuˈso]; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the ...more
  • François-Marie Arouet (French: [fʁɑ̃swa maʁi aʁwɛ]; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire (; also US: , French: [vɔltɛːʁ]), was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, ...more
  • Blaise Pascal ( pa-SKAL, also UK: -⁠SKAHL, PASK-əl, -⁠al, US: pah-SKAHL, French: [blɛz paskal]; 19 June 1623 – 19 August 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic ...more
  • Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (pronounced [oɡyst kɔ̃t] (listen); 19 January 1798 – 5 September 1857) was a French philosopher and writer who formulated the doctrine of positivism. He is ...more
  • Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (; French: [mɔ̃tɛskjø]; 18 January 1689 – 10 February 1755), generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French judge, man of ...more
  • Roland Gérard Barthes (; French: [ʁɔlɑ̃ baʁt]; 12 November 1915 – 26 March 1980) was a French literary theorist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician. Barthes' ideas explored a diverse range of ...more
  • Peter Abelard (; Latin: Petrus Abaelardus or Abailardus; French: Pierre Abélard, pronounced [a.be.laːʁ]; 1079 – 21 April 1142) was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian, and preeminent ...more
  • Denis Diderot (French: [dəni did(ə)ʁo]; 5 October 1713 – 31 July 1784) was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer, best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor, and contributor to the ...more
  • Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne ( mon-TAYN, French: [miʃɛl ekɛm də mɔ̃tɛɲ]; 28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592) was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, ...more
  • David Émile Durkheim (French: [emil dyʁkɛm] or [dyʁkajm]; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917) was a Jewish sociologist in France. He formally established the academic discipline and—with W. E. B. Du ...more
  • Claude Lévi-Strauss (; French: [klod levi stʁos]; 28 November 1908 – 30 October 2009) was a Belgium-born French anthropologist and ethnologist whose work was key in the development of the theory of ...more
  • Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis of Condorcet (French: [maʁi ʒɑ̃n‿ɑ̃twan nikola də kaʁita kɔ̃dɔʁsɛ]; 17 September 1743 – 29 March 1794), known as Nicolas de Condorcet, was a French ...more
  • Simone Adolphine Weil (; French: [simɔn vɛj] (listen); 3 February 1909 – 24 August 1943) was a French philosopher, mystic, and political activist. The mathematician André Weil was her brother.After ...more
  • Allan Kardec (French: [kaʁdɛk]) is the pen name of the French educator, translator and author Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail ([ʁivɑj]; 3 October 1804 – 31 March 1869). He is the author of the five ...more
  • Julien Offray de La Mettrie (French: [ɔfʁɛ də la metʁi]; November 23, 1709 – November 11, 1751) was a French physician and philosopher, and one of the earliest of the French materialists of the ...more
  • Didier Eribon (born 10 July 1953) is a French author and philosopher, and a historian of French intellectual life. He lives in Paris.
  • Pierre Bourdieu (French: [buʁdjø]; 1 August 1930 – 23 January 2002) was a French sociologist, anthropologist, philosopher and public intellectual.Bourdieu's work was primarily concerned with the ...more
  • Gabriel Honoré Marcel (1889–1973) was a French philosopher, playwright, music critic and leading Christian existentialist. The author of over a dozen books and at least thirty plays, Marcel's work ...more