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.
Jean-Jacques RousseauJean-Jacques Rousseau
28 June 1712
Philosopher, Writer, & Composer
VoltaireVoltaire
21 November 1694
Writer

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

Baron de MontesquieuMontesquieu
18 January 1689
Philosopher

Jacques DerridaJacques Derrida
15 July 1930
Philosopher

Auguste ComteAuguste Comte
19 January 1798
Philosopher
Alexis de TocquevilleAlexis de Tocqueville
29 July 1805
 

Jacques LacanJacques Lacan
13 April 1901
Psychoanalyst, Psychiatrist
Albert SchweitzerAlbert Schweitzer
14 January 1875
Philosopher, Theologian

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

Simone WeilSimone Weil
03 February 1909
Philosopher, mystic and social activist
Henri BergsonHenri Bergson
18 October 1859
Philosopher and Writer

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

Jean-François ChampollionJean-François Champollion
23 December 1790
Philologist
Marquis de CondorcetMarquis de Condorcet
17 September 1743
Mathematician, Philosopher

Frederic PassyFrédéric Passy
20 May 1822
Economist & Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Emile DurkheimEmile Durkheim
15 April 1858
Sociologist & Philosopher

Maurice AllaisMaurice Allais
31 May 1911
Economist
Jean GottmannJean Gottmann
23 October 1915
Geographer
René DéscartesRené Déscartes
31 March 1596
Mathematician, Philosopher and Writer

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

Continue Reading Below
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
Allan KardecAllan Kardec
03 October 1804
Writer, Teacher, Philosopher

Henri FayolHenri Fayol
29 July 1841
Economist, Entrepreneur
Louis AlthusserLouis Althusser
16 October 1918
Philosopher, Politician, University teacher

Dominique Strauss-KahnDominique Strauss-Kahn
25 April 1949
Economist, Politician, Lawyer, University teacher

Pierre-Joseph ProudhonPierre-Joseph Proudhon
15 January 1809
Economist, Sociologist, Politician, Journalist,
France NuyenFrance Nuyen
31 July 1939
Psychotherapist, Psychologist, Stage actor, Film

Georges BatailleGeorges Bataille
10 September 1897
Philosopher, Librarian, Poet, Novelist, Writer,
Olympe de GougesOlympe de Gouges
07 May 1748
Playwright, Journalist, Philosopher, Writer,

Emil CioranEmil Cioran
08 April 1911
Philosopher, Writer, Diarist, Aphorist

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

Benoit MandelbrotBenoit Mandelbrot
20 November 1924
Mathematician, Economist, Professor, Scientist,

Peter AbelardPeter Abelard
1079 AD
Theologian, Philosopher, Composer, Linguist, Poet,
Maurice Merleau-PontyMaurice Merleau-Ponty
14 March 1908
Philosopher, Professor

Jean-Baptiste ColbertJean-Baptiste Colbert
29 August 1619
Economist, Politician

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

Savitri DeviSavitri Devi
30 September 1905
Writer, Poet
Georges CuvierGeorges Cuvier
23 August 1769
Geologist, Anatomist, Paleontologist, Politician,

Bruno LatourBruno Latour
22 June 1947
Philosopher, Anthropologist, Sociologist,
Charles FourierCharles Fourier
07 April 1772
Economist, Sociologist, Philosopher

Julia KristevaJulia Kristeva
24 June 1941
Philosopher, Writer, Feminist

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

Francis de SalesFrancis de Sales
16 August 1567
Theologian, Priest, Writer
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,

Marcel LefebvreMarcel Lefebvre
29 November 1905
Theologian, Catholic priest

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

Gustave Le BonGustave Le Bon
07 May 1841
Physician, Anthropologist, Archaeologist,
Ernest RenanErnest Renan
27 February 1823
philosopher, historian, professor, archaeologist,
HéloïseHéloïse
1101 AD
French nun

Alfred BinetAlfred Binet
08 July 1857
Psychologist, Educationist

Jean BodinJean Bodin
1529 AD
jurist, philosopher, economist, historian,

Luce IrigarayLuce Irigaray
03 May 1930
Philosopher, Linguist, University teacher,
Henri de CastriesHenri de Castries
15 August 1954
Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Economist

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

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

Romain RollandRomain Rolland
29 January 1866
Writer, Playwright, Essayist, Historian, Novelist,

Joseph de MaistreJoseph de Maistre
 
Luc MontagnierLuc Montagnier
18 August 1932
Physician, Biologist, Virologist, Researcher,

Marc BlochMarc Bloch
06 July 1886
Historian, Medievalist, University teacher, Writer
Adolphe ThiersAdolphe Thiers
15 April 1797
Lawyer, Politician, Journalist, Historian, Writer

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

Félix GuattariFélix Guattari
30 April 1930
Psychiatrist, Philosopher, Psychanalyst,
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

Eliphas LeviEliphas Levi
08 February 1810
Philosopher, Non-fiction writer, Occultist

Jean-Marie LustigerJean-Marie Lustiger
17 September 1926
Theologian, Writer, Catholic priest

Eugène Viollet-le-DucEugène Viollet-le-Duc
27 January 1814
architectural historian, art historian,
François QuesnayFrançois Quesnay
04 June 1694
Philosopher, Economist, Physician,

Jacques DelorsJacques Delors
20 July 1925
Economist, Politician, Banker, Trade unionist
Jacques MaritainJacques Maritain
18 November 1882
Philosopher, Educationist, Writer

Paul BrocaPaul Broca
28 June 1824
Physician, Anatomist, Anthropologist,
Michel OnfrayMichel Onfray
01 January 1959
Philosopher, Writer, Historian, Essayist, Audio

Gaston BachelardGaston Bachelard
27 June 1884
Philosopher, Poet, Writer, University teacher
Cornelius CastoriadisCornelius Castoriadis
11 March 1922
Philosopher, Economist, Writer, University