Famous German Philosophers

Philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reason, mind, language and traditions. While the world has had some of the most knowledgeable philosophers and thinkers from various parts of the world, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Germany holds the bulk of them all. And if you don’t believe us, then check this list. Starting from Immanuel Kant to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, Karl Marx, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibiz, Max Weber, Hannah Arendt, Gunther Anders, Hans Georg Gadamer to the very recent Gottlob Frege and Ludwig Wittgenstein, the list goes far and wide. Each of them and many others made significant contribution to the aesthetics of philosophy and gave a world a new aspect to look from. Through their work in their chosen field of philosophy, German philosophers made revolutionary contribution to the world society. Till date, their beliefs play a central role on contemporary philosophy and are highly influential in setting up their fundamental concepts. Browse through this section to find a list of famous German philosophers, their life, their philosophies and their thinking. Their impressionable work is sure to leave a lasting imprint on your mind as well!

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite German Philosophers

 1 Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche
4
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 15, 1844
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: German
Died: August 25, 1900

German philosopher, cultural critic, composer, and poet Friedrich Nietzsche has had a profound influence on modern intellectual history. He held the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel. His work spanned philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction. He suffered from numerous health problems from a young age and died at the age of 55.

 2 Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: April 22, 1724
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
Died: February 12, 1804

Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher whose works in fields like aesthetics and metaphysics have made him an important and influential personality in Western philosophy. His views continue to influence contemporary philosophy. Kant has had a major influence on prominent philosophers like Hegel, Schelling, Reinhold, and Fichte. Kant's work on mathematics is cited by Albert Einstein as an early influence.

Recommended Lists:

 3 Arthur Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 22, 1788
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German
Died: September 21, 1860

Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher. He was among the first Western philosophers to affirm important tenets of Indian philosophy, such as denial of the self and asceticism. Schopenhauer's work has had a tremendous posthumous impact on disciplines like science, literature, and philosophy. His work influenced personalities like Albert Einstein, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Sigmund Freud, George Bernard Shaw, and Leo Tolstoy. 

 4 Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt
2
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 14, 1906
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: German
Died: December 4, 1975

Hannah Arendt was a political theorist. Widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most prominent political thinkers, Hannah Arendt's articles and books have had a significant influence on philosophy and political theory. Her life and work inspired the 2012 biographical drama film, Hannah Arendt. Her work has also inspired several biographies written by popular authors.

 5 Max Weber

Maximilian Carl Emil Weber
0
Famous As: Sociologist
Birthdate: April 21, 1864
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
Died: June 14, 1920

Max Weber was a German historian, political economist, jurist, and sociologist. Widely regarded as one of the most influential and important theorists, Weber's ideas had a profound influence on social research and social theory. Although he did not see himself as a sociologist, Weber is often counted among the fathers of sociology alongside Émile Durkheim, Auguste Comte, and Karl Marx.

 6 Hildegard of Bingen

Hildegard of Bingen
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 16, 1098
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: September 17, 1179

Hildegard of Bingen was a German writer, composer, Christian mystic, visionary, philosopher, polymath, and Benedictine abbess of the High Middle Ages. Apart from being the most-recorded composers of sacred monophony in modern history, Hildegard of Bingen is also widely regarded as the founder of scientific natural history.

 7 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Philosophy Historian
Birthdate: August 27, 1770
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: November 14, 1831
German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel worked on ideas such as absolute idealism; the philosophy of spirit, or Geist; and the master–slave dialectic. His views influenced later thinkers and intellectuals, such as Karl Popper and Karl Marx, with the latter using Hegel’s views on the civil society.
You May Like

 8 Gottfried W. Leibniz

Gottfried W. Leibniz
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Mathematician
Birthdate: July 1, 1646
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German
Died: November 14, 1716
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a significant logician, mathematician, and philosopher of the Enlightenment era. He laid down his own concepts of differential and integral calculus. He was behind the invention of the mass-produced mechanical calculator and modified the binary number system. He also laid down a separate library cataloging system.

 9 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 1, 1646
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German
Died: November 14, 1716

 10 Jürgen Habermas

Jürgen Habermas
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 18, 1929
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German

 11 Carl von Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz
0
Famous As: Military person
Birthdate: June 1, 1780
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German
Died: November 16, 1831

 12 Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin
0
Birthdate: July 15, 1892
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German
Died: September 27, 1940

Walter Benjamin was a German Jewish essayist, philosopher, and cultural critic. An eclectic thinker, Benjamin made significant contributions to literary criticism, aesthetic theory, and historical materialism. Although Benjamin's work did not earn much recognition during his lifetime, it continues to be revered by academics several years after his death.

 13 Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 11, 1903
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: August 6, 1969

One of the most prominent intellectuals of the 20th century, Theodor Adorno was a pioneer of the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory and despised the culture industry. Born to a singer mother, the German sociologist grew up amid music and could even play Beethoven on the piano by 12.

 14 Friedrich Schiller

Friedrich Schiller
0
Famous As: Poet, Playwright, Historian & Philosopher
Birthdate: November 10, 1759
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German
Died: May 9, 1805

Friedrich Schiller was a German poet, physician, philosopher, playwright, and historian. Schiller is best remembered for his friendship with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the two discussed issues concerning aesthetics. Schiller's discussions with Goethe paved the way for a period, which came to be known as Weimar Classicism. Friedrich Schiller is also widely regarded as Germany's most prominent classical playwright.

 15 Erich Fromm

Erich Fromm
0
Famous As: Psychologist
Birthdate: March 23, 1900
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German
Died: March 18, 1980

Erich Fromm was a German social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, and socialist. A German Jew, he fled the Nazi regime and settled in the United States. He was a co-founder of  The William Alanson White Institute and was associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. He is best remembered for authoring the book Escape from Freedom.

 16 Max Stirner

Max Stirner
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 25, 1806
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German
Died: June 26, 1856
German philosopher Max Stirner had humble beginnings as a girls’ preparatory school teacher and translator. Remembered for his most ground-breaking work, The Ego and His Own, he explored the ego and Hegel’s concepts of social alienation. Unfortunately, he died of a poisonous insect bite at 49.

 17 Herbert Marcuse

Herbert Marcuse
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: July 18, 1898
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German, American
Died: July 29, 1979

The proponent of the Frankfurt School of critical theory, Herbert Marcuse largely influenced the leftist student revolts of the 1960s. Equipped with a PhD in German literature, he wrote Hegel’s Ontology and the Theory of Historicity, with Martin Heidegger. His Eros and Civilization spoke at length about capitalism.

 18 Adam Weishaupt

Adam Weishaupt
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: February 6, 1748
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
Died: November 18, 1830
On a night in 1776, deep within a forest near Ingolstadt, German law professor Adam Weishaupt and four others formed a secret society known as the Illuminati, which was supposed to be a parallel to religion. Since then, many conspiracy theories have held the society responsible for unexplained global events. 

 19 Carl Schmitt

Carl Schmitt
0
Famous As: Jurist, Geopolitician, Political Scientist
Birthdate: July 11, 1888
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German
Died: April 7, 1985
Known for works such as Constitutional Theory and Political Theology, Nazi political theorist and academic Carl Schmitt explored liberalism and the Weimar Republic. He was banned from teaching by the Allied powers after World War II but continued producing works such as Ex Captivitate Salus.

 20 Leo Strauss

Leo Strauss
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: September 20, 1899
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German, American
Died: October 18, 1973
Though he never received enough fame during his lifetime, political philosopher Leo Strauss made significant contributions to classical political theory. Apart from penning scholarly works such as On Tyranny and Natural Right and History, he had also served in World War I and taught political science. 

 21 Meister Eckhart

Meister Eckhart
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, Mystic
Birthdate: 1260 AD
Nationality: German
Died: 1328 AD

German philosopher Meister Eckhart is remembered for his Latin and German transcripts that stress on the relationship between God and man. His treatises include Talks of Instruction and the Book of Divine Consolation. His innovative vocabulary also contributed to the German language. However, he was accused of heresy later.

 22 Oswald Spengler

Oswald Spengler
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: May 29, 1880
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: German
Died: May 8, 1936

German historian Oswald Spengler is best remembered for his iconic The Decline of the West, which had a huge influence on social theory. He believed that culture cannot be transferred and that it can only decline and decay like an organism. He lived his final years in isolation in Munich.

 23 Edith Stein

Edith Stein
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: October 12, 1891
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: German
Died: August 9, 1942

Edith Stein was a German Jewish philosopher who studied at the University of Freiburg and completed her dissertation on empathy. Always interested in Catholicism, she read the autobiography of the mystic Teresa of Ávila and converted to Christianity, and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She was killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp and is canonized as a martyr.

 24 Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich
0
Birthdate: August 20, 1886
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German, American
Died: October 22, 1965

German-American theologian and philosopher Paul Tillich is remembered for his work in the field of Christian existentialism and for concepts such as the method of correlation. His notable works, such as The Courage to Be and the three-volume Systematic Theology, has inspired intellectual thinkers and commoners alike.

 25 Georg Simmel

Georg Simmel
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Sociologist, University teacher
Birthdate: March 1, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: German
Died: September 26, 1918

 26 Hans-Hermann Hoppe

Hans-Hermann Hoppe
0
Famous As: Economist, Philosopher, Academic, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: September 2, 1949
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German

 27 Gottlob Frege

Gottlob Frege
0
Famous As: Mathematician, Logician, Analytic philosopher, Philosopher of language, University teacher, Philosopher
Birthdate: November 8, 1848
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German
Died: July 26, 1925

 28 Johann Gottlieb Fichte

Johann Gottlieb Fichte
0
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: May 19, 1762
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
Died: January 29, 1814

 29 Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
0
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: September 14, 1486
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: February 18, 1535

 30 Johann Gottfried Herder

Johann Gottfried Herder
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: August 25, 1744
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German, Polish
Died: December 18, 1803

 31 Ludwig Feuerbach

Ludwig Feuerbach
0
Famous As: Anthropologist, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: July 28, 1804
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German
Died: September 13, 1872

 32 Matthias Jakob Schleiden

Matthias Jakob Schleiden
0
Famous As: Biologist, Botanist, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: April 5, 1804
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German
Died: June 23, 1881

 33 Hans Morgenthau

Hans Morgenthau
0
Famous As: Judge, Political scientist, Writer, Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: February 17, 1904
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
Died: July 19, 1980

 34 Karl Jaspers

Karl Jaspers
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Psychiatrist, Physician, Theologian, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: February 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Swiss, German
Died: February 26, 1969

 35 Wilhelm von Humboldt

Wilhelm von Humboldt
0
Famous As: Philosopher
Birthdate: June 22, 1767
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German
Died: April 8, 1835

 36 Max Horkheimer

Max Horkheimer
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Educationist, Sociologist, University teacher, Literary critic
Birthdate: February 14, 1895
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German, American
Died: July 7, 1973

 37 Novalis

Novalis
0
Famous As: Philosopher & Poet
Birthdate: May 2, 1772
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German
Died: March 25, 1801

 38 Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
0
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: January 27, 1775
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
Died: August 20, 1854

 39 Moses Mendelssohn

Moses Mendelssohn
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Translator, Writer, Bible translator
Birthdate: September 6, 1729
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: German
Died: January 4, 1786

 40 Friedrich Schleiermacher

Friedrich Schleiermacher
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Theologian, Translator, University teacher
Birthdate: November 21, 1768
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: German, Polish
Died: January 12, 1834

 41 Hans-Georg Gadamer

Hans-Georg Gadamer
0
Famous As: Philosopher, University teacher
Birthdate: February 11, 1900
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
Died: March 13, 2002

 42 Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
0
Famous As: Writer, Philosopher, Playwright, Poet, Librarian, Theologian, Dramaturge, Literary critic, Journalist
Birthdate: January 22, 1729
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German
Died: February 15, 1781

 43 Niklas Luhmann

Niklas Luhmann
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Scientist, Sociologist, University teacher
Birthdate: December 8, 1927
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: German
Died: November 6, 1998

 44 Peter Sloterdijk

Peter Sloterdijk
0
Famous As: Philosopher, Television presenter, Writer, University teacher
Birthdate: June 26, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: German

 45 Eduard Bernstein

Eduard Bernstein
0
Famous As: Politician, Philosopher, Writer, Economist
Birthdate: January 6, 1850
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: German
Died: December 18, 1932

 46 Jakob Böhme

Jakob Böhme
0
Famous As: philosopher, Christian mystic, and Lutheran Protestant theologian
Birthdate: April 24, 1575
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German, Polish
Died: November 17, 1624

 47 Christian Wolff

Christian Wolff
0
Famous As: jurist, mathematician, philosopher, university teacher
Birthdate: January 24, 1679
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: German, Polish
Died: April 9, 1754

 48 Rudolf Carnap

Rudolf Carnap
0
Famous As: Analytic philosopher, Esperantist, Philosopher of language, Logician, Philosopher of science, University teacher, Philosopher
Birthdate: May 18, 1891
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: German, American
Died: September 14, 1970

 49 Rudolf Bultmann

Rudolf Bultmann
0
Famous As: Theologian, University teacher
Birthdate: August 20, 1884
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: German
Died: July 30, 1976

 50 Ferdinand Lassalle

Ferdinand Lassalle
0
Famous As: Writer, Politician, Economist, Lawyer, Philosopher
Birthdate: April 11, 1825
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: German, Polish
Died: August 31, 1864