Famous 17th Century British Philosophers

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 1 John Locke

John Locke
Famous As: Father of Classical Liberalism
Birthdate: August 29, 1632
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wrington, Somerset, England
Died: October 28, 1704
John Locke, also known as The Father of Liberalism, was a prominent Enlightenment Age philosopher. A qualified physician, Locke postulated the theory of mind, empiricism, and the idea of tabula rasa. His ideas influenced the social contract theory, the works of Kant and Rousseau, and the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

 2 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.

 3 Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes
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 George Berkeley

George Berkeley
Famous As: philosopher
Birthdate: March 12, 1685
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: County Kilkenny, Ireland
Died: January 14, 1753

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.

 5 Robert Hooke

Robert Hooke
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 28, 1635
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Freshwater, Isle of Wight
Died: March 3, 1703

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.

 6 William Penn

William Penn
Famous As: Founder of the Province of Pennsylvania
Birthdate: October 14, 1644
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: July 30, 1718

William Penn was a writer and one of the earliest members of the Quakers. He is credited with founding the Province of Pennsylvania. He also oversaw the planning and development of the city of Philadelphia. Penn has several universities and schools named in his honor, including the William Penn University in Iowa. 

 7 John Dee

John Dee
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 Robert Boyle

Robert Boyle
Famous As: Founder of Modern Chemistry, Boyle's Law
Birthdate: January 25, 1627
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ireland
Died: December 30, 1691

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.

 9 Thomas Browne

Thomas Browne
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 19, 1605
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 19, 1682

Thomas Browne was an English author and polymath who wrote several books on varied fields, such as religion, medicine, science, and the esoteric. Browne incorporated different styles of writing depending upon the genre he was working on. Over the years, his writing has influenced several other writers like Herman Melville. Browne's works have been admired by personalities like William Osler.

 10 Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish

Lady Margaret Lucas Cavendish
Famous As: philosopher, scientist, poet, science fiction writer
Birthdate: 1623 AD
Birthplace: Colchester, England
Died: December 15, 1673

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.

 11 William Petty

William Petty
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: May 26, 1623
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Romsey, Hampshire, England
Died: December 16, 1687

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.

 12 Francis Hutcheson

Francis Hutcheson
Famous As: philosopher, economist
Birthdate: August 8, 1694
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saintfield
Died: January 14, 1747

 13 Gerrard Winstanley

Gerrard Winstanley
Famous As: Religious Reformer
Birthdate: October 19, 1609
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wigan, United Kingdom
Died: September 10, 1676

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.

 14 John Aubrey

John Aubrey
Famous As: Antiquary
Birthdate: March 12, 1626
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kington St Michael, Wiltshire, England
Died: June 7, 1697

 15 Algernon Sidney

Algernon Sidney
Famous As: Diplomat, Politician, Writer
Birthdate: January 15, 1623
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Baynard's Castle, London
Died: December 7, 1683

 16 Mary Astell

Mary Astell
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, Feminist
Birthdate: November 12, 1666
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne
Died: May 11, 1731

 17 Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 16, 1678
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Battersea, London, England
Died: December 12, 1751

 18 James Harrington

James Harrington
Famous As: British philosopher
Birthdate: January 3, 1611
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Upton, England
Died: September 11, 1677

 19 Henry More

Henry More
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 12, 1614
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lincolnshire, England
Died: September 1, 1687

 20 Kenelm Digby

Kenelm Digby
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 11, 1603
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gayhurst, England
Died: June 11, 1665

 21 Joseph Glanvill

Joseph Glanvill
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1636 AD
Birthplace: Plymouth, England
Died: November 4, 1680

 22 Edward Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert

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

 23 Ralph Cudworth

Ralph Cudworth
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: 1617 AD
Birthplace: Aller, England
Died: June 26, 1688

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.

 24 Anthony Collins

Anthony Collins
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 21, 1676
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Heston
Died: December 13, 1729

 25 William Ames

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

 26 William Wollaston

William Wollaston
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 26, 1659
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Coton Clanford, England
Died: October 29, 1724

 27 John Bulwer

John Bulwer
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 16, 1606
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 16, 1656

 28 Thomas Chubb

Thomas Chubb
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: September 29, 1679
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: East Harnham, England
Died: February 8, 1747

 29 John Norris

John Norris
Famous As: British priest and philosopher
Birthdate: 1657 AD
Birthplace: Collingbourne Kingston, Wiltshire, England
Died: 1712 AD

 30 Arthur Collier

Arthur Collier
Famous As: Priest
Birthdate: October 12, 1680
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Steeple Langford, England
Died: August 31, 1732

 31 Nathaniel Culverwell

Nathaniel Culverwell
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: 1619 AD
Birthplace: Middlesex, England
Died: 1651 AD