Famous 19th Century American Philosophers

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 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson
5
Famous As: American Lecturer, Philosopher, Essayist & Poet
Birthdate: May 25, 1803
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 27, 1882

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American philosopher who led the transcendentalist movement that developed in the eastern United States in the 1820s and 1830s. He is credited with popularizing individualism through his numerous lectures and essays. Emerson influenced many thinkers and writers that followed him; he mentored Henry David Thoreau, who went on to become a leading transcendentalist.

 2 John Dewey

John Dewey
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 20, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burlington, Vermont, United States
Died: June 1, 1952

A staunch advocate of progressive education and liberalism, the American philosopher and psychologist was the founder of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. John Dewey’s famous writings included The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology and Human Nature and Conduct. According to him, passion for knowledge and intellectual curiosity were central to a teacher. He called himself a democratic socialist.

 3 William James

William James
4
Famous As: Philosopher, Psychologist
Birthdate: January 11, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: August 26, 1910

William James was an American psychologist and philosopher. Widely regarded as the father of American psychology and one of the most influential American philosophers, James was the first educator in the United States to offer a course in psychology. He is also credited with co-founding a psychological school of thought called functional psychology and establishing a philosophical school called pragmatism.

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 4 Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau
4
Famous As: Writer and Philosopher
Birthdate: July 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Concord, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 6, 1862

Henry David Thoreau was an American philosopher, essayist, poet, and naturalist. He is credited with popularizing transcendentalism and simple living. His philosophy of civil disobedience, which was detailed in his essay of the same name, later influenced world-renowned personalities like Leo Tolstoy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi.

 5 George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 27, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Hadley, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 26, 1931

American philosopher and social psychologist George Herbert Mead was one of the pioneers of pragmatism and symbolic interactionism. He taught at the University of Chicago, and his ideas later came to be known as the Chicago school of sociology. His notable lectures were published as books only after his death.

 6 Helena Blavatsky

Helena Blavatsky
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 12, 1831
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Yekaterinoslav, Russian Empire (now Ukraine)
Died: May 8, 1891

Russian philosopher Helena Blavatsky, or Madame Blavatsky, was one of the co-founders of the Theosophical Society. She popularized the slogan “There is no religion higher than truth.” She was inspired by the Arya Samaj and later converted to Buddhism. She also wrote books such as The Secret Doctrine.

 7 Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr
4
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: June 21, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wright City, Missouri
Died: June 1, 1971
An American Reformed theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr wrote and spoke frequently about the intersection of religion, politics, and public policy. He is widely known for his philosophical perspective known as Christian Realism and his book Moral Man and Immoral Society. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and the Time magazine posthumously called him "the greatest Protestant theologian in America since Jonathan Edwards."
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 8 Alfred North Whitehead

Alfred North Whitehead
3
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
Birthdate: February 15, 1861
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ramsgate, Kent, England
Died: December 30, 1947

Alfred North Whitehead was a British mathematician and philosopher, best known for his collaboration with his student Bertrand Russell on Principal of Mathematics, a three-volume work on the foundations of mathematics. Also known for his pioneering works on process philosophy and metaphysics, he is credited with developing a comprehensive metaphysical system that differs from most Western philosophies.

 9 Charles Sanders Peirce

Charles Sanders Peirce
3
Famous As: Scientist, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 10, 1839
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died: April 19, 1914

 10 Will Durant

Will Durant
3
Famous As: Writer, Historian, Philosopher
Birthdate: November 5, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: North Adams, Massachusetts
Died: November 7, 1981

Will Durant was an American writer, philosopher, and historian. He is credited with writing The Story of Philosophy which helped popularize philosophy in the USA. Will is also remembered for co-writing an 11-volume set of books titled The Story of Civilization along with his wife Ariel. Will and Ariel were awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 11 Norbert Wiener

Norbert Wiener
3
Famous As: Father of Cybernetics
Birthdate: November 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Columbia, Missouri, United States
Died: March 18, 1964

 12 Elbert Hubbard

Elbert Hubbard
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 19, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bloomington, Illinois, United States
Died: May 7, 1915

 13 Lewis Mumford

Lewis Mumford
3
Famous As: Architect, Historian of technology, Historian, Sociologist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Philosopher, Journalist
Birthdate: October 19, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 26, 1990

Lewis Mumford was an American sociologist, historian, literary critic, and philosopher of technology. He made significant contributions to American literary and cultural history, social philosophy, and the history of technology. His works also influenced a number of thinkers and authors like Jacques Ellul and Amory Lovins. Lewis Mumford also had a strong influence on American cellular biologist Barry Commoner.

 14 Dwight L. Moody

Dwight L. Moody
3
Famous As: Editor, Philosopher, Writer, Evangelist, Hymnwriter
Birthdate: February 5, 1837
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Northfield
Died: December 22, 1899

Dwight L. Moody was an American publisher and evangelist. He is credited with founding the Moody Church which went on to become the most well-known religious outreach of its kind. He gave up his lucrative shoe business to focus solely on revivalism. He played an important role in the Civil War, working with the United States Christian Commission of YMCA.

 15 Mary Parker Follett

Mary Parker Follett
3
Famous As: Social Woker
Birthdate: September 3, 1868
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Quincy, Massachusetts, United States
Died: December 18, 1933

 16 Lysander Spooner

Lysander Spooner
3
Famous As: Lawyer, Journalist, Essayist, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 19, 1808
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Athol
Died: May 14, 1887

 17 Ananda Coomaraswamy

Ananda Coomaraswamy
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 22, 1877
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Died: September 9, 1947

Ananda Coomaraswamy was a Ceylonese Tamil philosopher of Indian art, metaphysician, and pioneering historian. He is credited for being one of the earliest interpreters of Indian culture to the West. He is also held responsible for introducing ancient Indian art to the West. Apart from bridging the gap between East and West, Coomaraswamy's works also aimed at rehabilitating original Buddhism.

 18 Hans Kelsen

Hans Kelsen
3
Famous As: Lawyer, Judge, Philosopher, Educationist, University teacher
Birthdate: October 11, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prague
Died: April 19, 1973

Hans Kelsen was an Austria-born jurist, legal philosopher and writer on international law, known especially for his Pure Theory of Law and his defense of democracy. Author of the 1920 Austrian Constitution, he left his homeland in 1930 due to rising totalitarianism. He went to the USA, where he taught at well-known universities, concurrently producing important works like Principles of International Law.

 19 William Graham Sumner

William Graham Sumner
3
Famous As: Anthropologist, Political scientist, Historian, Sociologist, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: October 30, 1840
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paterson, New Jersey
Died: April 12, 1910

William Graham Sumner was an American social scientist who held America's first professorship in sociology; he served as a professor of social sciences at Yale. Sumner, who wrote several essays and books on American history, political theory, sociology, and economic history, was one of the most popular and influential teachers at Yale. He also had an influence on American conservatism.

 20 Edward B. Titchener

Edward B. Titchener
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: January 11, 1867
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chichester
Died: August 3, 1927

 21 Kenneth Burke

Kenneth Burke
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Literary critic, University teacher, Sociologist, Journalist, Writer
Birthdate: May 5, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pittsburgh
Died: November 19, 1993

 22 Alain LeRoy Locke

Alain LeRoy Locke
3
Famous As: teacher, philosopher
Birthdate: September 13, 1886
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pennsylvania
Died: June 9, 1954

 23 Benjamin Tucker

Benjamin Tucker
2
Famous As: Journalist, Philosopher, Economist, Translator, Anarchist
Birthdate: April 17, 1854
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dartmouth
Died: June 22, 1939

 24 Ernest Holmes

Ernest Holmes
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer
Birthdate: January 21, 1887
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lincoln
Died: April 7, 1960

 25 Henry Hazlitt

Henry Hazlitt
3
Famous As: Journalist, Economist, Philosopher
Birthdate: November 28, 1894
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: July 9, 1993

 26 Hugo Münsterberg

Hugo Münsterberg
2
Famous As: Psychologist, University teacher, Philosopher
Birthdate: June 1, 1863
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Gdańsk
Died: December 16, 1916

 27 Moshe Feinstein

Moshe Feinstein
2
Famous As: Theologian, Rabbi, Philosopher
Birthdate: March 3, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Uzda
Died: March 23, 1986

 28 Nicholas Murray Butler

Nicholas Murray Butler
2
Famous As: Philosopher, Educator
Birthdate: April 2, 1862
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Elizabeth
Died: December 7, 1947

 29 Frederick T. Gates

Frederick T. Gates
2
Famous As: Clergyman
Birthdate: July 22, 1853
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maine, New York, United States
Died: February 6, 1929

 30 Josiah Royce

Josiah Royce
2
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: November 20, 1855
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Grass Valley
Died: September 14, 1916

 31 Charles Hartshorne

Charles Hartshorne
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 5, 1897
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kittanning, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 9, 2000

 32 James Mark Baldwin

James Mark Baldwin
2
Famous As: Philosopher, Psychologist, University teacher
Birthdate: January 12, 1861
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Columbia
Died: November 8, 1934

 33 John Fiske

John Fiske
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 30, 1842
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 4, 1901

 34 Felix Adler

Felix Adler
2
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: August 13, 1851
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Alzey, Germany
Died: April 24, 1933

The son of Reform Judaism pioneer and rabbi Samuel Adler, Felix Adler was a German-American educator who had taught at Cornell and Columbia universities. He established the Ethical Culture movement, focusing on tying all human beings with the thread of universal morality. He also worked to abolish child labor.

 35 Arthur Oncken Lovejoy

Arthur Oncken Lovejoy
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 10, 1873
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: December 30, 1962

 36 Herbert Croly

Herbert Croly
2
Famous As: Editor
Birthdate: January 23, 1869
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: May 17, 1930

 37 Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
1
Famous As: Clockmaker
Birthdate: February 16, 1802
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lebanon, New Hampshire, United States
Died: January 16, 1866

 38 Alexander Meiklejohn

Alexander Meiklejohn
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 1, 1872
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rochdale
Died: December 17, 1964

 39 Walter Terence Stace

Walter Terence Stace
1
Famous As: Civil Servant
Birthdate: November 17, 1886
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom
Died: August 2, 1967

 40 Lawrence Joseph Henderson

Lawrence Joseph Henderson
1
Famous As: Physiologist
Birthdate: June 3, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lynn, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 10, 1942

A Harvard alumnus, Lawrence Joseph Henderson was associated with the Harvard Medical School for almost four decades. His chief contribution as a biochemist was his proposal of the Henderson–Hasselbalch equation, which calculates the acid–base equilibria of substances. He also penned the iconic work The Fitness of the Environment.

 41 Zechariah Chafee, Jr.

Zechariah Chafee, Jr.
1
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: December 7, 1885
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: February 8, 1957

 42 Rufus Matthew Jones

Rufus Matthew Jones
1
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: January 25, 1863
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: South China, China, Maine, United States
Died: June 16, 1948

 43 William Torrey Harris

William Torrey Harris
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 10, 1835
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: North Killingly, Connecticut, U.S.
Died: November 5, 1909

 44 C.I. Lewis

C.I. Lewis
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 12, 1883
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Stoneham, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 3, 1964

 45 Moncure D. Conway

Moncure D. Conway
1
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: March 17, 1832
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Falmouth, Virginia, United States
Died: November 15, 1907

 46 Ralph Barton Perry

Ralph Barton Perry
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 3, 1876
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Poultney, Vermont, United States
Died: January 22, 1957

 47 Arthur F. Bentley

Arthur F. Bentley
1
Famous As: Political Scientist
Birthdate: October 16, 1870
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Freeport, Illinois, United States
Died: May 21, 1957

 48 George Trumbull Ladd

George Trumbull Ladd
1
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 19, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Painesville, Ohio, United States
Died: August 8, 1921

 49 Edwin Holt

Edwin Holt
1
Famous As: Professor
Birthdate: August 21, 1873
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Winchester, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 25, 1946

 50 Edgar S. Brightman

Edgar S. Brightman
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 20, 1884
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Holbrook, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 25, 1953