Famous 21st Century Philosophers

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Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Philosophers, including Noam Chomsky, Deepak Chopra, Amartya Sen, Peter Singer and Judith Butler.
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 1 
Noam Chomsky
(A Major Figure in Analytic Philosophy Who is Also Known as 'The Father of Modern Linguistics')
Noam Chomsky
45
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.

 2 
Slavoj Žižek
(Slovene Philosopher and Cultural Theorist)
Slavoj Žižek
29
Birthdate: March 21, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Ljubljana, Slovenia

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.

 3 
Jürgen Habermas
(German Philosopher and Sociologist Best Known for His Theory of ‘Communicative Action')
Jürgen Habermas
10
Birthdate: June 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Düsseldorf, Rhine Province, Prussia, 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 
Judith Butler
(Philosopher)
Judith Butler
15
Birthdate: February 24, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
 5 
Amartya Sen
(Indian Philosopher, Economist and Winner of 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences)
Amartya Sen
9
Birthdate: November 3, 1933
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India
Indian economist Amartya Sen was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory. Sen is known for his development of more sophisticated measures of poverty, and also for his work on the causes and prevention of famines. He is considered an important contemporary liberal thinker for his views about the nature and primacy of liberty. 
 6 
Umberto Eco
(Medievalist, Philosopher and Author of 'The Name of the Rose' and 'Foucault's Pendulum')
Umberto Eco
9
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.

 7 
Jaggi Vasudev
(Yoga Guru)
Jaggi Vasudev
34
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.

 8 
Roger Penrose
(English Mathematician, Mathematical Physicist and Winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize for Physics)
Roger Penrose
4
Birthdate: August 8, 1931
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Colchester, England

Roger Penrose’s contribution to the research related to the black hole and general relativity earned him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020. The Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, Roger is also a fellow of Wadham College, St John's College of Cambridge, and University College London.

 9 
Giorgio Agamben
(Philosopher)
Giorgio Agamben
6
Birthdate: April 22, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
 10 
Cornel West
(Philosopher)
Cornel West
17
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.

 11 
Robert Reich
(22nd United States Secretary of Labor (1993 - 1997))
Robert Reich
8
Birthdate: June 24, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States

Economist and University of California, Berkeley professor Robert Reich has also been the U.S. secretary of labor. His rare bone disorder made him a victim of bullies in childhood, but he later won the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford. His bestselling book Saving Capitalism was made into a Netflix documentary.

 12 
Jean Baudrillard
(French Sociologist Known for His Analyses of Media, Contemporary Culture, and Technological Communication)
Jean Baudrillard
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1929
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Reims, France
Died: March 6, 2007

Renowned sociologist and cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard is remembered for introducing concepts of hyperreality and simulacrum. Initially a teacher of German literature in schools, he later taught sociology at Paris X Nanterre. He coined the phrase the desert of the real, which was later used in the film The Matrix.

 13 
Howard Zinn
(American Historian, Playwright, Philosopher and World War II Veteran)
Howard Zinn
4
Birthdate: August 24, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: January 27, 2010

Born into a Jewish working-class, immigrant family in Brooklyn, Howard Zinn was initially dragged into communism. He was part of the U.S. Army during World War II and later established himself as a historian. Of his many books, the most popular has been A People's History of the United States.

 14 
Peter Singer
(Australian Philosopher Who is Known for His Book ‘Animal Liberation’)
Peter Singer
11
Birthdate: July 6, 1946
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Melbourne, 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.

 15 
Liu Xiaobo
(Chinese Human Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)
Liu Xiaobo
5
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.

 16 
Alain de Botton
(Philosopher and Author Known for His Books: ‘Essays in Love’ and ‘How Proust Can Change Your Life’)
Alain de Botton
9
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. 

 17 
Christina Hoff Sommers
(Author, Philosopher)
Christina Hoff Sommers
7
Birthdate: September 28, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Petaluma, California, U.S.
 18 
René Girard
(French Polymath, Historian and Philosopher of Social Science)
René Girard
4
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.

 19 
William Lane Craig
(Philosopher, Theologian, University teacher, Writer)
William Lane Craig
6
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.
 20 
Luce Irigaray
(Philosopher, linguist, Feminist)
Luce Irigaray
5
Birthdate: May 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bernissart, Belgium
 21 
Sam Harris
(American Philosopher, Neuroscientist and Author)
Sam Harris
44
Birthdate: April 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

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.

 22 
Ravi Zacharias
(Philosopher)
Ravi Zacharias
12
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.

 23 
Jacques Rancière
(Philosopher)
Jacques Rancière
4
Birthdate: June 10, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Algiers, Algeria
 24 
Martha Nussbaum
(Philosopher, Writer, University teacher)
Martha Nussbaum
9
Birthdate: May 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City
 25 
Alain Badiou
(Philosopher)
Alain Badiou
4
Birthdate: January 17, 1937
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rabat, Morocco
 26 
Douglas Hofstadter
(Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Computer scientist)
Douglas Hofstadter
4
Birthdate: February 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City
 27 
Bruno Latour
(French Philosopher Known for His Innovative and Iconoclastic Work in the Study of Science and Technology in Society)
Bruno Latour
4
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.

 28 
Pema Chodron
(American Tibetan Buddhist)
Pema Chodron
5
Birthdate: July 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New York City, 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. 

 29 
Ronald Dworkin
(Philosopher)
Ronald Dworkin
3
Birthdate: December 11, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: February 14, 2013
 30 
Alasdair MacIntyre
(Philosopher, Professor)
Alasdair MacIntyre
3
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.  

 31 
Sean M. Carroll
(American Physicist Known for His Contributions to the Studies of Quantum Mechanics, Gravity and Cosmology)
Sean M. Carroll
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Theoretical physicist Sean M. Carroll is a renowned Caltech professor who considers himself an old-school theorist and often maps his research using pencil and paper. Interested in field theory, gravitation, and cosmology, he blogs often, had written popular books, and has also appeared on shows such as The Universe.

 32 
Thomas Nagel
(Philosopher, University teacher)
Thomas Nagel
3
Birthdate: July 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Belgrade, Yugoslavia
 33 
Robert M. Pirsig
(Writer, Philosopher)
Robert M. Pirsig
3
Birthdate: September 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Minneapolis, U.S.
Died: April 24, 2017
 34 
Terry Eagleton
(Literary Theorist Best Known for His Work 'Literary Theory: An Introduction' (1983))
Terry Eagleton
3
Birthdate: February 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: 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 
Julia Kristeva
(Bulgarian-French Author and Academic Whose Themes Surrounded on Feminism, Semiotics, and Psychoanalysis)
Julia Kristeva
11
Birthdate: June 24, 1941
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sliven, Bulgaria

Bulgarian-born French author and literary critic Julia Kristeva is also a professor at the University Paris Diderot. Her writings, such as the Female Genius trilogy, are centered around feminism, semiotics, and psychoanalysis. She has also pioneered semanalysis and has been recognized with honors such as Commander of the Legion of Honor.

 36 
Aleksandr Dugin
17
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.

 37 
Daniel Dennett
(Philosopher)
Daniel Dennett
6
Birthdate: March 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
 38 
Roger Scruton
( English Philosopher and Writer Who Specialised in Aesthetics and Political Philosophy)
Roger Scruton
8
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.

 39 
Derek Parfit
(Philosopher)
Derek Parfit
3
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).   

 40 
Hilary Putnam
(Mathematician, Philosopher)
Hilary Putnam
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 13, 2016
 41 
David Chalmers
(Philosopher, University teacher)
David Chalmers
4
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.

 42 
Jean Vanier
(Philosopher, Philanthropist)
Jean Vanier
3
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.

 43 
R. C. Sproul
(Theologian, Philosopher, Non-fiction writer, University teacher)
R. C. Sproul
3
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.  

 44 
Zinovia Dushkova
3
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.

 45 
Nick Bostrom
(Philosopher)
Nick Bostrom
4
Birthdate: March 10, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Helsingborg, Sweden

Nick Bostrom is a Swedish philosopher best known for his work concerning issues like existential risk, human enhancement, the anthropic principle, and risks with super-intelligence. A prolific writer, Bostrom has authored more than 200 books. Nick Bostrom is also an advocate of transhumanism. In 2009, he received the Eugene R. Gannon Award.

 46 
John Searle
(Philosopher)
John Searle
4
Birthdate: July 31, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States
 47 
Zygmunt Bauman
(Sociologist and Philosopher Known for Works That Examine Broad Changes in the Nature of Contemporary Society)
Zygmunt Bauman
3
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.

 48 
Hélène Cixous
(French Feminist Writer and Philosopher Best Known for Her Article ‘The Laugh of the Medusa’)
Hélène Cixous
4
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.

 49 
Run Run Shaw
(Former Philanthropist, Entrepreneur, Filmmaker who founded the Shaw Brothers Studio)
Run Run Shaw
3
Birthdate: November 23, 1907
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Ningbo, China
Died: January 7, 2014
 50 
Grace Lee Boggs
(Author & Social Activist - Key Figure in the 'Asian American Movement')
Grace Lee Boggs
3
Birthdate: June 27, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: October 5, 2015