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Famous Philosophers from France

Updated June 14, 2019 62.7k views284 items

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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  • 1

    Jean-Paul Sartre

    Dec. at 75 (1905-1980)
    Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (, US also ; French: [saʁtʁ]; 21 June 1905 – 15 April 1980)...  more

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  • 2

    Michel Foucault

    Dec. at 58 (1926-1984)
    Paul-Michel Foucault (UK: FOO-koh, US: foo-KOH, French: [pɔl miʃɛl fuko]; 15 October 1926 –...  more

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  • 3

    Albert Schweitzer

    Dec. at 90 (1875-1965)
    Albert Schweitzer (14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was an Alsatian polymath. He was a...  more

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  • 4

    Simone de Beauvoir

    Dec. at 78 (1908-1986)
    Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir (UK: , US: , French: [simɔn də bovwaʁ]...  more

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  • 5

    Albert Camus

    Dec. at 47 (1913-1960)
    Albert Camus (; French: [albɛʁ kamy] (listen); 7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960) was a French...  more

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  • 6

    Henry David Thoreau

    Dec. at 45 (1817-1862)
    Henry David Thoreau (see name pronunciation; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862) was an American...  more

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  • 7

    René Descartes

    Dec. at 54 (1596-1650)
    René Descartes ( day-KART, also UK: DAY-kart, French: [ʁəne dekaʁt] (listen); Latinized:...  more
  • 8

    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    Dec. at 66 (1712-1778)
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau (UK: , US: ; French: [ʒɑ̃ˈʒak ʁuˈso]; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a...  more

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  • 9

    Voltaire

    Dec. at 84 (1694-1778)
    François-Marie Arouet (French: [fʁɑ̃swa maʁi aʁwɛ]; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by...  more

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  • 10

    Blaise Pascal

    Dec. at 39 (1623-1662)
    Blaise Pascal ( pa-SKAL, also UK: -⁠SKAHL, PASK-əl, -⁠al, US: pah-SKAHL, French: [blɛz...  more

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  • 11

    Auguste Comte

    Dec. at 59 (1798-1857)
    Isidore Marie Auguste François Xavier Comte (pronounced [oɡyst kɔ̃t] (listen); 19 January 1798...  more
  • 12

    Montesquieu

    Dec. at 66 (1689-1755)
    Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (; French: [mɔ̃tɛskjø]; 18...  more
  • 13

    Roland Barthes

    Dec. at 65 (1915-1980)
    Roland Gérard Barthes (; French: [ʁɔlɑ̃ baʁt]; 12 November 1915 – 26 March 1980) was a French...  more
  • 14

    Pierre Abélard

    Dec. at 63 (1079-1142)
    Peter Abelard (; Latin: Petrus Abaelardus or Abailardus; French: Pierre Abélard, pronounced...  more
  • 15

    Denis Diderot

    Dec. at 71 (1713-1784)
    Denis Diderot (French: [dəni did(ə)ʁo]; 5 October 1713 – 31 July 1784) was a French...  more

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  • 16

    Michel de Montaigne

    Dec. at 59 (1533-1592)
    Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne ( mon-TAYN, French: [miʃɛl ekɛm də mɔ̃tɛɲ]; 28...  more

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  • 17

    Émile Durkheim

    Dec. at 59 (1858-1917)
    David Émile Durkheim (French: [emil dyʁkɛm] or [dyʁkajm]; 15 April 1858 – 15 November 1917)...  more
  • 18

    Claude Lévi-Strauss

    Dec. at 101 (1908-2009)
    Claude Lévi-Strauss (; French: [klod levi stʁos]; 28 November 1908 – 30 October 2009) was a...  more
  • 19
    Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis of Condorcet (French: [maʁi ʒɑ̃n‿ɑ̃twan nikola...  more
  • 20

    Simone Weil

    Dec. at 34 (1909-1943)
    Simone Adolphine Weil (; French: [simɔn vɛj] (listen); 3 February 1909 – 24 August 1943) was a...  more
  • 21

    Allan Kardec

    Dec. at 65 (1804-1869)
    Allan Kardec (French: [kaʁdɛk]) is the pen name of the French educator, translator and author...  more
  • 22

    Julien Offray de La Mettrie

    Dec. at 42 (1709-1751)
    Julien Offray de La Mettrie (French: [ɔfʁɛ də la metʁi]; November 23, 1709 – November 11,...  more
  • 23
    Didier Eribon (born 10 July 1953) is a French author and philosopher, and a historian of...  more
  • 24

    Pierre Bourdieu

    Dec. at 72 (1930-2002)
    Pierre Bourdieu (French: [buʁdjø]; 1 August 1930 – 23 January 2002) was a French sociologist,...  more
  • 25

    Gabriel Marcel

    Dec. at 84 (1889-1973)
    Gabriel Honoré Marcel (1889–1973) was a French philosopher, playwright, music critic and...  more