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.
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.
George Berkeley was an Anglo-Irish philosopher who is credited with popularizing a theory called immaterialism, which claims that material substance like tables and chairs can't exist without being perceived by the mind. Berkeley influenced several philosophers like David Hume. Also remembered for his humanitarian work, George Berkeley worked towards creating homes for abandoned children in London.
Scientist Robert Hooke, also called England's Leonardo, initially gained recognition as an architect, conducting surveys following the Great Fire of London. He also taught geometry and was part of the Royal Society. He assisted Robert Boyle and eventually developed his own microscope, thus becoming the first to visualize micro-organisms.
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.
Robert Boyle was an Anglo-Irish chemist, natural philosopher, inventor, and physicist. Regarded as the first modern chemist, Boyle is often counted among the founders of modern chemistry. One of the pioneers of the scientific method, Robert Boyle is also remembered for his books, including The Sceptical Chymist, which is viewed as a keystone book in chemistry.
Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish was an English poet, philosopher, playwright, fiction writer, and scientist. Margaret, who had the audacity to publish her works without using a pen name at a time when female writers remained anonymous, was ahead of her time. Not surprisingly, she was considered eccentric and earned the nickname Mad Madge. Her works gained popularity in the 1980s.
Initially a physician and anatomy professor, William Petty also taught music. However, he later established himself as a noted economist and became famous for his works such as Treatise of Taxes and Contributions. He was a surveyor under Oliver Cromwell and was a pioneer of political arithmetic.
Protestant reformer Gerrard Winstanley is best known for leading the Diggers, a group of English agrarian communists. Initially a cloth merchant, he was later drawn to communism, believing that land should be available to the poor, and penned The Law of Freedom in a Platform. He also advocated for universal religious tolerance.
Apart from being a diplomat, Kenelm Digby was also a renowned philosopher and astrologer. Though he had enrolled in Oxford, he quit without a degree. One of the greatest Catholic intellectuals of his time, he also served as a privateer and then as a naval administrator.
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.
Anglican clergyman and Ralph Cudworth was also a philosopher of ethics and a leading figure of Cambridge Platonism. One of his most notable works was The True Intellectual System of the Universe. He was a major critic of philosopher Thomas Hobbes’s views that equated morality to obedience.