READ Famous Philosophers from France

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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.

1
Jean-Paul Sartre is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Jean-Paul Sartre Died at 75 (1905-1980) Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the key figures in the philosophy of ...more

2
Michel Foucault is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Michel Foucault Died at 58 (1926-1984) Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, philologist and literary critic. His theories addressed the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they ...more

3
Albert Schweitzer is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Albert Schweitzer Died at 90 (1875-1965) Albert Schweitzer, OM was a German—and later French—theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary in Africa, also known for his historical work on Jesus. He was born in ...more

4
Simone de Beauvoir is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Simone de Beauvoir Died at 78 (1908-1986) Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, commonly known as Simone de Beauvoir, was a French writer, intellectual, existentialist philosopher, political activist, feminist and social ...more

5
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Albert Camus Died at 47 (1913-1960) Albert Camus was a French Nobel Prize winning author, journalist, and philosopher. His views contributed to the rise of the philosophy known as absurdism. He wrote in his essay "The ...more

6
Henry David Thoreau is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Henry David Thoreau Died at 45 (1817-1862) Henry David Thoreau was an American author, naturalist, transcendentalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, sage writer and philosopher. He is best known for his book Walden, a ...more

7
René Descartes is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
René Descartes Died at 54 (1596-1650) René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician and writer who spent most of his life in the Dutch Republic. He has been dubbed the father of modern philosophy, and much subsequent ...more

8
Jean-Jacques Rousseau is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Died at 66 (1712-1778) Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer of the 18th century. His political philosophy influenced the French Revolution as well as the overall development of modern ...more

9
Voltaire is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Voltaire Died at 84 (1694-1778) François-Marie Arouet, known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic ...more

10
Blaise Pascal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Blaise Pascal Died at 39 (1623-1662) Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. Pascal's ...more

11
Auguste Comte is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Auguste Comte Died at 59 (1798-1857) Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte, better known as Auguste Comte, was a French philosopher. He was a founder of the discipline of sociology and of the doctrine of positivism. He ...more

12
Montesquieu is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Montesquieu Died at 66 (1689-1755) Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French lawyer, man of letters, and political philosopher who lived ...more

13
Roland Barthes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Roland Barthes Died at 65 (1915-1980) Roland Gérard Barthes was a French literary theorist, philosopher, linguist, critic, and semiotician. Barthes' ideas explored a diverse range of fields and he influenced the development ...more

14
Pierre Abélard is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Pierre Abélard Died at 63 (1079-1142) Peter Abelard was a medieval French scholastic philosopher, theologian and preeminent logician. He was also a composer. His affair with and love for Héloïse d'Argenteuil has become ...more

15
Denis Diderot is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Denis Diderot Died at 71 (1713-1784) Denis Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic and writer. He was a prominent figure during the Enlightenment and is best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor and contributor to the ...more

16
Michel de Montaigne is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Michel de Montaigne Died at 59 (1533-1592) Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of ...more

17
Émile Durkheim is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Émile Durkheim Died at 59 (1858-1917) David Émile Durkheim was a French sociologist, social psychologist and philosopher. He formally established the academic discipline and — with Karl Marx and Max Weber — is commonly cited ...more

18
Claude Lévi-Strauss is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Claude Lévi-Strauss Died at 101 (1908-2009) Claude Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist and ethnologist whose work was key in the development of the theory of structuralism and structural anthropology. He held the Chair of ...more

19
Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet Died at 51 (1743-1794) Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, marquis de Condorcet, known as Nicolas de Condorcet, was a French philosopher, mathematician, and early political scientist whose Condorcet method in ...more

20
Simone Weil is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Simone Weil Died at 34 (1909-1943) Simone Weil was a French philosopher, Christian mystic, and political activist. Weil's life was marked by an exceptional compassion for the suffering of others; at the age of six, for instance, ...more

21
Allan Kardec is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Allan Kardec Died at 65 (1804-1869) Allan Kardec is the pen name of the French educator, translator and author Hippolyte Léon Denizard Rivail. He is the author of the five books known as the Spiritist Codification, and is ...more

22
Julien Offray de La Mettrie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Julien Offray de La Mettrie Died at 42 (1709-1751) Julien Offray de La Mettrie was a French physician and philosopher, and one of the earliest of the French materialists of the Enlightenment. He is best known for his work L'homme machine ...more

23
Didier Eribon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Didier Eribon age 64 Didier Eribon is a French author and philosopher, and a historian of French intellectual life.

24
Pierre Bourdieu is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Pierre Bourdieu Died at 72 (1930-2002) Pierre Bourdieu was a sociologist, anthropologist, philosopher, and renowned public intellectual. Bourdieu's work was primarily concerned with the dynamics of power in society, and especially ...more

25
Gabriel Marcel is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Gabriel Marcel Died at 84 (1889-1973) Gabriel Honoré Marcel 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

26
Maurice Merleau-Ponty is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Maurice Merleau-Ponty Died at 53 (1908-1961) Maurice Merleau-Ponty was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The constitution of meaning in human experience was his main interest ...more

27
Jean François Revel is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Jean François Revel Died at 82 (1924-2006) Jean-François Revel was a French journalist, author, philosopher and a member of the Académie française from June 1998 onwards. A socialist in his youth, Revel later became ...more

28
Charles Péguy is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Charles Péguy Died at 41 (1873-1914) Charles Pierre Péguy was a noted French poet, essayist, and editor born in Orléans. His two main philosophies were socialism and nationalism, but by 1908 at the latest, after years ...more

29
Gilles Deleuze is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Gilles Deleuze Died at 70 (1925-1995) Gilles Deleuze was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes ...more

30
Jean-François Lyotard is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Jean-François Lyotard Died at 74 (1924-1998) Jean-François Lyotard was a French philosopher, sociologist, and literary theorist. His interdisciplinary discourse spans such topics as knowledge and communication, the human body, ...more

31
Tzvetan Todorov is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Tzvetan Todorov age 79 Tzvetan Todorov is a Bulgarian-French historian, philosopher, literary critic, sociologist and essayist. He is the author of many books and essays, which have a significant influence in ...more

32
Jacques Derrida is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Jacques Derrida Died at 74 (1930-2004) Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in Algeria. Derrida is best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as deconstruction, which he discussed in numerous texts. He is ...more

33
Henri Bergson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Henri Bergson Died at 82 (1859-1941) Henri-Louis Bergson was a major French philosopher, influential especially in the first half of the 20th century. Bergson convinced many thinkers that the processes of immediate experience and ...more

34
Paul Valéry is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Paul Valéry Died at 74 (1871-1945) Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry was a French poet, essayist, and philosopher. In addition to his poetry and fiction, his interests included aphorisms on art, history, letters, music, ...more

35
Frédéric Bastiat is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Frédéric Bastiat Died at 49 (1801-1850) Claude Frédéric Bastiat was a French classical liberal theorist, political economist, and member of the French assembly. He was notable for developing the important economic ...more

36
Michel Onfray is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Michel Onfray age 59 Michel Onfray is a contemporary French writer and philosopher who adheres to hedonism, atheism, and anarchism. He is a highly prolific author on philosophy, having written more than 50 books. He ...more

37
Julia Kristeva is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Julia Kristeva age 76 Julia Kristeva is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, psychoanalyst, sociologist, feminist, and, most recently, novelist, who has lived in France since the mid-1960s. She is now a ...more

38
Jean Bodin is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Jean Bodin Died at 66 (1530-1596) Jean Bodin was a French jurist and political philosopher, member of the Parlement of Paris and professor of law in Toulouse. He is best known for his theory of sovereignty; he was also an ...more

39
Henry Corbin is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Henry Corbin Died at 75 (1903-1978) Henry Corbin was a philosopher, theologian and professor of Islamic Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. Corbin was born in Paris in April 1903. Although he was Protestant by birth, he was ...more

40
Sarah Kofman is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Sarah Kofman Died at 60 (1934-1994) Sarah Kofman was a French philosopher, born in Paris. Kofman began her teaching career in Toulouse in 1960, and worked with both Jean Hyppolite and Gilles Deleuze. Her primary thesis, later ...more

41
Arthur Koestler is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Arthur Koestler Died at 78 (1905-1983) Arthur Koestler, CBE was a Hungarian-British author and journalist. Koestler was born in Budapest and, apart from his early school years, was educated in Austria. In 1931 Koestler joined the ...more

42
Benny Lévy is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Benny Lévy Died at 58 (1945-2003) Benny Lévy was a philosopher, political activist and author. A political figure of May 1968 in France, he was the disciple and last personal secretary of Jean-Paul Sartre from 1974 to ...more

43
Jean le Rond d'Alembert is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Jean le Rond d'Alembert Died at 66 (1717-1783) Jean-Baptiste le Rond d'Alembert was a French mathematician, mechanician, physicist, philosopher, and music theorist. Until 1759 he was also co-editor with Denis Diderot of the ...more

44
Edouard Schure is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Edouard Schure Died at 88 (1841-1929) Eduard Schuré was a French philosopher, poet, playwright, novelist, music critic, and publicist of esoteric literature.

45
Marcel Gauchet is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Marcel Gauchet age 72 Marcel Gauchet is a French historian, philosopher and sociologist. Gauchet is professor at the Centre de recherches politiques Raymond Aron at the École des Hautes Études en ...more

46
Pierre Hadot is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Pierre Hadot Died at 88 (1922-2010) Pierre Hadot was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy specializing in ancient philosophy, particularly Neoplatonism.

47
Constantin-François Chassebœuf is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Constantin-François Chassebœuf Died at 63 (1757-1820) Constantin François de Chassebœuf, comte de Volney was a French philosopher, abolitionist, historian, orientalist, and politician. He was at first surnamed Boisgirais after his father's ...more

48
Félix Guattari is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Félix Guattari Died at 62 (1930-1992) Pierre-Félix Guattari was a French militant, an institutional psychotherapist, philosopher, and semiologist; he founded both schizoanalysis and ecosophy. Guattari is best known for his ...more

49
Jacques Lacan is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Jacques Lacan Died at 80 (1901-1981) Jacques Marie Émile Lacan was a French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist who has been called "the most controversial psycho-analyst since Freud". Giving yearly seminars in Paris ...more

50
Baron d'Holbach is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list Famous Philosophers from France
Baron d'Holbach Died at 66 (1723-1789) Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach French; was a French-German author, philosopher, encyclopedist and a prominent figure in the French Enlightenment. He was born Paul Heinrich Dietrich in ...more