Famous 21st Century Philosophers

Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Philosophers, including Noam Chomsky, Deepak Chopra, Amartya Sen, Peter Singer and Judith Butler.

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 Slavoj Žižek

Slavoj Žižek
8
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 21, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ljubljana, SR Slovenia, SFR Yugoslavia

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher whose works in subjects, such as continental philosophy, Marxism, Hegelianism, and psychoanalysis, has gained him international influence. Often dubbed a celebrity philosopher and Elvis of cultural theory, Žižek was named in Foreign Policy's Top 100 Global Thinkers list in 2012. His work has had an impact on widespread public audiences and academic.

 2 Judith Butler

Judith Butler
10
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 24, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

 3 Jürgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas
7
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas is counted among the most influential philosophers across the world and is identified with the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He influenced many disciplines through his work which addresses communicative rationality and the public sphere, and includes topics starting from social-political theory to aesthetics, language to philosophy of religion, and epistemology.

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 4 Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky
19
Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: December 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Regarded by many as the father of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky has authored over 100 books on varied topics, such as politics, linguistics, and war. A multi-talented personality, Noam Chomsky is considered a popular figure in analytic philosophy. Apart from influencing a wide array of academic fields, he has also contributed to the development of cognitivism.

 5 Jaggi Vasudev

Jaggi Vasudev
29
Famous As: Yoga Guru
Birthdate: September 3, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mysore, Karnataka, India

The recipient of Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award of India, Jaggi Vasudev is a mystic, yogi, and author.  His spiritual program called inner engineering is famous all over the world, particularly in the Western world. Popularly known as Sadhguru, Jaggi Vasudev's yoga programs, environmental initiatives, and educational and social initiatives have earned him celebrity status in India.

 6 Cornel West

Cornel West
7
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 2, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Cornel West is an American philosopher, social critic, political activist, and author. He is renowned for drawing intellectual contributions from several traditions, such as Marxism, Christianity, transcendentalism, and neopragmatism. West is credited with authoring many influential books, such as Democracy Matters and Race Matters.

 7 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco
6
Famous As: Medievalist, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alessandria, Italy
Died: February 19, 2016

Italian novelist Umberto Eco is best remembered for his novels The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. He also taught at the University of Bologna and had released quite a few children’s books and translations. He was also known for his work on semiotics and medieval studies.

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 8 Giorgio Agamben

Giorgio Agamben
5
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Poet lawyer
Birthdate: April 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome

 9 Peter Singer

Peter Singer
7
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Australian moral philosopher, Peter Singer, is currently the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He specializes in applied ethics. He is best known for his book Animal Liberation, which is considered a seminal work in the animal liberation movement.  The Council of Australian Humanist Societies recognized him as the Australian Humanist of the Year in 2004.

 10 Alain de Botton

Alain de Botton
5
Famous As: Philosopher, Author
Birthdate: December 20, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland

Swiss-born British philosopher and author, Alain de Botto,n is best known for his work, Essays in Love, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. He is one of the founders of the educational company, The School of Life, launched in 2008. He is a recipient of  "The Fellowship of Schopenhauer", an annual writers' award from the Melbourne Writers Festival. 

 11 Liu Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo
4
Famous As: Chinese Human Rights Activist
Birthdate: December 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Changchun, China
Died: July 13, 2017

Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese activist, literary critic, and philosopher. He is best remembered for organizing campaigns that aimed at ending the one-party rule in China. He was honored with the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle for human rights in China. Liu is the first Chinese citizen to be honored with a Nobel Prize while residing in China.

 12 Julia Kristeva

Julia Kristeva
9
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

 13 Luce Irigaray

Luce Irigaray
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Linguist, University teacher, Psychologist, Feminist
Birthdate: May 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bernissart

 14 René Girard

René Girard
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 25, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Avignon, France
Died: November 4, 2015

René Girard was a French philosopher of social science, literary critic, and historian. Over the years, Girard's work has had an influence on disciplines like philosophy, anthropology, psychology, mythology, theology, economics, sociology, and cultural studies among other important disciplines. In 2006, René Girard was honored by the University of Tübingen with the prestigious Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize.

 15 Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum
6
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: May 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City

 16 Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers
4
Famous As: Author, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 28, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Petaluma, California, U.S.

 17 Sam Harris

Sam Harris
32
Famous As: Philosopher, Author
Birthdate: April 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: United States of America

One of the "Four Horsemen of Atheism," neuroscientist and author Sam Harris is known for his works on topics such as religion, artificial intelligence, and terrorism. His books include the New York Times bestseller The End of Faith. He hosted the podcast Making Sense and released a meditation app, too.

 18 William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig
5
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: August 23, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Peoria
William Lane Craig is an American analytic philosopher and theologian who is known for defending the Kalam cosmological argument for the existence of God. He has authored or edited over 30 books, and a hundred articles in professional journals. Craig is a professor of Philosophy at Houston Baptist University and Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology.

 19 Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias
7
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: March 26, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chennai, India
Died: May 19, 2020

Born in India, Ravi Zacharias was attracted to Christianity while recovering in hospital following a suicide attempt. He moved to Canada and then to the U.S., and gained fame as a Christian apologist and as the host of Let My People Think. He was later accused of sexual abuse.

 20 Douglas Hofstadter

Douglas Hofstadter
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Computer scientist
Birthdate: February 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City

 21 Zinovia Dushkova

Zinovia Dushkova
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kongaz, Moldova

Zinovia Dushkova is a Russian poet, historian, philosopher, and author. A prominent writer, Dushkova's works have been translated into seven languages. In 2015, she was honored with the 20 Years of Gagauzia Medal. In 2017, Zinovia Dushkova’s book, The Call of the Heart, was honored at the Nautilus Book Awards with a silver medal in the United States of America.

 22 Jacques Rancière

Jacques Rancière
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 10, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Algiers, Algeria

 23 Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman
3
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: August 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Albany, New York, United States

 24 Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: January 17, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rabat, Morocco

 25 Aleksandr Dugin

Aleksandr Dugin
13
Famous As: Analyst
Birthdate: January 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia

One of the prime organizers of the National Bolshevik Party, Russian politologist Aleksandr Dugin is known for his association with fascism. He supports the creation of a Eurasian empire, which will oppose North Atlantic interests. He has also penned books such as The Fourth Political Theory and Foundations of Geopolitics.

 26 John Lilly

John Lilly
3
Famous As: Neuroscientist
Birthdate: January 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Died: September 30, 2001

Born to rich Catholic parents, John Lilly spent his childhood treating science as a hobby. While studying medicine, he performed gruelling medical experiments on himself. He later invented isolating floatation tanks, studied bottlenose dolphins, and researched on psychedelic drug-induced near-death experiences. He also explored yoga and human consciousness.

 27 John Searle

John Searle
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 31, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States

 28 Nick Bostrom

Nick Bostrom
4
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher, Computer scientist
Birthdate: March 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Helsingborg

 29 Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, New York (state) New York, United States

Pema Chodron is an American Tibetan Buddhist and an ordained nun. Born as Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in New York, she began studying with Tibetan Buddhist Lama Chime Rinpoche as a young woman. She eventually became a fully ordained nun or bhikṣuṇī. She is the author of several dozen books and audiobooks. She is the principal teacher at Gampo Abbey. 

 30 Tariq Ramadan

Tariq Ramadan
4
Famous As: Academic
Birthdate: August 26, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland

 31 Bruno Latour

Bruno Latour
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beaune, France

Holberg Prize-winning French sociologist and anthropologist Bruno Latour had initially studied theology and even received his PhD in the subject. His later research Ivory Coast drew him to anthropology, and he soon gained fame as a renowned academic in the field, having co-written iconic books such as Laboratory Life.

 32 Ronald Dworkin

Ronald Dworkin
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 11, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: February 14, 2013

 33 Alasdair MacIntyre

Alasdair MacIntyre
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Professor
Birthdate: January 12, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow

Scottish-American philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre is noted for his contributions to moral and political philosophy. His major writings include Whose Justice? Which Rationality? and After Virtue. The latter is considered to be a significant work of Anglophone moral and political philosophy and an important text in the contemporary revival of virtue theory.  

 34 Terry Eagleton

Terry Eagleton
3
Famous As: Literary critic
Birthdate: February 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: County Borough of Salford Salford, England

English literary theorist and critic Terry Eagleton, presently serving as Distinguished Professor of English Literature at Lancaster University, is a prominent critic of postmodernism and the New Atheism. His oeuvre includes over forty books among which Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), which describes the emerging literary theory of the period, is considered to be one of his most notable works.   

 35 Daniel Dennett

Daniel Dennett
6
Birthdate: March 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts

 36 Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton
5
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 27, 1944
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Buslingthorpe, Lincolnshire, England
Died: January 12, 2020

Philosopher and author Roger Scruton is best remembered for his work as an editor of The Salisbury Review and for his countless books on topics such as art, sexuality, and political philosophy. He also taught at Boston University and other institutes, and was a skilled pianist and composer, too.

 37 Robert M. Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig
3
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Minneapolis, U.S.
Died: April 24, 2017

 38 Derek Parfit

Derek Parfit
3
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 11, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chengdu
Died: January 1, 2017

Recipient of the Rolf Schock Prize, British philosopher Derek Parfit is regarded as an important and influential moral philosopher who specialised and made significant contributions in personal identity, rationality, and ethics. He gained attention with his first paper, Personal Identity, and moving on penned notable books like Reasons and Persons (1984) and On What Matters (2011).   

 39 Thomas Nagel

Thomas Nagel
3
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: July 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Belgrade

 40 David Chalmers

David Chalmers
4
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: April 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Australia

Apart from teaching philosophy at the New York University and the Australian National University, David Chalmers has also gained fame for his study on the hard problem of consciousness. A TED speaker, he has also penned books such as The Conscious Mind. He also sings for the Zombie Blues band.

 41 Hilary Putnam

Hilary Putnam
3
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
Birthdate: July 31, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 13, 2016

 42 Jean-Luc Nancy

Jean-Luc Nancy
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 26, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bordeaux, France

 43 Jean Vanier

Jean Vanier
3
Famous As: Philosopher, Philanthropist
Birthdate: September 10, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Geneva

A former naval officer, Jean Vanier began working for intellectually disabled people after he met some of them in Paris, eventually founding L'Arche in order to provide them with shelter and support network. Later, he also cofounded Faith and Light to help those with learning disability.  A prolific author; after his death, he was accused of sexually exploiting six women.

 44 R. C. Sproul

R. C. Sproul
3
Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher, Non-fiction writer, University teacher
Birthdate: February 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pittsburgh

R. C. Sproul was a Reformed theologian. He was an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America and also the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries. He has been described as the greatest proponent of the recovery of Reformed theology in the 20th century. He was a popular speaker and a  co-pastor at Saint Andrew's Chapel as well.  

 45 Jakob Ammann

Jakob Ammann
3
Famous As: Tailor
Birthdate: February 12, 1644
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Erlenbach im Simmental
Died: April 22, 2017

 46 Colin Wilson

Colin Wilson
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 26, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Leicester, Leicestershire, England
Died: December 5, 2013

 47 Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah
7
Famous As: Philosopher, Professor
Birthdate: May 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Greater London

 48 Zygmunt Bauman

Zygmunt Bauman
3
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: November 19, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Poznań, Poland
Died: January 9, 2017

Polish sociologist Zygmunt Bauman moved to Israel after being stripped of his Polish citizenship during the 1968 Polish political crisis. His best-known works include Modernity and the Holocaust and Liquid Modernity. He had taught at Tel Aviv and Haifa, before working for almost 2 decades at the University of Leeds.

 49 Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber
3
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 31, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

 50 Hélène Cixous

Hélène Cixous
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 5, 1937
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oran, Algeria

Hélène Cixous is a professor, poet, playwright, rhetorician, literary critic, philosopher, and French feminist writer. She is best known for writing an article titled The Laugh of the Medusa, which earned her popularity and established her as a thinker in post-structural feminism.