Son of Spanish immigrants, Jose Marti spent his childhood in a strife-torn Cuba and attended high school on financial aid. Marti’s poems, essays, and articles were laced with his patriotic vigor to free Cuba from the Spanish rule. He died battling on the field at Dos Ríos.
One of George Santayana’s initial works, The Sense of Beauty, spoke about aesthetics, an oft-repeated topic in his later works. The Spanish-born American philosopher and Harvard professor is remembered for his quote “Only the dead have seen the end of war,” which has often been misattributed to Plato.
Miguel de Unamuno was a Spanish essayist, poet, playwright, novelist, and philosopher. His most famous novel was Abel Sánchez: The History of a Passion, a modern retelling of the Biblical Cain and Abel story. He was a significant figure in the Spanish literary and intellectual circles and served as rector of the University of Salamanca.
Philosopher and humanist José Ortega y Gasset was a major figure of the 20th-century Spanish literary renaissance. Apart from introducing concepts such as ratiovitalism, he also believed in the philosophy "I am I and my circumstance." Invertebrate Spain and The Revolt of the Masses remain his best works.
Ramon Llull was a mathematician, polymath, writer, philosopher, logician, and mystic from the Kingdom of Majorca. He served as a tutor to King James II of Aragon and was later made seneschal to the future King James II of Majorca. He was a prolific writer, with more than 250 works in Catalan, Latin, and Arabic to his name.
One of the main figures of the Ẓāhirī school of jurisprudence, Ibn Hazm had penned masterpieces such as The Ring of the Dove. The Spanish Muslim polymath was from an influential family and grew up to write on varied topics, such as history, religion, medicine, and ethics.
A prominent figure of the Hebrew school of poetry and a Neoplatonic philosopher, Solomon ibn Gabirol lived during the Jewish Golden Age of Spain. His works include elegies, religious and secular poems, proverbs, and philosophical treatises. Legends claim that he was either murdered by another poet or by a horseman.
Spanish baroque author and philosopher Baltasar Gracian was a leading proponent of the conceptismo style. Inspired by his priest uncle, he took Jesuit vows. His notable works include Subtlety and the Art of Genius and the three-part novel The Critick, with the latter written under a pseudonym.
Teresa of Ávila, also known as Saint Teresa of Jesus, was a Spanish noblewoman who later turned into a Carmelite nun. She was posthumously named a Doctor of the Church. She co-established the Discalced Carmelite Order. Her written works include The Interior Castle and her own autobiography.
Spanish Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian Francisco Suárez was born to an affluent lawyer and had initially studied law. However, he joined the Jesuits later, following which he taught philosophy and theology. Known for writing Disputationes Metaphysicae, he was a prime figure of the School of Salamanca movement.
Ibn Tufail was a 12th-century Arab polymath from Andalusia and a significant figure of the Islamic Golden Age. Best known for his philosophical romance Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, he had also penned medical works in Arab and had been the court physician of Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf.
Francisco de Vitoria was a Spanish Roman Catholic theologian, philosopher, and jurist of Renaissance Spain. He founded the School of Salamanca, a tradition in philosophy. He made tremendous contributions to the theory of just war and international law. His works have been interpreted by various scholars to support contrary policies. He taught at the universities of Valladolid and of Salamanca.
Born a woman, Paul B. Preciado initially identified himself as a lesbian and later announced his slow transition to being a man. A celebrated author and philosopher, he has penned books such as Testo Junkie, written columns on gender and sexuality, and taught subjects such as gender theory.
Spanish Jewish poet, physician, and philosopher Judah Halevi is remembered for his significant contributions to the development of Hebrew poetry. Best known for Sefer ha-Kuzari and his poems in Dīwān, he was greatly influenced by Arabian literature. His travels eventually took him to Egypt, where he died.
Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda was a Spanish Renaissance humanist, philosopher, and theologian. Born into a family of Old Christians with humble origins, he went on to pursue studies in theology and canon law at the Universidad de Alcalá. He also obtained a doctorate in arts and theology from the Collegio de San Clemente in Bologna.
Francisco J. Ayala is a Spanish-born American evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist, best known for his investigation on the process of genetic variation and natural selection at molecular level. He also undertook research on public health, providing new ideas on the prevention and treatment of diseases and expounded how Darwin’s theory of evolution is well-matched to religious theory of creation.
Juan Luis Vives was a Spanish (Valencian) scholar and Renaissance humanist. He had a very difficult childhood and witnessed several members of his family being executed as Judaizers. He studied at the University of Paris and became a professor of humanities at the University of Leuven. He placed emphasis on memory and is acknowledged for integrating psychology and medicine.
Spanish Arab philosopher and scholar Avempace excelled in a variety of subjects, such as astronomy, music, medicine, and poetry. His treatise on botany Kitāb an-Nabāt described how plant sexes differ. His other works include Tadbīr al-mutawaḥḥid. He was believed to be an atheist by many.
Juan Donoso Cortés was a Spanish author, politician, diplomat, and Catholic political theologian. He is credited with influencing many intellects, including Carl Schmitt, Juan Vázquez de Mella y Fanjul, Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, and Miguel Antonio Caro Tobar. Considered a counter-revolutionary author, Juan Donoso Cortés' works have been translated into English.
An important figure of the Spanish Enlightenment, statesman author Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos began his career as a criminal judge before returning to his native province, where he completed his best known work, arguing for agricultural reforms. As Minister of Justice he argued against Inquisition and as an important member of the Supreme Central Junta, actively opposed the French invasion.
María Zambrano was a Spanish philosopher and essayist. She was part of the Generation of '36, a group of writers and artists who were active during the Spanish Civil War. María Zambrano's work achieved popularity in the late-20th century and she was honored with several prestigious awards such as the Miguel de Cervantes Prize and the Prince of Asturias Award.
Best known for his treatises Sefer ha-kabbala and Sefer ha-emuna ha-rama, Abraham ben David Halevi ibn Daud was a 12th-century Spanish-Jewish philosopher, historian, and physician. Also known as Rabad I, or Ravad I, he was the first real Aristotelian Jew. Some historians believe he died a martyr.
Spanish-Salvadoran Jesuit priest and human rights activist Ignacio Ellacuría contributed massively to the development of Latin America’s liberation theology. While teaching at the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas, he also faced severe army backlash for his political activism. He was eventually assassinated by an elite army unit.
Spanish-Jewish philosopher Hasdai Crescas was a teacher of Jewish law. Born into a family of Talmud scholars, he once also served as the crown rabbi in Aragon. He criticized the Aristotelian rationalist tradition of Judaism and is remembered for his iconic work Or Adonai, or The Light of the Lord.
Bahya ibn Paquda is best known as the author of Al Hidayah ila Faraid al-Qulub, or Duties of the Heart, an Arabic treatise of Jewish philosophy, also considered the first written work on Jewish ethics. Islamic mystics inspired him to look for the existence and nature of God.
Xavier Zubiri was a prominent member of the Madrid school of Spanish philosophers. While he initially studied theology and philosophy, Zubiri was also well-versed in physics and biology. His works such as Intelligence and Logos and Nature, History, God studied reality as a mixture of science, religion, and philosophy.
Gregorio Marañón was a Spanish scientist, physician, writer, historian, and philosopher. He is widely regarded as one of the 20th century's most brilliant Spanish intellectuals. In order to honor his work and contributions, the Gregorio Marañón Foundation was founded on 11 November 1988.
A twelfth century philosopher and translator of Arabic to Medieval Latin, Dominicus Gundissalinus lived in various Spanish towns before moving to Toledo, where he collaborated with Abraham Ibn Daud and Johannes Hispanus to translate around twenty Arabic works into Latin, including Avicenna's Liber de philosophia prima De anima and Ibn Gabirol's Fons vitae. Later, he also wrote several philosophical treaties.
Born in Aragon, Spain, Jewish philosopher and theologian Joseph Albo is remembered for his iconic work Sefer ha-ʿiqqarim, or Book of Principles, which laid down the fundamental principles of Judaism. He had also been part of the famous Disputation of Tortosa between Christians and Jews.
Spanish philosopher Jaime Luciano Balmes is best known for iconic work Protestantism and Catholicism Compared in Their Effect on the Civilization of Europe, penned in defense of Catholicism. An expert in civil and canon law, he initially taught math and physics, and was criticized by Catholics for being too liberal.
Known for his works on math, philosophy, and astronomy, Catalan Jewish philosopher and scientist Abraham bar Hiyya was one of the first to enrich Hebrew scientific literature. Apart from translating books from Arabic to Latin, he had also penned works such as Liber Embadorum, a treatise on geometry and algebra.
Francisco Sanches was a skeptic, philosopher and physician, best known for his 1581 skeptical work, Quod nihil scitur (That Nothing Is Known). Born in Spain and educated in France and Italy, he served as a professor of philosophy and medicine at the University of Toulouse, publishing several other works, which are believed to have influenced eminent philosophers like René Descartes.
Spanish philosopher and author Eugenio d'Ors y Rovira initially studied law but later worked as a journalist and gained fame with the column Glossari. Over the years, he gained excellence as an essayist and a caricaturist, too. He penned works such as The Secret of Philosophy.
Profiat Duran was a Jewish philosopher, physician, apologist, controversialist, and grammarian in the 14th century. He is best remembered for his satiric epistle Al Tehi Ka-Aboteka. Profiat Duran was also a historian. One of his lost works titled Zikron ha-Shemadot gave a detailed history of Jewish martyrs. This work was used by Judah ibn Verga and Solomon Usque.
Moses ibn Ezra, or Abū Hārūn Mūsā, was one of the best Spanish Jewish poets and a pioneer of secular verse. He had fallen in love with his niece, but she had been married off to someone else, inspiring him to write poetry which spoke of love and old age.