Famous Swiss Philosophers

Find out more about the greatest Swiss Philosophers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Carl Jung, Jean Piaget, Alain de Botton and Tariq Ramadan.

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 Swiss Philosophers

 1 
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
(Philosopher, Writer, & Composer)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
7
Birthdate: June 28, 1712
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: July 2, 1778

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a Genevan philosopher, composer, and writer. His political philosophy influenced aspects of the French Revolution. He also helped develop modern economic, political, and educational thought. His writing inspired a transformation in French drama and poetry. His works also influenced such writers around the world as Tolstoy. His works as a composer were acknowledged by composers like Mozart.

Jean Piaget
5
Birthdate: August 9, 1896
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Died: September 16, 1980
Swiss psychologist and academic Jean Piaget is remembered for his work on child development and genetic epistemology, consisting of his theory of cognitive development. He also established the International Center for Genetic Epistemology and was the director of the International Bureau of Education. He was an honorary Harvard doctorate.

 3 
Alain de Botton
(Philosopher, Author)

Alain de Botton
7
Birthdate: December 20, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland

Swiss-born British philosopher and author, Alain de Botto,n is best known for his work, Essays in Love, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. He is one of the founders of the educational company, The School of Life, launched in 2008. He is a recipient of  "The Fellowship of Schopenhauer", an annual writers' award from the Melbourne Writers Festival. 

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 4 
Mikhail Bakunin
(Philosopher)

Mikhail Bakunin
6
Birthdate: May 30, 1814
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Russia
Died: July 1, 1876

Mikhail Bakunin was a Russian socialist and anarchist. He is credited with founding an anarchist school of thought called collectivist anarchism. Regarded as one of the most influential personalities of anarchism, Mikhail Bakunin has had a major influence on thinkers like Peter Kropotkin, Herbert Marcuse, Errico Malatesta, Neil Postman, E. P. Thompson, and A. S. Neill.    

 5 
Jakob Ammann
(Tailor)

Jakob Ammann
3
Birthdate: February 12, 1644
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Erlenbach im Simmental
Died: April 22, 2017

Swiss Elder Jakob Ammann gave rise to what is now known as the Amish branch of Anabaptism. While he had initially joined the Anabaptist movement, Ammann, a hard-liner, later branched out because of his belief in the strict doctrines of Anabaptism, such as social avoidance.

 6 
Tariq Ramadan
(Academic)

Tariq Ramadan
6
Birthdate: August 26, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland

Swiss academic Tariq Ramadan made headlines when he was accused of raping several women, including a disabled lady. He was also fined for revealing the name of one of his alleged victims in a book and an interview. The former Oxford professor had previously established Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

 7 
Byung-Chul Han
(Philosopher)

Byung-Chul Han
3
Birthdate: 1959 AD
Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea

Born in South Korea, Byung-Chul Han initially studied metallurgy but was fascinated by philosophy after moving to Germany. In his works, he deals with themes such as tiredness and transparency. Though one of the most translated philosophers, he keeps details about his private life away from the media.

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 8 
Karl Jaspers
(Psychiatrist)

Karl Jaspers
3
Birthdate: February 23, 1883
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oldenburg, Germany
Died: February 26, 1969

Twentieth-century Existentialist Karl Jaspers had initially followed in his father’s footsteps to study law, but had then switched to medicine. One of the pioneers of clinical psychiatry, he applied phenomenology to study mental illnesses and also developed psychopathological research. He was highly influenced by Immanuel Kant’s ideas.

 9 
Alice Miller
(Psychologist)

Alice Miller
4
Birthdate: January 12, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland
Died: April 14, 2010

Apart from being a renowned psychologist, Alice Miller became an international sensation with her debut book, The Drama of the Gifted Child, a bestseller. A Holocaust survivor, who had lost her father in a Jewish ghetto, she analyzed child abuse, including education, violence, and parental abuse.

 10 
Frithjof Schuon
(Metaphysician)

Frithjof Schuon
2
Birthdate: June 18, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: May 5, 1998

Swiss-born German philosopher and metaphysician Frithjof Schuon was a major figure of the Traditionalist School of thought. He also propagated Religio Perennis and wrote extensively about his belief in God, the absolute principle. Most of his work was penned in French and very few in his mother tongue, German.

 11 
Johann Heinrich Lambert
(Mathematician who Proved that π is Irrational)

Johann Heinrich Lambert
2
Birthdate: August 26, 1728
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Mulhouse, France
Died: September 25, 1777

Johann Heinrich Lambert was a Swiss polymath whose contributions to the fields of physics, mathematics, map projections, astronomy, and philosophy are considered important by many scholars. He is credited with introducing hyperbolic functions into trigonometry. He is also credited with inventing a hygrometer, which is used to measure the quantity of water vapor in soil and air.

 12 
Johann Kaspar Lavater
(Poet, Philosopher, Physiognomist and Theologian)

Johann Kaspar Lavater
2
Birthdate: November 15, 1741
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: January 2, 1801

Best known for his research on physiognomy, Johann Kaspar Lavater was also a theologian and an author. He had penned books such as Aussichten in die Ewigkeit and several epic and lyric poems. He died of a grenade wound during the French occupation of Switzerland.

 13 
Henri Frédéric Amiel
(Swiss Moral Philosopher Best Known for His Book 'Journal Intime', a Masterpiece of Self-Analysis)

Henri Frédéric Amiel
2
Birthdate: September 27, 1821
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: May 11, 1881

Best known for his popular Journal Intime, Henri Frédéric Amiel was orphaned at an early age and traveled with various European intellectuals to gain knowledge. Apart from teaching aesthetics and moral philosophy, he also wrote volumes of philosophy and poetry, apart from criticism of major philosophers.

Hans Küng
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Sursee

Catholic priest Hans Küng was extraordinarily liberal for his time and went against traditional Christian dogmas. The Vatican eventually censored him for his views, and he was barred from teaching as a Catholic theologian. He is remembered for his book such as On Being a Christian.

Isabelle de Charrière
1
Birthdate: October 20, 1740
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Utrecht, Netherlands
Died: December 27, 1805

Isabelle de Charrière was born to a Dutch noble family but later married her brother’s Swiss teacher and settled in Switzerland. A fine novelist, known for works such as Trois Femmes and Caliste; ou, lettres écrites de Lausanne, she critiqued social conventions and aristocratic privilege.

 16 
Richard Avenarius
(Philosopher)

Richard Avenarius
1
Birthdate: November 19, 1843
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: August 18, 1896

Remembered as the founder of empirio-criticism, or critical positivism, German-Swiss philosopher Richard Avenarius had a life-long association with the University of Leipzig. He penned influential volumes such as Kritik der reinen Erfahrung and advocated for pure experience. He was supposedly a distant-relative of composer Richard Wagner.

 17 

Jean-André Deluc
0
Birthdate: February 8, 1727
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Geneva, Switzerland
Died: November 7, 1817

Copley Medal-winning geologist and meteorologist Jean-André Deluc had initially studied math and natural sciences, before embarking on business tours across Europe. In course of time, he gathered a huge collection of fossils and minerals. His research areas included the mercury barometer. He was later named a fellow of the Royal Society.

 18 

Johann Rudolf Wyss
0
Birthdate: March 4, 1782
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bern, Switzerland
Died: March 21, 1830

Swiss folklorist and writer Johann Rudolf Wyss is best remembered for editing his father’s 1812 novel The Swiss Family Robinson. While he initially taught philosophy and then worked as a librarian, he later devoted himself to collecting folk tales. He also penned Rufst du, mein Vaterland, the previous Swiss national anthem.

 19 

Jean-Pierre de Crousaz
0
Birthdate: April 13, 1663
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: March 22, 1750

Swiss philosopher and theologian Jean-Pierre de Crousaz had been a professor of math and philosophy at the University of Lausanne and had also served as its rector 4 times. He is best remembered for his works such as Treatise on Beauty and his critique of Pope’s Essay on Man.