The Most Famous Philosopher of All Time: Ranking History's Greatest Thinker

Choose the philosopher you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 9, 2024 08:18
Welcome to StrawPoll's quest to crown the most famous philosopher of all time! As seekers of wisdom and torchbearers of profound thought, philosophers have shaped our understanding of the world in countless ways. Now it's your turn to dive deep into the realm of intellect and cast your vote for the greatest mind of all time. Our extensive list features iconic thinkers from Socrates to Nietzsche, Kant to Confucius, and many more. But, if you find a brilliant mind missing from our list, don't hesitate to suggest an addition. Together, let's embark on a journey through the ages to celebrate and honor the greatest philosophical minds that have ever graced our world. So, put on your thinking cap and join the conversation - your vote could make all the difference in determining who will be hailed as the most famous philosopher of all time!

Who Is the Most Famous Philosopher of All Time?

  1. 1
    Plato is considered the most famous philosopher of all time due to his impact on Western philosophy and his extensive writings on various topics, including metaphysics, ethics, politics, and epistemology. His most famous work, "The Republic," explores the ideal society and the nature of justice.
  2. 2
    Aristotle was a student of Plato and is considered one of the greatest philosophers in history due to his contributions to logic, metaphysics, ethics, and politics. His works have influenced Western philosophy for centuries and continue to shape modern thought.
  3. 3
    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Friedrich Hermann Hartmann · Public domain

    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Friedrich Nietzsche
    Nietzsche is known for his critiques of traditional morality, his ideas on the "will to power," and his influence on existentialism and postmodernism. His works, such as "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" and "Beyond Good and Evil," continue to be studied and debated.
    Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher and cultural critic who is considered one of the most challenging philosophers to read. His works are characterized by their complex and often contradictory ideas, aphoristic writing style, and extensive use of metaphor and rhetoric. Nietzsche scrutinized various philosophical, moral, and cultural assumptions prevalent in Western society, questioning traditional values and advocating for a reevaluation of morality, religion, and human existence. His philosophy has had a profound influence on various disciplines including philosophy, literature, psychology, and anthropology.
    • Aphoristic Writing Style: Nietzsche's works are often composed in short, concise statements or aphorisms that require careful interpretation.
    • Idea of Eternal Recurrence: Nietzsche proposed the concept of eternal recurrence, suggesting that all events in the universe would recur infinitely.
    • Will to Power: Nietzsche theorized that the driving force behind all human actions is the will to power, asserting that power is the fundamental determinant of human behavior.
    • Death of God: Nietzsche famously proclaimed the death of God, signaling the decline of traditional religious beliefs and the need for new values and meaning.
    • Master-Slave Morality: Nietzsche critiqued traditional moral systems, arguing that they are rooted in a slave mentality that suppresses individual potential and creativity.
    Friedrich Nietzsche in other rankings
  4. 4
    Immanuel Kant
    Becker · Public domain

    Immanuel Kant

    Immanuel Kant
    Kant is known for his contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, particularly his idea of the "categorical imperative" and his critique of pure reason. His works have had a profound influence on modern philosophy and continue to be studied today.
    Immanuel Kant is a German philosopher who is widely regarded as one of the most difficult philosophers to read due to the complexity and depth of his philosophical writings. Kant's work primarily focused on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics.
    • Categorical Imperative: Kant's moral philosophy revolves around the concept of the categorical imperative, which emphasizes moral duties and obligations based on reason.
    • Transcendental Idealism: Kant proposed the philosophy of transcendental idealism, which suggests that our perception of reality is shaped by the structure of our minds.
    • Critique of Pure Reason: Kant's most notable work, the 'Critique of Pure Reason,' explores the limits of human knowledge, distinguishing between phenomena (appearances) and noumena (things-in-themselves).
    • Aesthetic Judgment: Kant introduced the concept of aesthetic judgment, which focuses on the subjective experience of beauty and the universality of aesthetic taste.
    • Practical Reason: Kant's ethical philosophy highlights the significance of practical reason in determining moral actions and the importance of acting in accordance with moral laws.
    Immanuel Kant in other rankings
  5. 5
    René Descartes
    After Frans Hals · Public domain
    Descartes is known for his contributions to metaphysics and epistemology, particularly his idea of "Cogito, ergo sum" ("I think, therefore I am") and his method of doubt. His works helped shape modern philosophy and continue to be studied and debated.
  6. 6
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    Maurice Quentin de La Tour · Public domain
    Rousseau is known for his contributions to political philosophy, particularly his ideas on the social contract, the general will, and the nature of freedom. His works have influenced political movements and continue to be studied and debated.
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau in other rankings
  7. 7
    John Stuart Mill
    London Stereoscopic Company · Public domain
    Mill is known for his contributions to ethics, politics, and economics, particularly his idea of utilitarianism and his defense of individual liberty. His works have influenced modern philosophy and continue to be studied and debated.
    John Stuart Mill in other rankings
  8. 8
    Kierkegaard is known for his contributions to existentialism, particularly his ideas on the nature of faith, the individual, and the absurd. His works have had a profound influence on modern philosophy and continue to be studied and debated today.
    Søren Kierkegaard in other rankings
  9. 9
    Baruch Spinoza
    anonymous  · Public domain
    Spinoza is known for his contributions to metaphysics and ethics, particularly his idea of God as the infinite and his defense of pantheism. His works have influenced modern philosophy and continue to be studied and debated.
    Baruch Spinoza in other rankings
  10. 10
    Confucius is known for his contributions to Chinese philosophy, particularly his ideas on ethics, social relationships, and the importance of education. His works continue to influence Chinese culture and philosophy today.

Missing your favorite philosopher?


Ranking factors for famous philosopher

  1. Influence
    The philosopher's impact on the development of philosophical thought, both contemporarily and in subsequent generations, is an essential factor. It includes their contributions to various branches of philosophy and whether their ideas have shaped and influenced other philosophers, academic disciplines, or cultural movements.
  2. Originality
    Assessing the philosopher's creativity and originality is crucial. Did they introduce groundbreaking concepts, theories, or methods that significantly pushed the boundaries of philosophical inquiry?
  3. Breadth of work
    The scope and diversity of a philosopher's work can also be considered. Did they make significant contributions across multiple philosophical areas, such as metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, political philosophy, or philosophy of mind? A philosopher with a broad range of influential works may be seen as more impactful.
  4. Enduring relevance
    The philosopher's ideas should have enduring relevance and continue to be debated and discussed by contemporary philosophers and scholars. If their work remains central to philosophical discourse centuries after their lifetime, it can indicate enduring influence and fame.
  5. Cultural impact
    A philosopher's influence on society, art, literature, politics, and other aspects of culture is another factor to consider. Did their ideas permeate beyond academic circles and shape the broader cultural landscape? Have their concepts been incorporated into popular discourse or influenced social and political movements?
  6. Recognition during their lifetime
    Consideration can be given to whether the philosopher achieved recognition, respect, and renown during their own time. Did they have a prominent position, teach notable students, or receive accolades and honors?

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous philosopher of all time. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or philosopher is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 163 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each philosopher once every 24 hours. The rank of each philosopher is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous philosopher of all time

Philosophy has been a defining aspect of human civilization for centuries, shaping the way we think and interact with each other and the world around us. From ancient Greece to modern times, philosophers have explored the most fundamental questions about existence, morality, and the nature of reality. But amongst these great thinkers, who stands out as the most famous philosopher of all time? This is a question that has fascinated scholars and enthusiasts alike for generations, and one that continues to spark debate and discussion today. In this article, we will explore some of the most prominent philosophers throughout history, and examine the factors that have contributed to their enduring fame and influence.

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