Albert Einstein truly stated ‘Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death’. Though many in the world aspire to become intellectual, only a handful of the lot have the courage to voice against the opposition and the capability to pay the price that the aspiration comes with. France has been one of the blessed nations in the world when it comes to counting intellectuals and academicians. The country has been a powerhouse of people who used their intelligence and thinking to play an influential role in the development of the world. Who can forget the contribution of Blaise Pascal and his theory of probabilities in mathematics or the 20th century intellectual, Jean Paul Sartre and his idea of existentialism or even Auguste Comte who advanced social science to form a new genre called sociology? Not just men, French women too played an imperative role as academicians. To name a few we have, Simone de Beauvoir, Danica Seleskovitch and Isabell Maxwell. These people changed the society through their critical thinking, analysis, reasoning and research. What’s more, they made their presence felt in all the fields, be it literature, science, medicine, philosophy, religion and the like. Read this section to find out the life and works of some French intellectuals and academicians.
VoltaireVoltaire
21 November 1694
Writer
Jean-Jacques RousseauJean-Jacques Rousseau
28 June 1712
Philosopher, Writer, & Composer

Michel FoucaultMichel Foucault
15 October 1926
French philosopher

Albert CamusAlbert Camus
07 November 1913
Philosopher

Jean-Paul SartreJean-Paul Sartre
21 June 1905
Philosopher

Blaise PascalBlaise Pascal
19 June 1623
French Mathematician, Physicist, Inventor, Writer
Simone de BeauvoirSimone de Beauvoir
09 January 1908
Writer

Jacques DerridaJacques Derrida
15 July 1930
Philosopher

Baron de MontesquieuMontesquieu
18 January 1689
Philosopher

Jacques LacanJacques Lacan
13 April 1901
Psychoanalyst, Psychiatrist
Alexis de TocquevilleAlexis de Tocqueville
29 July 1805
 

Albert SchweitzerAlbert Schweitzer
14 January 1875
Philosopher, Theologian
Auguste ComteAuguste Comte
19 January 1798
Philosopher

Michel de MontaigneMichel de Montaigne
28 February 1533
Philosopher

Denis DiderotDenis Diderot
05 October 1713
Philosopher
Roland BarthesRoland Barthes
12 November 1915
French Literary Theorist & Philosopher

Henri FayolHenri Fayol
29 July 1841
Industrialist, Management Thinker
Louis AlthusserLouis Althusser
16 October 1918
Philosopher

Henri BergsonHenri Bergson
18 October 1859
Philosopher and Writer

Simone WeilSimone Weil
03 February 1909
Philosopher, mystic and social activist
Jean-Baptiste LamarckJean-Baptiste Lamarck
01 August 1744
Naturalist

Pierre Teilhard de ChardinPierre Teilhard de Chardin
01 May 1881
Philosopher
René GirardRené Girard
25 December 1923
Philosopher

Marquis de CondorcetMarquis de Condorcet
17 September 1743
Mathematician, Philosopher

Jean-François ChampollionJean-François Champollion
23 December 1790
Philologist

Frederic PassyFrédéric Passy
20 May 1822
Economist & Nobel Peace Prize Winner
Maurice AllaisMaurice Allais
31 May 1911
Economist
Emile DurkheimEmile Durkheim
15 April 1858
Sociologist & Philosopher

Jean GottmannJean Gottmann
23 October 1915
Geographer

Élisée ReclusElisee Reclus
15 March 1830
Geographer, Anarchist, Writer

Jean Le Rond d’AlembertJean Le Rond d’Alembert
16 November 1717
Mathematician, Physicist, Philosopher And Musical
Gerard DebreuGerard Debreu
04 July 1921
Economist

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René DéscartesRené Déscartes
31 March 1596
Mathematician, Philosopher and Writer

Esther DufloEsther Duflo
25 October 1972
Economist, Professor

Christine LagardeChristine Lagarde
01 January 1956
Economist, Lawyer, Diplomat, Politician,

Pierre BourdieuPierre Bourdieu
01 August 1930
Philosopher, Sociologist, Anthropologist,
Gilles DeleuzeGilles Deleuze
18 January 1925
Philosopher, Historian, Writer, University

Thomas PikettyThomas Piketty
07 May 1971
Economist, University teacher
Jean BaudrillardJean Baudrillard
27 July 1929
Philosopher, photographer,Sociologist, Professor

Pierre-Joseph ProudhonPierre-Joseph Proudhon
15 January 1809
Economist, Sociologist, Politician, Journalist,

Georges BatailleGeorges Bataille
10 September 1897
Philosopher, Librarian, Poet, Novelist, Writer,
Dominique Strauss-KahnDominique Strauss-Kahn
25 April 1949
Economist, Politician, Lawyer, University teacher

Emil CioranEmil Cioran
08 April 1911
Philosopher, Writer, Diarist, Aphorist
Benoit MandelbrotBenoit Mandelbrot
20 November 1924
Mathematician, Economist, Professor, Scientist,

Vilfredo ParetoVilfredo Pareto
15 July 1848
Economist, Writer, Philosopher, Sociologist,

Peter AbelardPeter Abelard
1079 AD
Theologian, Philosopher, Composer, Linguist, Poet,

Guy DebordGuy Debord
28 December 1931
Film maker, Artist, Philosopher, Film director,

Jean-Baptiste ColbertJean-Baptiste Colbert
29 August 1619
Economist, Politician
Savitri DeviSavitri Devi
30 September 1905
Writer, Poet

Charles FourierCharles Fourier
07 April 1772
Economist, Sociologist, Philosopher

France NuyenFrance Nuyen
31 July 1939
Psychotherapist, Psychologist, Stage actor, Film

Georges CuvierGeorges Cuvier
23 August 1769
Geologist, Anatomist, Paleontologist, Politician,
Maurice Merleau-PontyMaurice Merleau-Ponty
14 March 1908
Philosopher, Professor

Julia KristevaJulia Kristeva
24 June 1941
Philosopher, Writer, Feminist
Francis de SalesFrancis de Sales
16 August 1567
Theologian, Priest, Writer

Bruno LatourBruno Latour
22 June 1947
Philosopher, Anthropologist, Sociologist,

Alain BadiouAlain Badiou
17 January 1937
Philosopher, Novelist, Playwright, Editor,
Henri LefebvreHenri Lefebvre
16 June 1901
Philosopher, Politician, Sociologist, University

Jean-François LyotardJean-François Lyotard
10 August 1924
Philosopher, Philologist, Writer, Linguist,
Emmanuel LevinasEmmanuel Levinas
12 January 1906
Philosopher, University teacher, Ethicist, Writer

Arthur de GobineauArthur de Gobineau
14 July 1816
Racial theorist, Philosopher, Writer, Diplomat,

Michel SerresMichel Serres
01 September 1930
Philosopher, Writer
Fernand BraudelFernand Braudel
24 August 1902
Economic historian, Historian, Professor

François-René de ChateaubriandFrançois-René de Chateaubriand
04 September 1768
Writer, Politician, Diplomat, Historian, Poet,
Allan KardecAllan Kardec
03 October 1804
Writer, Teacher, Philosopher

Gustave Le BonGustave Le Bon
07 May 1841
Physician, Anthropologist, Archaeologist,

Jacques EllulJacques Ellul
06 January 1912
Theologian, Philosopher, Writer, Sociologist,

Marcel LefebvreMarcel Lefebvre
29 November 1905
Theologian, Catholic priest
Ernest RenanErnest Renan
27 February 1823
philosopher, historian, professor, archaeologist,
Jean BodinJean Bodin
1529 AD
jurist, philosopher, economist, historian,

HéloïseHéloïse
1101 AD
French nun

Alfred BinetAlfred Binet
08 July 1857
Psychologist, Educationist

Luce IrigarayLuce Irigaray
03 May 1930
Philosopher, Linguist, University teacher,
Luc MontagnierLuc Montagnier
18 August 1932
Physician, Biologist, Virologist, Researcher,

Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de MirabeauHonoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau
09 March 1749
Journalist, Politician, Diplomat, Writer,

Georges SorelGeorges Sorel
02 November 1847
Philosopher, Engineer, Sociologist, Writer, Trade

Marcel MaussMarcel Mauss
10 May 1872
Politician, Sociologist, Ethnologist,

Jacques MaritainJacques Maritain
18 November 1882
Philosopher, Educationist, Writer
Romain RollandRomain Rolland
29 January 1866
Writer, Playwright, Essayist, Historian, Novelist,

Gaston BachelardGaston Bachelard
27 June 1884
Philosopher, Poet, Writer, University teacher
Adolphe ThiersAdolphe Thiers
15 April 1797
Lawyer, Politician, Journalist, Historian, Writer

Germaine de StaëlGermaine de Staël
22 April 1766
Philosopher

Daniel DefertDaniel Defert
10 September 1937
Sociologist, University teacher
Félix GuattariFélix Guattari
30 April 1930
Psychiatrist, Philosopher, Psychanalyst,

Joseph de MaistreJoseph de Maistre
 
François QuesnayFrançois Quesnay
04 June 1694
Philosopher, Economist, Physician,

Jean-Baptiste SayJean-Baptiste Say
05 January 1767
Economist, Politician, Writer, Professor,

Benjamin ConstantBenjamin Constant
25 October 1767
Philosopher, Politician, Writer, Diarist

Alain de BenoistAlain de Benoist
11 December 1943
Journalist, Philosopher
Marc BlochMarc Bloch
06 July 1886
Historian, Medievalist, University teacher, Writer

Henri de CastriesHenri de Castries
15 August 1954
Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Economist
Jean-Marie LustigerJean-Marie Lustiger
17 September 1926
Theologian, Writer, Catholic priest

Raymond AronRaymond Aron
14 March 1905
Journalist, Philosopher, Writer, Political
Eugène Viollet-le-DucEugène Viollet-le-Duc
27 January 1814
architectural historian, art historian,

Jules MicheletJules Michelet
21 August 1798
Historian, Archivist, Writer, Diarist, Professor,
Jacques DelorsJacques Delors
20 July 1925
Economist, Politician, Banker, Trade unionist