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
14
Famous As: Diplomat
Birthdate: May 3, 1469
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 22, 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 Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon
8
Famous As: Philosopher, Politician
Birthdate: January 22, 1561
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: York House, 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.

 3 Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes
9
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 5, 1588
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Westport, Wiltshire, England
Died: December 4, 1679

Thomas Hobbes was an English philosopher. Widely regarded as the co-founder of modern political philosophy, Hobbes is best known for his influential book Leviathan. Apart from political philosophy, Thomas Hobbes also contributed immensely to various other fields, such as ethics, theology, geometry, history, and jurisprudence.

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 4 Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler
4
Famous As: Astronomer
Birthdate: December 27, 1571
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Weil der Stadt, Germany
Died: November 15, 1630

This 17th-century German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer is remembered for his pathbreaking work on optics. He invented a developed version of the refracting telescope. He also laid down Kepler's laws of planetary motion and wrote Astronomia Nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae.

 5 Miyamoto Musashi

Miyamoto Musashi
4
Famous As: Swordsman & Philosopher
Birthdate: March 1, 1584
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Harima Province, Japan
Died: May 19, 1645

Miyamoto Musashi was a Japanese swordsman, writer, strategist, and philosopher. Widely regarded as a Kensei, Musashi became famous through his stories of bravery, which involves his undefeated streak of 61 duels. He is also credited with founding the Niten Ichi-ryū school of swordsmanship. His life has inspired several films, TV series, stage plays, and video games.

 6 Giordano Bruno

Giordano Bruno
4
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 John Dee

John Dee
5
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
Birthdate: July 13, 1527
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tower Ward, London
Died: February 29, 1609

Anglo-Welsh mathematician, occultist, astronomer, teacher, astrologer and alchemist John Dee is best-remembered as advisor to Queen of England, Elizabeth I. Dee coined the term British Empire and advocated its formation by founding of English colonies in the New World. He had one of the largest libraries in England at the time and wrote on astrology, geography, trigonometry, navigation and calendar reform.

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 8 Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 28, 1466
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Died: July 12, 1536

Born as an illegitimate child of a priest from Rotterdam, Desiderius Erasmus later grew up to be a significant figure of the northern Renaissance. He is remembered for his research on free will and for being the first to edit the New Testament, replacing traditional elements with new-age humanism.

 9 Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 8, 1533
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Château de Montaigne, France
Died: September 3, 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.

 10 Cesare Beccaria

Cesare Beccaria
3
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. 

 11 Kabir

Kabir
8
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.

 12 Jean Bodin

Jean Bodin
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1530 AD
Birthplace: Angers, France
Died: 1596 AD

 13 Mulla Sadra

Mulla Sadra
3
Famous As: philosopher, writer
Birthdate: 1571 AD
Birthplace: Shiraz
Died: 1636 AD

Mulla Sadra was a Persian Twelver Shi'i Islamic mystic and philosopher. He was also an Alim who led the Iranian cultural renaissance in the 17th century. He is considered one of the most influential philosophers in the Muslim world in the last four hundred years. He tried to prove the idea of Unity of Existence through his works.

 14 Jakob Böhme

Jakob Böhme
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 24, 1575
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stary Zawidów, Poland
Died: November 17, 1624

German mystic and philosopher Jakob Böhme is best remembered for his works such as On the Election of Grace and Mysterium Magnum. While he was initially a shoemaker’s apprentice, he later focused on studies on mysticism and free will. He inspired both German idealism and romanticism greatly.

 15 Purandara Dasa

Purandara Dasa
3
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1484 AD
Birthplace: Shimoga, Karnataka, India
Died: January 2, 1564

 16 Jacobus Arminius

Jacobus Arminius
3
Famous As: Theologian, University teacher
Birthdate: October 10, 1560
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Oudewater
Died: October 19, 1609

Dutch theologian and professor Jacobus Arminius opposed the orthodox Calvinism of his time and introduced a new system, known as Arminianism, in response. He is remembered for his Opera theologica, published posthumously, and for paving the path for the growth of Methodism in the West.

 17 Wang Yangming

Wang Yangming
2
Famous As: Calligrapher
Birthdate: October 26, 1472
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Yuyao, Zhejiang Province
Died: January 9, 1529

 18 Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila
3
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.

 19 Marin Mersenne

Marin Mersenne
2
Famous As: Mathematician
Birthdate: September 8, 1588
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oizé, France
Died: September 1, 1648

 20 Francisco de Vitoria

Francisco de Vitoria
2
Famous As: Spanish Roman Catholic philosopher, theologian, and jurist of Renaissance Spain
Birthdate: 1483 AD
Birthplace: Burgos, Spain
Died: August 12, 1546

Francisco de Vitoria was a Spanish Roman Catholic theologian, philosopher, and jurist of Renaissance Spain. He founded the School of Salamanca, a tradition in philosophy. He made tremendous contributions to the theory of just war and international law. His works have been interpreted by various scholars to support contrary policies. He taught at the universities of Valladolid and of Salamanca. 

 21 Francisco Suárez

Francisco Suárez
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 5, 1548
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Granada, Spain
Died: September 25, 1617

Spanish Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian Francisco Suárez was born to an affluent lawyer and had initially studied law. However, he joined the Jesuits later, following which he taught philosophy and theology. Known for writing Disputationes Metaphysicae, he was a prime figure of the School of Salamanca movement.

 22 Tommaso Campanella

Tommaso Campanella
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 5, 1568
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Stilo, Italy
Died: May 21, 1639

Tommaso Campanella was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, astrologer, and poet. His heterodox views often brought him into conflict with the authorities, and he was imprisoned for several years. In prison, he wrote The City of the Sun, a utopia describing an egalitarian theocratic society. He also defended astronomer Galileo Galilei in his first trial. 

 23 Pierre Gassendi

Pierre Gassendi
2
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.

 24 Shaykh Aḥmad Sirhindī

Shaykh Aḥmad Sirhindī
7
Famous As: Islamic scholar
Birthdate: June 26, 1564
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sirhind, India
Died: December 10, 1624

Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi was an Indian Islamic scholar. A member of the famous Naqshbandī Sufi order, Sirhindi was widely known as a reviver for his work in resurrecting Islam during Mughal Emperor Akbar's reign. He is also remembered for his contributions to Sufi practices and epistemology. There is a shrine named Rauza Sharif dedicated to Sirhindi in Sirhind, Punjab, India.

 25 Justus Lipsius

Justus Lipsius
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 18, 1547
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Overijse, Belgium
Died: March 23, 1606

 26 Petrus Ramus

Petrus Ramus
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1515 AD
Birthplace: Picardy, France
Died: August 26, 1572

 27 Luis de Molina

Luis de Molina
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 29, 1535
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cuenca, Spain
Died: October 12, 1600

 28 Gemma Frisius

Gemma Frisius
2
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 9, 1508
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dokkum, Netherlands
Died: May 25, 1555

Gemma Frisius introduced the triangulation method for map-making, that is still an integral part of surveys these days. He also created detailed globes and mathematical instruments and was a co-founder of the Netherlandish school of cartography. He also released the first published drawing of a pinhole camera obscura.

 29 Giovanni Botero

Giovanni Botero
1
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: 1544 AD
Birthplace: Piedmont, Italy
Died: June 23, 1617

 30 Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert

Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert
1
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: March 3, 1582
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Eyton-on-Severn, England
Died: August 5, 1648

English philosopher Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert is regarded as the father of English Deism. Best remembered for his iconic work De Veritate, he had also penned a revealing autobiography. A talented lute player, too, he had also composed several musical pieces. He had also been a soldier and a diplomat.

 31 Baha' al-din al-'Amili

Baha' al-din al-'Amili
1
Famous As: islamic Scholar
Birthdate: February 18, 1547
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baalbek, Lebanon
Died: September 1, 1621

Baha' al-din al-'Amili was an Arab Iranian Shia philosopher, Islamic scholar, architect, astronomer, mathematician, and poet who flourished in Safavid Iran during the late 16th and early 17th century. Baha' al-din al-'Amili was one of the first astronomers in the Islamic world to advocate the possibility of the Earth's movement before the outspread of the Copernican theory.

 32 Andrea Cesalpino

Andrea Cesalpino
1
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 6, 1519
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Arezzo, Italy
Died: February 23, 1603

 33 Hector Boece

Hector Boece
1
Famous As: Scottish philosopher
Birthdate: 1465 AD
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland
Died: 1536 AD

Hector Boece was a Scottish historian and philosopher best remembered for his role as the first principal of King's College, a precursor of the University of Aberdeen, where he often delivered lectures on divinity and on medicine. He is also remembered for his books, History of the Scottish People and Lives of the Bishops of Murthlack and Aberdeen. 

 34 Matthias Flacius

Matthias Flacius
2
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: March 3, 1520
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Labin, Croatia
Died: March 11, 1575

 35 Mīr Dāmād

Mīr Dāmād
1
Famous As: Islamic philosopher
Birthdate: 1561 AD
Birthplace: Gorgan, Iran
Died: 1631 AD

 36 William Ames

William Ames
1
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1576 AD
Birthplace: Ipswich, England
Died: November 14, 1633

 37 Hayashi Razan

Hayashi Razan
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1583 AD
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Died: March 7, 1657

 38 Rupa Goswami

Rupa Goswami
1
Famous As: Teacher
Birthdate: 1493 AD
Birthplace: Jessore District, Bangladesh
Died: 1564 AD

Along with his brother Sanatana Goswami, Rupa Goswami had arrived in Vrindavan as a servant of spiritual leader Lord Chaitanya, who is considered an incarnation of Lord Krishna. A Gaudiya Vaishnava philosopher, he wrote on the science of rasa-tattva. His followers are known as Rupanugas.

 39 Damião de Góis

Damião de Góis
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 2, 1502
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Alenquer, Portugal
Died: January 30, 1574

 40 Bernardino Telesio

Bernardino Telesio
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: November 7, 1509
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cosenza, Italy
Died: October 2, 1588

 41 Demetrios Chalkokondyles

Demetrios Chalkokondyles
1
Famous As: Scholar
Birthdate: July 31, 1423
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: January 9, 1511

Demetrios Chalkokondyles was a Greek scholar whose works were recognized and appreciated in the West. He taught Greek literature for over 40 years and among his students at the University of  Florence was the popular Johann Reuchlin. Demetrios Chalkokondyles is also credited with editing the works of Homer.

 42 Johannes Althusius

Johannes Althusius
1
Famous As: Jurist
Birthdate: 1557 AD
Birthplace: Diedenshausen, Bad Berleburg, Germany
Died: August 12, 1638

 43 Pierre Charron

Pierre Charron
1
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: 1541 AD
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: November 16, 1603

 44 Francisco Sanches

Francisco Sanches
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1550 AD
Birthplace: Tui, Spain
Died: November 16, 1623

Francisco Sanches was a skeptic, philosopher and physician, best known for his 1581 skeptical work, Quod nihil scitur (That Nothing Is Known). Born in Spain and educated in France and Italy, he served as a professor of philosophy and medicine at the University of Toulouse, publishing several other works, which are believed to have influenced eminent philosophers like René Descartes.

 45 Pietro Pomponazzi

Pietro Pomponazzi
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 16, 1462
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mantua, Italy
Died: May 18, 1525

 46 John of St. Thomas

John of St. Thomas
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 9, 1589
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lisbon, Portugal
Died: June 17, 1644

 47 Thomas Cajetan

Thomas Cajetan
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 20, 1469
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Gaeta, Italy
Died: August 9, 1534

Thomist school theologian and philosopher Thomas Cajetan began his spiritual career with the Dominican order. Initially a professor of metaphysics, he criticized Scotism. He is best remembered for his commentary on St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica. He also penned critical works and commentaries on Aristotle and others.

 48 Alessandro Achillini

Alessandro Achillini
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 20, 1463
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: August 2, 1512

 49 Vallabhacharya

Vallabhacharya
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 27, 1479
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Champaran, India
Died: June 26, 1531

 50 François de La Mothe Le Vayer

François de La Mothe Le Vayer
0
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 1, 1588
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: May 9, 1672