Christianity > Anglican | Catholic | Evangelical | Jehovah's Witnesses | Latter-day Saints | Orthodox | Pentecostal
Islam | Hinduism | Buddhism | Sikhism | Judaism | Baha'i | Zoroastrianism | more links

Religious Affiliation of
History's Greatest Philosophers

The following list of "great philosophers" is taken directly from Living Biographies of Great Philosophers by Henry Thomas and Dana Lee Thomas, Garden City, New York: Garden City Books (1959), one volume in the Thomas's classic Living Biographies series. has no position about whether or not these are really history's greatest or most influential philosophers. We simply thought it would be interesting to present a generally respected list of philosophers, along with the "religious affiliation" of each -- to whatever extent such a concept can be applied to these individuals. Obviously the belief systems of each of these philosphers extend beyond traditionally defined denominational parameters. "Religious affiliations" listed below include traditions the philosophers were raised in as well as philosophies they founded or grew into. This list does not summarize the philosophy of these individuals. This list represents the perspective of Henry and Dana Lee Thomas, who are historians and biographers.

Other Living Biographies Books by Henry and Dana Lee Thomas are about: Great Scientists; Great Composers; Great Poets; Great Painters; Religious Leaders; Famous Novelists; Famous Women.

Related Pages:
- Spiritual/Religious Biographies - Religious Affiliation of Famous People
- Famous Adherents - lists of famous adherents of dozens of different religious groups

NameDateBirthplaceAffiliationSome Works Written
399 B.C
Athens, GreeceGreek philosophy, precursor of Platonism (he led what was considered a dangerous cult in his time, and he was put to death for his teachings, which are today called "ancient Greek philosophy")Developer of the Socratic Method
Plato427 -
347 B.C.
Athens, GreeceGreek philosophy / PlatonismRepublic; Symposium; Phaedrus; Phaedo; Apology of Socrates; Crito; Sophist; Ion; Meno; Laws
Aristotle384 -
322 B.C.
Stagira, MacedoniaGreek philosophy / Platonism / Deist / Aristotelian philosophyDialogues; On Monarchy; Alexander; The Customs of Barbarians; Natural History; Organon, or The Instrument of Correct Thinking; On the Soul; Logic; Rhetoric; Eudemian Ethics; Physics; Metaphysics; Politics; Poetics
Epicurus342 -
270 B.C.
Samos, Ionia, GreeceGreek philosophy / Platonism / EpicureanismTo Herodotus, dealing with physics; To Menoecus, dealing with ethics and theology; To Pythocles, on meteorology
Marcus Aurelius121-180Roman EmpirePagan / Cynicism / Stoicism / ChristianMeditations
Saint Thomas Aquinas1225-1274Roccasecca, Naples, ItalyCatholicSumma Theologica; Summa Contra Gentilres; Disputed Questions; On Divine Names; On the Book of Causes
Francis Bacon1561-1626London, EnglandAnglicanNew Atlantis; The Wisdom of the Ancients; Colors of Good and Evil; Sacred Meditations; Confession of Faith; Things Thought and Things Seen; History of Life and Death
Rene Descartes1596-1650La Haye, Touraine, FranceCatholicThe Search after Truth; Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason; Meditatios on the First Philosophy; Principles of Philosophy; The World; Geometry; Treatise on Man; Dioptric
Baruch de Spinoza1632-1677Amsterdam, NetherlandsJudaism; later pantheism/deismShort Treatise on God, Man and His Well Being; Treatise on Religion and Politics; Metaphysical Thoughts; The Calculation of Chances; Ethics
John Locke1632-1704Wrington, Somersetshire, Englandraised as a Puritan (Anglican); later general liberal Protestant ChristianThe Reasonableness of Christianity; Letters on Toleration; Two Treatises on Government; Essay Concerning the Human Understanding; Thoughts on Education
Voltaire1694-1778Paris, FranceJansenist; DeistHenriade; Oedipe; Brutus; Zaire; Mahomet; Irene; Littlebig; Letters on the English; Candide; The World As It Goes; Zadig
David Hume1711-1776Edinburgh, ScotlandChurch of Scotland (Presbyterian); deistTreatise of Human Nature; Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion; Four Dissertations: The Natural History of Religion, of the Passions, Of Tragedy, Of the Standard of Taste; Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
Immanuel Kant1724-1804Konigsberg, East Prussia (Kaliningrad)Lutheran; PietistThe Critique of Pure Reason; The Critique of Practical Reason; The Critique of Judgment; Metaphysic of Nature; Metaphysic of Ethics; Religion within the Limits of Pure Reason
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel1770-1831Stuttgart, GermanyLutheranScience of Logic; Phenomenology of Spirit; Aesthetics; Philosophy of Religion; Philosophy of Art; Philosophy of Mind; Philosophy of Right; Philosophy of History; History of Philosophy; Encyclopedia of Philosophical Science; Life of Jesus
Arthur Schopenhauer1788-1860Gdansk, Polandphilosophically atheist and anti-rationalist; among religions, preferred Hindu mysticismThe World As Will and Idea; On the Fourfold Root of Sufficient Reason; On the Will in Nature; The Art of Controversy; The Two Fundamental Problems of Ethics
Ralph Waldo Emerson1803-1882Boston, MAUnitarian minister; left and developed "Transcendentalism"The American Scholar; English Traits; Nature; Essays; Representative Man; The Conduct of Life; Letters and Social Aims; The Oversoul; The Natural History of the Intellect; Duty; Truth; Beauty and Manners; Literary Ethics; Journals; Poems; Many Days and Other Pieces
Herbert Spencer1820-1903Derby, Derbyshire, Englandatheist; "scientific philosophy"Principles of Sociology; Principles of Ethics; The Theory of Population; The Universal Postulate; Man versus the State; First Principles
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche1844-1900Rocken, Saxony, Germanyraised Lutheran (father was a pastor); later pagan-atheist-NietzscheistThe Birth of Tragedy; Human All Too Human; The Dawn of Day; The Joyful Wisdom; Thus Spake Zarathustra; Beyond Good and Evil; The Genealogy of Morals; Schopenhauer as Educator; The Will to Power; The Twilight of the Idols; Antichrist; Ecce Homo (autobiography)
William James1842-1910New York City, New Yorkraised by a free-thinking mystic; pluralisticThe Principles of Psychology; Human Immortality; The Will to Believe and other Essays in Popular Philosophy; Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life's Ideals; The Varieties of Religious Experience; A Pluralistic Universe; The Meaning of Truth; Essays in Radical Empiricism; Some Problems in Philosophy
Henri Bergson1859-1941Paris, Franceborn Jewish; skeptic and atheist while young; later idealist and believer in Elan VitalCreative Evolution; Time and Free Will; Matter and Memory; Mind-Energy; Laughter and Metaphysics; The Perception of Change; The Meaning of the War (of 1914)
George Santayana1863-1952Madrid, Spaindevout Platonist-Catholic-AtheistLucifer, a Theological Tragedy; The Sense of Beauty; Interpretations of Poetry and Religion; The Life of Reason, in five volumes: Reason in Common Sense, Reason in Society, Reason in Religion, Reason in Art, Reason in Science; Three Philosophical Poets; Winds of Doctrine; Egotism in German Philosophy; Skepticism and Animal Faith; Platonism and the Spiritual Life; The Realms of Being; The Last Puritan; The Realm of Truth; The Realm of Spirit; Persons and Places; The Middle Span

World's Greatest Philosophers
(Steven A. DeVore and Richard Linford, InteliQuest Learning Systems; URL:

  • Socrates
  • Plato
  • Aristotle
  • Francis Bacon
  • Rene Descartes
  • John Locke
  • Voltaire
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau
  • Adam Smith
  • Immanuel Kant
  • Karl Marx
  • Friedrich Nietzsche

Other categories in the DeVore/Linford Series are: Explorers, Scientists, Inventors, Writers, Painters, Composers, and Leaders.

Related Links


Custom Search
comments powered by Disqus

Web page created 28 September 1999. Updated 8 April 2007.