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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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
age 65
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
Dec. 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
Dec. 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