16th Century Philosophers

Find out more about the greatest 16th Century Philosophers, including Galileo Galilei, René Déscartes, Niccolò Machiavelli, Nicolaus Copernicus and Thomas Hobbes.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Niccolò Machiavelli

Niccolò Machiavelli.
Famous As: Political Philosopher
Birthdate: May 3, 1469
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 21, 1527
Italian Renaissance philosopher, diplomat, and author Niccolò Machiavelli is remembered for his work The Prince. He believed that the end or the intention behind any action justifies the action. He gave rise to the term Machiavellianism, which signifies the use of deceit and treachery to achieve one’s goals. 

 2 René Déscartes

René Déscartes.
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher and Writer
Birthdate: March 31, 1596
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: La Haye en Touraine, Touraine, France
Died: February 11, 1650
René Descartes, the father of modern philosophy, laid down the idea of rationalism, later followed by Spinoza and Leibniz. Descartes also contributed to the field of analytical geometry and led to the Cartesian coordinate system being named after him. His Meditations on First Philosophy is still taught at many universities.
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 3 Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon.
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 22, 1561
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Strand, London, England
Died: April 9, 1626

Francis Bacon was a Renaissance philosopher and author who was known as the Father of Empiricism, because of his belief in the scientific method and theory that scientific knowledge can only be created through inductive reasoning and experience. He was later knighted and served as the first Queen's counsel.

 4 Kabir

Famous As: Saint and Mystic Poet
Birthdate: 1440 AD
Birthplace: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Died: 1518 AD

Kabir was an Indian saint and mystic poet whose works influenced Hinduism's Bhakti movement, which in turn played a key role in the formation of Sikhism, the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. Kabir is an important figure in both Hinduism and Islam and his legacy continues to live through a religious community known as the Kabir panth.

 5 Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne.
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 28, 1533
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Château de Montaigne
Died: September 13, 1592

French philosopher Michel de Montaigne was a significant figure of the French Renaissance in the 16th century. He is credited for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His massive collection of essays was published in the volume Essais. His work had a direct influence on Western writers, including René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, and Voltaire.

 6 Giordano Bruno

Giordano Bruno.
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1548 AD
Birthplace: Nola, Italy
Died: February 17, 1600

Giordano Bruno was an Italian philosopher, friar, mathematician, cosmological theorist, poet, and Hermetic occultist. Best remembered for his cosmological theories, Bruno insisted that the universe could have no center as it is infinite. In 2004, Herbert Steffen founded the Giordano Bruno Foundation in Bruno's honor.

 7 Cesare Beccaria

Cesare Beccaria
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: March 15, 1738
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan
Died: November 28, 1794

Cesare Beccaria was an 18th-century Italian criminologist, philosopher, jurist, and politician. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest thinkers of the Age of Enlightenment. He is still remembered for his treatise On Crimes and Punishments (1764), a pioneering work in the field of penology. He is considered the father of modern criminal law. 

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 8 Hugo Grotius

Hugo Grotius
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: April 10, 1583
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Delft
Died: August 28, 1645

 9 Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila.
Famous As: Saint
Birthdate: March 28, 1515
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gotarrendura
Died: October 4, 1582

Teresa of Ávila, also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a Spanish noblewoman who later turned into a Carmelite nun. She was posthumously named a Doctor of the Church. She co-established the Discalced Carmelite Order. Her written works include The Interior Castle and her own autobiography.

 10 Purandara Dasa

Purandara Dasa
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1484 AD
Birthplace: Shimoga, Karnataka, India
Died: January 2, 1564

 11 Jean Bodin

Jean Bodin
Famous As: jurist, philosopher, economist, historian, political scientist
Birthdate: 1529 AD
Birthplace: Angers
Died: 1596 AD

 12 Mulla Sadra

Mulla Sadra
Famous As: philosopher, writer
Birthdate: 1571 AD
Birthplace: Shiraz
Died: 1636 AD

 13 Jacobus Arminius

Jacobus Arminius
Famous As: Theologian, University teacher
Birthdate: October 10, 1560
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oudewater
Died: October 19, 1609

 14 Marin Mersenne

Marin Mersenne
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, Mathematician, Musicologist, Music theorist, Physicist
Birthdate: September 8, 1588
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oizé
Died: September 1, 1648

 15 Wang Yangming

Wang Yangming
Famous As: Calligrapher
Birthdate: October 26, 1472
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Yuyao, Zhejiang Province
Died: January 9, 1529

 16 Vallabhacharya

Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 27, 1479
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Champaran, India
Died: June 26, 1531

 17 Pierre Gassendi

Pierre Gassendi
Famous As: Philosopher, Mathematician, Astronomer, Professor, Astrologer
Birthdate: January 22, 1592
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Champtercier
Died: October 24, 1655

French Catholic priest and astronomer Pierre Gassendi is remembered for his efforts to reconcile atomism with Christian ideals and for his anti-Aristotelianism. His studies included research on Epicurean philosophy. Apart from observing the transit of Mercury, he also studied the speed of sound and horizontal momentum.

 18 Dadu Dayal

Dadu Dayal
Famous As: Hindu saint
Birthdate: 1544 AD
Birthplace: Ahmadabad, India
Died: 1603 AD

Legend has it that Dadu Dayal was found floating in the Sabarmati river by a rich businessman named Lodhi Ram. Dadu initially worked as a cotton carder but later became a religious preacher who rejected Vedic superiority and caste barriers. He founded Dadu Panth and wrote countless devotional hymns.

 19 Thomas Cajetan

Thomas Cajetan
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 20, 1469
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gaeta, Italy
Died: August 9, 1534

 20 Petrus Ramus

Petrus Ramus
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1515 AD
Birthplace: Picardy, France
Died: August 26, 1572

 21 Luis de Molina

Luis de Molina
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 29, 1535
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cuenca, Spain
Died: October 12, 1600

 22 Gemma Frisius

Gemma Frisius
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 9, 1508
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dokkum, Netherlands
Died: May 25, 1555

 23 Rupa Goswami

Rupa Goswami
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: 1493 AD
Birthplace: Jessore District, Bangladesh
Died: 1564 AD

 24 Giovanni Botero

Giovanni Botero
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1544 AD
Birthplace: Piedmont, Italy
Died: June 23, 1617

 25 Hector Boece

Hector Boece
Famous As: Scottish philosopher
Birthdate: 1465 AD
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland
Died: 1536 AD

 26 Matthias Flacius

Matthias Flacius
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: March 3, 1520
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Labin, Croatia
Died: March 11, 1575

 27 Bernardino Telesio

Bernardino Telesio
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 7, 1509
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cosenza, Italy
Died: October 2, 1588

 28 Damião de Góis

Damião de Góis
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 2, 1502
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Alenquer, Portugal
Died: January 30, 1574

 29 Demetrios Chalkokondyles

Demetrios Chalkokondyles
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: July 31, 1423
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: January 9, 1511

 30 Pietro Pomponazzi

Pietro Pomponazzi
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 16, 1462
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mantua, Italy
Died: May 18, 1525

 31 Alessandro Achillini

Alessandro Achillini
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 20, 1463
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: August 2, 1512

 32 Raghunatha Shiromani

Raghunatha Shiromani
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1477 AD
Birthplace: Navadvipa, India
Died: 1547 AD

 33 Muretus

Famous As: Author
Birthdate: April 12, 1526
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Limoges, France
Died: June 4, 1585

 34 Melchor Cano

Melchor Cano
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: January 6, 1509
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spain
Died: September 30, 1560

 35 Jacques Besson

Jacques Besson
Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: 1540 AD
Birthplace: Italy
Died: 1573 AD

 36 Battista Guarino

Battista Guarino
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: 1435 AD
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Died: 1513 AD

 37 Jacopo Aconcio

Jacopo Aconcio
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: 1520 AD
Birthplace: Trento, Italy
Died: 1566 AD

Jacopo Aconcio was an Italian jurist, philosopher, theologian, and engineer. He is best remembered for his immense contribution to the history of religious toleration. He is also remembered for publishing a secular work that emphasizes the importance of a scientific approach.