Famous American Philosophers

Do you deem philosophy as vacuous nonsense — a route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing? Contrary to how most of us deem philosophy as, there is little denying that it is the noblest of all academic disciplines? But as the great Cicero once said, “There is no statement so absurd that no philosopher will make it.” So it’s easy to stumble upon philosophies that will boggle your mind and appear as pure strange. But that does not diminish the worth of it. We eat, live and sleep philosophy. Even if we don't realize it, nearly everything we believe is based on someone's philosophical soundings. To dishonor philosophy, the mother of all sciences as a "waste of the taxpayer's money" is to admit blatant witlessness. Despite many of us deeming philosophy is a “useless major” or a “clear waste of time,” it is as some may call it the path to enlightenment. Read on to explore the biography, timeline, trivia and fact of America’s famous 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 Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky
7
Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: December 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American

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 L Ron Hubbard

L Ron Hubbard
0
Famous As: Founder of Church of Scientology
Birthdate: March 13, 1911
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: January 24, 1986

L. Ron Hubbard was an American author of fantasy and science fiction stories. In 1950, he wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and worked towards promoting Dianetics by conducting seminars and establishing a series of organizations. Credited with founding the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard oversaw the development of the church into a worldwide organization.

 3 Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau
0
Famous As: Writer and Philosopher
Birthdate: July 12, 1817
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
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.

 4 Sam Harris

Sam Harris
9
Famous As: Philosopher, Author
Birthdate: April 9, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

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.

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 5 Terence McKenna

Terence McKenna
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Psychonaut, Ethnobotanist, Author
Birthdate: November 16, 1946
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: April 3, 2000
Philosopher, ethnobotanist, and public speaker Terence McKenna was the proponent of concepts such as the Novelty Theory and Machine Elf. His work revolved around subjects such as psychedelic drugs, shamanism, alchemy, and metaphysics. He wrote several books and supported the usage of psychedelic mushrooms to experience different states of mind.

 6 James Randi

James Randi
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Stage magician
Birthdate: August 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 7 William James

William James
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Psychologist
Birthdate: January 11, 1842
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
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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 8 John Dewey

John Dewey
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 20, 1859
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
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.

 9 Cornel West

Cornel West
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 2, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American

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.

 10 Kurt Gödel

Kurt Gödel
0
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher
Birthdate: April 28, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: January 14, 1978

 11 John Rawls

John Rawls
0
Famous As: American Philosopher
Birthdate: February 21, 1921
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: November 24, 2002

 12 Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards
0
Famous As: American preacher
Birthdate: October 5, 1703
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: March 22, 1758

 13 Daniel Dennett

Daniel Dennett
0
Birthdate: March 28, 1942
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American

 14 Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr
0
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: June 21, 1892
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: June 1, 1971

 15 Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers
0
Famous As: Author, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 28, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American

 16 Murray Rothbard

Murray Rothbard
0
Famous As: Economist
Birthdate: March 2, 1926
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: January 7, 1995

 17 Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen
0
Famous As: Revolutionary War Hero
Birthdate: January 21, 1738
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: February 12, 1789

 18 Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: May 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 19 Charles Sanders Peirce

Charles Sanders Peirce
0
Famous As: Scientist, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 10, 1839
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: April 19, 1914

 20 William Lane Craig

William Lane Craig
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: August 23, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 21 R. C. Sproul

R. C. Sproul
0
Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher, Non-fiction writer, University teacher
Birthdate: February 13, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 22 Pema Chodron

Pema Chodron
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 23 Will Durant

Will Durant
0
Famous As: Writer, Historian, Philosopher
Birthdate: November 5, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: November 7, 1981

 24 Robert Nozick

Robert Nozick
0
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: November 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: January 23, 2002

 25 Murray Bookchin

Murray Bookchin
0
Famous As: Writer, Historian, Philosopher, University teacher, Anarchist, Libertarian municipalism, Social ecology
Birthdate: January 14, 1921
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: July 30, 2006

 26 Douglas Hofstadter

Douglas Hofstadter
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Computer scientist
Birthdate: February 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 27 John Searle

John Searle
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 31, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 28 Robert Anton Wilson

Robert Anton Wilson
0
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Philosopher, Essayist, Playwright, Psychologist, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: January 18, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: January 11, 2007

 29 John Lilly

John Lilly
0
Famous As: Neuroscientist
Birthdate: January 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: September 30, 2001

 30 Ken Wilber

Ken Wilber
0
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 31, 1949
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American

 31 Norbert Wiener

Norbert Wiener
0
Famous As: Father of Cybernetics
Birthdate: November 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: March 18, 1964

 32 Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 4, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: June 8, 2007

 33 Martin Seligman

Martin Seligman
0
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: August 12, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American

 34 George Herbert Mead

George Herbert Mead
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 27, 1863
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: April 26, 1931

 35 Dwight L. Moody

Dwight L. Moody
0
Famous As: Editor, Philosopher, Writer, Evangelist, Hymnwriter
Birthdate: February 5, 1837
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: December 22, 1899

 36 Robert M. Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig
0
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher
Birthdate: September 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
Died: April 24, 2017

 37 Thomas Nagel

Thomas Nagel
0
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: July 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American

 38 Hilary Putnam

Hilary Putnam
0
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher, University teacher, Non-fiction writer, Computer scientist
Birthdate: July 31, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: March 13, 2016

 39 Willard Van Orman Quine

Willard Van Orman Quine
0
Famous As: Mathematician, Analytic philosopher, Philosopher of language, Epistemologist, Philosopher of science, University teacher, Professor, Philosopher
Birthdate: June 25, 1908
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: December 25, 2000

 40 Ronald Dworkin

Ronald Dworkin
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: December 11, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: February 14, 2013

 41 Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer
0
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, Psychologist
Birthdate: July 25, 1902
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: May 21, 1983

 42 Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Professor
Birthdate: May 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American

 43 Saul Kripke

Saul Kripke
0
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher, Writer, Physician
Birthdate: November 13, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 44 Alvin Plantinga

Alvin Plantinga
0
Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: November 15, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American

 45 Elbert Hubbard

Elbert Hubbard
0
Famous As: Journalist, Philosopher, Publisher, Writer
Birthdate: June 19, 1856
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: May 7, 1915

 46 Francis Schaeffer

Francis Schaeffer
0
Famous As: Theologian, Philosopher
Birthdate: January 30, 1912
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: May 15, 1984

 47 Walker Percy

Walker Percy
0
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Philosopher
Birthdate: May 28, 1916
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: May 10, 1990

 48 Lewis Mumford

Lewis Mumford
0
Famous As: Architect, Historian of technology, Historian, Sociologist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Philosopher, Journalist
Birthdate: October 19, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: January 26, 1990

 49 Alonzo Church

Alonzo Church
0
Famous As: Mathematician, Philosopher, University teacher, Computer scientist
Birthdate: June 14, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: American
Died: August 11, 1995

 50 Russell Kirk

Russell Kirk
0
Famous As: Political scientist, Philosopher, Literary critic, Historian, Novelist, Writer, Science fiction writer, Journalist
Birthdate: October 19, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: April 29, 1994