Famous Spanish Philosophers

Find out more about the greatest Spanish Philosophers, including Seneca the Younger, Averroes, George Santayana, Isidore of Seville and José Ortega y Gasset.

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 
Averroes
(Philosopher)

Averroes
5
Birthdate: April 14, 1126
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Córdoba, Spain
Died: December 10, 1198
Born into a family of lawyers and judges in Cordoba, Averroes studied subjects such as medicine, theology, and philosophy during childhood. His works include his commentaries on Aristotle’s ideas. He attempted to explore the link between philosophy and Islam, and is also known for his unity of the intellect theory.

 2 
Ibn Arabi
(Muslim Scholar)

Ibn Arabi
4
Birthdate: July 26, 1165
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Murcia, Spain
Died: November 16, 1240
Ibn Arabi, also known as al-Qushayri and Sultan al-ʿArifin, was a 13th-century Muslim scholar and poet. He is remembered for his cosmological teachings and is known among Sufis as al-Shaykh al-Akbar, which gave rise to the Akbariyya school of Sufi metaphysics. His works include The Meccan Illuminations and The Dīwān.

 3 
George Santayana
(Regarded as One of the Most Important Thinkers of the First Half of the 20th Century)

George Santayana
4
Birthdate: December 16, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: September 26, 1952

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.

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 4 

Miguel de Unamuno
3
Birthdate: September 29, 1864
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bilbao
Died: December 31, 1936

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. 

 5 

José Ortega y Gasset
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: October 18, 1955

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.

 6 
Ramon Llull
(philosopher, theologian, astrologer, cleric)

Ramon Llull
3
Birthdate: 1232 AD
Birthplace: Palma de Mallorca
Died: 1316 AD

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. 

 7 
Ibn Hazm
(muhaddith, writer, philosopher)

Ibn Hazm
3
Birthdate: November 7, 0994
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Córdoba
Died: August 15, 1064

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.

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Solomon ibn Gabirol
3
Birthdate: 1021 AD
Birthplace: Málaga, Spain
Died: 1070 AD

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.

 9 
Baltasar Gracian
(Prose writer)

Baltasar Gracian
2
Birthdate: January 8, 1601
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Belmonte de Gracián, Spain
Died: December 6, 1658

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.

Saint Teresa of Avila
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1515
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Gotarrendura
Died: October 4, 1582

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.

 11 
Abraham ibn Ezra
(Philosopher)

Abraham ibn Ezra
2
Birthdate: 1089 AD
Birthplace: Tudela, Spain
Died: January 23, 1167
A significant figure of the Golden Age of Spanish Judaism, Abraham ibn Ezra was a renowned poet, a Neoplatonic philosopher, a biblical commentator, and an astronomy enthusiast. He traveled throughout Europe, North Africa, and Egypt, and also translated the works of Hispano-Hebrew grammarians. He inspired Robert Browning's poem Rabbi Ben Ezra.

 12 
Ibn Tufail
(Polymath)

Ibn Tufail
2
Birthdate: 1105 AD
Birthplace: Guadix, Spain
Died: 1185 AD

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.

 13 
Francisco de Vitoria
(Spanish Roman Catholic philosopher, theologian, and jurist of Renaissance Spain)

Francisco de Vitoria
2
Birthdate: 1483 AD
Birthplace: Burgos, Spain
Died: August 12, 1546

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. 

 14 
Judah Halevi
(Physician)

Judah Halevi
2
Birthdate: 1075 AD
Birthplace: Toledo, Spain
Died: 1141 AD

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.

 15 
Francisco Suárez
(Leading Theological and Philosophical Light of Spain’s Golden Age)

Francisco Suárez
2
Birthdate: January 5, 1548
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Granada, Spain
Died: September 25, 1617

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.

Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD

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. 

Paul B. Preciado
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD

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.

 18 
Francisco J. Ayala
(Biologist, Geneticist, Philosopher, University teacher)

Francisco J. Ayala
2
Birthdate: March 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Madrid

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
2
Birthdate: 0000 AD

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. 

 20 
Avempace
(Polymath)

Avempace
2
Birthdate: 1085 AD
Birthplace: Zaragoza, Spain
Died: 1138 AD

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.

 21 
Juan Donoso Cortés
(Politician, Writer)

Juan Donoso Cortés
2
Birthdate: May 6, 1809
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Valle de la Serena, Spain
Died: May 3, 1853

 22 
Luis de Molina
(Theologian)

Luis de Molina
2
Birthdate: September 29, 1535
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cuenca, Spain
Died: October 12, 1600

 23 
María Zambrano
(Essayist)

María Zambrano
3
Birthdate: April 22, 1904
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Vélez-Málaga, Spain
Died: February 6, 1991

 24 
Ignacio Martín-Baró
(Psychologist)

Ignacio Martín-Baró
1
Birthdate: November 7, 1942
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Valladolid, Spain
Died: November 16, 1989

Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos
1
Birthdate: January 5, 1744
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Gijón, Spain
Died: November 27, 1811

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.

 26 
Ignacio Ellacuría
(Jesuit Philosopher and One of the Principle Contributors to Latin American Liberation Theology)

Ignacio Ellacuría
1
Birthdate: November 9, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Portugalete, Spain
Died: November 16, 1989

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.

Abraham ben David Halevi ibn Daud
1
Birthdate: 1110 AD
Birthplace: Córdoba, Spain
Died: 1180 AD

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.

 28 
Hasdai Crescas
(Philosopher)

Hasdai Crescas
1
Birthdate: 1340 AD
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: 1410 AD

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.

 29 
Gregorio Marañón
(Physician, Philosopher)

Gregorio Marañón
1
Birthdate: May 19, 1887
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Madrid, Spain
Died: March 27, 1960

 30 

Dominicus Gundissalinus
1
Birthdate: November 30, 1115
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Segovia, Spain
Died: November 30, 1190

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.

 31 
Xavier Zubiri
(Philosopher)

Xavier Zubiri
1
Birthdate: December 4, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Donostia–San Sebastián, Spain
Died: September 21, 1983

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.

 32 
Julián Marías
(Philosopher)

Julián Marías
1
Birthdate: June 17, 1914
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Valladolid, Spain
Died: December 15, 2005

 33 

José Cadalso
1
Birthdate: October 8, 1741
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: February 26, 1782

José Cadalso was a colonel of the Royal Spanish Army in the 18th century. He was also a well-known author, playwright, poet, and essayist. As an army man, he traveled through Italy, Germany, England, France, and Portugal and studied the literature of these countries. He is credited to have made massive contributions to Spanish Enlightenment literature. 

 34 
Abraham bar Hiyya
(Mathematician)

Abraham bar Hiyya
1
Birthdate: 1070 AD
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: 1136 AD

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.

Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo
1
Birthdate: November 3, 1856
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santander, Spain
Died: May 19, 1912

Five-time Nobel Prize in Literature-nominated Spanish historian and literary critic Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo was also a professor of Spanish literature. He also owned a library of around 45,000 books. Interestingly, a law was passed just to let him become a professor at the tender age of 22.

 36 
Francisco Sanches
(Philosopher)

Francisco Sanches
1
Birthdate: 1550 AD
Birthplace: Tui, Spain
Died: November 16, 1623

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.

 37 
Eugeni d'Ors
(Writer)

Eugeni d'Ors
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: September 25, 1954

 38 
Eugenio d'Ors y Rovira
(Author and philosopher)

Eugenio d'Ors y Rovira
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: September 25, 1954

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.

 39 
Adela Cortina
(Philosopher)

Adela Cortina
1
Birthdate: 1947 AD
Birthplace: Valencia, Spain

Ramón de Campoamor y Campoosorio
0
Birthdate: September 24, 1817
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Navia, Spain
Died: February 11, 1901

 41 

Francisco Giner de Los Ríos
0
Birthdate: October 10, 1839
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ronda, Spain
Died: February 18, 1915

 42 

Raimon Panikkar
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1918
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: August 26, 2010

Born to a Spanish Catholic mother and an Indian Hindu father in Barcelona, Raimon Panikkar grew up to be a Catholic priest and a philosophy professor. An expert in comparative religion, he compared the tenets of Catholicism and Hinduism in his doctoral thesis. He also penned several spiritual texts.

 43 
Profiat Duran
(Physician)

Profiat Duran
0
Birthdate: 1350 AD
Birthplace: Perpignan, France
Died: 1415 AD

 44 

Agustín García Calvo
0
Birthdate: October 15, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Zamora, Spain
Died: November 1, 2012

 45 
Melchor Cano
(Theologian)

Melchor Cano
0
Birthdate: January 6, 1509
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spain
Died: September 30, 1560

 46 

Shem-Tov ibn Falaquera
0
Birthdate: 1225 AD
Birthplace: Spain
Died: 1290 AD

 47 
Bahya ibn Paquda
(Philosopher)

Bahya ibn Paquda
1
Birthdate: 1050 AD
Birthplace: Zaragoza, Spain
Died: 1120 AD

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.

 48 
Bernat Metge
(Author)

Bernat Metge
0
Birthdate: 1340 AD
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain
Died: 1413 AD

 49 
Javier Gomá
(Philosopher, Writer)

Javier Gomá
0
Birthdate: May 24, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain

 50 
Joseph Albo
(Philosopher)

Joseph Albo
1
Birthdate: 1380 AD
Birthplace: Monreal del Campo, Spain
Died: 1444 AD

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.