Timeline of Western Philosophy

By khamoy
  • Period: 624 BCE to 460


  • 487 BCE


    He was one of the major figures in the first generation of Sophists. Both Plato and Aristotle criticized Gorgias severely, labeling him as a mere sophist whose primary goal was to make money by appearing wise and clever, and not a true philosopher. However, he was undeniably highly influential and, in bringing his rhetorical innovations from his native Sicily to Athens and Attica, he also contributed to the diffusion of the Attic dialect as the language of literary prose.
  • Period: 465 BCE to 384

    The Socratic or Classical period

    The Socratic or Classical period of the Ancient era of philosophy denotes the Greek contemporaries and near contemporaries of the influential philosopher Socrates.
  • 464 BCE


    Greek philosopher from the Classical period Socrates was more concerned with how people should behave, and so was perhaps the first major philosopher of ethics.
    He made important and lasting contributions in the fields of Ethics, Epistemology and Logic, and particularly in the methodology of philosophy. His views were instrumental in the development of many of the major philosophical movements and schools which came after him, including Platonism, Cynicism, Stoicism and Hedonism.
  • 460 BCE


    Democritus (c. 460 - 370 B.C.), sometimes known as the "Laughing Philosopher", was a Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Thrace in northern Greece. Along with his teacher, Leucippus, he was the founder of the Greek philosophical school of Atomism and developed a Materialist account of the natural world.
    Although he was a contemporary of Socrates, he usually considered Pre-Socratic in that his philosophy and his approach were more similar to other Pre-Socratic thinkers than to Socrates and Plato.
  • 428 BCE


    He provided the main opposition to the Materialist view of the world, he helped to lay the foundations of the whole of Western Philosophy. He blended Ethics, Political Philosophy, Epistemology, Metaphysics and moral psychology into an interconnected and systematic philosophy. In addition to the ideas they contained many of his writings are also considered superb pieces of literature.
    Plato was the founder of the famous Academy in Athens,known as Platonism.
  • 412 BCE

    Diogenes of Sinope (aka Diogenes the Cynic)

    He was one of the founders (and the archetypical practitioner) of the ancient Greek philosophical school of Cynicism. He lived as a beggar in the streets of Athens and made a virtue of extreme poverty. He taught contempt for all human achievements, social values and institutions. But his sharp wit and stinging satire was very effective in highlighting the decadence, irrationality and double standards of Athens society.
  • 384 BCE


    He is one of the most important founding figures in Western Philosophy, and the first to create a comprehensive system of philosophy, encompassing Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics, Metaphysics, Logic and science. His own school of philosophy, known as Aristotelianism or the Peripatetic School, influenced almost all later philosophical thinking, particularly the Medieval movements such as Scholasticism, Averroism and Avicennism.
  • Period: 361 BCE to 205

    The Hellenistic or Post-Aristotelian period

    The Hellenistic or Post-Aristotelian period of the Ancient era of philosophy comprises many different schools of thought developed in the Hellenistic world (which is usually used to mean the spread of Greek culture to non-Greek lands conquered by Alexander the Great in the 4th Century B.C.). It is usually considered to begin with the deaths of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. and of Aristotle in 322 B.C.).
  • 360 BCE

    Pyrrho (AKA Pyrrho of Elis)

    Pyrrho (AKA Pyrrho of Elis) (360 - 270 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher of the Hellenistic period, from the Peloponnese Peninsula of southern Greece. He is considered the first Skeptic and was the founder of, or at least the inspiration for, the later Greek philosophical school of Pyrrhonism, a variant of Skepticism. It is also believed that his selection of "ataraxia" (or "inner peace") as the ultimate goal of life was borrowed by Epicurus and the Epicureanism movement.
  • 341 BCE


    He was the founder ancient Greek philosophical school of Epicureanism, whose main goal was to attain a happy, tranquil life. Elements of his philosophy have resonated and resurfaced in various diverse thinkers and movements throughout Western intellectual history, including John Locke, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Thomas Jefferson and even Friedrich Nietzsche.
  • 334 BCE

    Zeno of Citium

    Zeno of Citium (c. 334 - 262 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher of the Hellenistic period, active in Athens from about 300 B.C. He is considered the founder of the Stoicism school of philosophy (which became the dominant philosophy of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and an influence on early Christianity). However, Zeno's philosophy was more of a middle way between the Cynics' complete rejection of society and the later Stoics' obsession with duty.
  • Period: 107 BCE to 480

    The Roman period

    The Roman period of the Ancient era of philosophy generally continues the classical Greek tradition and is usually considered to end with the Fall of Rome in the 5th Century.
  • 106 BCE

    Marcus Tullius Cicero (usually known simply as Cicero)

    He was a central political figure during the turbulent reign of Julius Caesar.
    He is generally perceived to be one of the most versatile minds of ancient Rome and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists. While perhaps not an exceptional or original thinker, he was instrumental in introducing the Romans to the chief schools of Greek philosophy, and was declared a “righteous pagan” by the early Catholic Church
  • 20 BCE

    Philo of Alexandria (AKA Philo Judaeus, Philo the Jew and Yedidia)

    Jewish-Egyptian philosopher of the Hellenistic period, and one of the most important Jewish Philosophers of ancient times. He tried to fuse and harmonize ancient Greek philosophy and Judaism, the art of allegory he had learned from Stoic philosophy. Given the similarity of the resulting combination to Christian teachings, some have argued that Philo is actually the "founder of Christianity" and that he strongly influenced the New Testament.
  • 55


    Greek/Roman philosopher of the Hellenistic period. He developed from a crippled Roman slave to become one of the most popular and sought after philosophers of his time.
    He was one of the most influential teachers of the later years of the school of Stoicism and considered by some to be the greatest of the Stoics. Because so little of the original early works of Stoicism has survived, his transcribed teachings are also a major source of our knowledge of the movement.
  • 121

    Marcus Aurelius

    Roman Emperor and philosopher of the Roman period. He is considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. Although, perhaps not a first-rank or original philosopher, his "Meditations" remain revered as a literary monument and as a succinct statement of Stoic philosophy. Looked at as a series of practical philosophical exercises intended to digest and put into practice philosophical theory, his works have had a profound influence over the centuries.
  • 204


    Roman philosopher of the Hellenistic period. He is widely considered the founder of the Neo-Platonism movement.
    More than just a commentator on Plato, though, Plotinus was an original and profound thinker in his own right, who borrowed and re-worked all that he found useful from earlier thinkers to develop a complex spiritual cosmology and its related theory of morality, as well as a unique theory of sense-perception and knowledge.
  • 354

    St. Augustine of Hippo

    Roman philosopher and theologian of the late Roman / early Medieval period. He is one of the most important early figures in the development of Western Christianity and was a major figure in bringing Christianity to dominance in the previously pagan Roman Empire. He is often considered the father of orthodox theology and the greatest of the four great fathers of the Latin Church. Augustine developed a philosophical and theological system.
  • 480

    Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius

    6th Century Roman Christian philosopher of the late Roman period. He is sometimes called the last of the Roman philosophers and the first of the Scholastics, and his final work, the "Consolation of Philosophy", assured his legacy in the Middle Ages and beyond. His Latin translations of some of the works of Aristotle were the only ones available in Europe until the 12th Century.
  • Period: 979 to 1285

    The Medieval period

    The Medieval period of philosophy represents a renewed flowering of Western philosophical thought after the intellectual drought of the Dark Ages.
  • 980


    a Persian philosopher, physician and polymath in the Medieval period (Islam's Golden Age). As a philosopher and a devout Muslim, he tried to reconcile the rational philosophy of Aristotelianism and Neo-Platonism with Islamic theology. He also developed his own system of Logic, known as Avicennian Logic, and founded the philosophical school of Avicennism, which was highly influential among Muslim and Western European Scholastic thinkers alike.
  • 1033

    St. Anselm of Canterbury

    He is particularly known for his attempt to elaborate a rational system of faith, and as the originator of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God. He exercised an important influence on later Scholastics, as well as on subsequent Church doctrine on various theological matters. He held the important position of Archbishop of Canterbury during a particularly turbulent period in English and Papal history.
  • 1079

    Peter Abelard

    Peter Abelard (AKA Petrus Abaelardus or Pierre Abélard) (1079 - 1142) was a 12th Century French philosopher, theologian and logician of the Medieval period. He is mainly associated with the dominant Medieval movement of Scholasticism. He is probably most famous, however, for the story of his love affair with his student Héloïse which has become legendary as a romantic tale.
  • 1126


    Averroism movement grew up around his teachings, his work greatly influenced the subsequent development of Scholasticism in Western Europe.He played a decisive role in the defense of Greek philosophy against the orthodox Ash'arite theologians l. Although during his lifetime his philosophy was considered controversial in Muslim circles, he had an even greater impact on Western European thought, and he has been described as the founding father of secular thought, in Christian West.
  • 1135

    Moses Maimonides

    He was the pre-eminent medieval Jewish philosopher and marked the end of the golden age of Jewish culture in Moorish Spain. His copious works on Jewish law and Ethics were initially met with much opposition during his lifetime, but today his works and his views are considered a cornerstone of Jewish thought and study. Maimonides foreshadowed Scholasticism and undoubtedly influenced later medieval Scholastics.
  • 1200

    Albertus Magnus

    13th Century German philosopher, theologian and scientist of the Medieval period. He is mainly associated with the dominant Medieval movement of Scholasticism, and his influence on the development of Scholastic philosophy in the 13th Century was enormous, especially his incorporation of Aristotelianism into the Christian west. He is also known as an early advocate for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion.
  • 1214

    Roger Bacon

    Inspired by the works of early Muslim scientists like Avicenna and Averroës, he is sometimes credited as one of the earliest European advocates of Empiricism and the modern scientific method (although later studies have emphasized his reliance on occult and alchemical traditions). He decried the prevailing Scholastic system, based as it was solely on tradition and prescribed authorities.
  • 1224

    St. Thomas Aquinas

    The philosophy of Aquinas has exerted enormous influence on subsequent Christian theology, especially that of the Roman Catholic Church, but also Western philosophy in general. His most important and enduring works are the "Summa Theologica", in which he expounds his systematic theology of the "quinquae viae" (the five proofs of the existence of God), and the "Summa Contra Gentiles".
  • 1266

    John Duns Scotus

    The founder of a special form of Scholasticism, which came to be known as Scotism. He was also an early adopter of the doctrine of Voluntarism. He was nicknamed Doctor Subtilis for his penetrating and subtle manner of thought and had considerable influence on Roman Catholic thought. In the 16th Century, however, he was accused of sophistry, which led to the use of his name (in the form of "dunce") to describe someone who is incapable of scholarship.
  • 1285

    William of Ockham

    He is one of the major figures of late medieval Scholastic thought and was at the center of the major intellectual and political controversies. Strongly believing that universals are merely mental concepts and abstractions which do not really exist, except in the mind. He produced significant works on Logic, physics and theology. His philosophy was radical in his day and continues to provide insight into current philosophical debates.
  • 1466

    The Renaissance period of the Medieval era of philosophy

    The bridge between Medieval philosophy and the start of Modern philosophy during the Age of Reason.
  • 1466

    Desiderius Erasmus

    Best known as an early Humanist and the intellectual father of the Reformation. He was instrumental in rescuing Christian theology from the pedantries of the Scholastics.
    Although his Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament earned him enemies among both Catholics and Protestant Reformers, his works were hugely popular and influential, both during his life and afterward
  • 1469

    Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

    He was a central figure in the political scene of the Italian Renaissance, a tumultuous period of plots, wars between city states and constantly shifting alliances.
    Although he never considered himself a philosopher many subsequent political philosophers have been influenced by his ideas. He was largely silent on moral matters, he presented an alternative to the ethical theories of his day, rather than an all-out rejection of all morality.
  • 1478

    Sir Thomas More

    His writing and scholarship earned him a great reputation as a Christian Humanist scholar in continental Europe.
    More coined the word "utopia", a name he gave to an ideal, imaginary land whose political system he described in his famous 1516 book of the same name. The book was a forerunner of the utopian literary genre and has been claimed by some modern Socialists as key in the early development of Socialist ideas.
  • 1561

    Sir Francis Bacon

    His major contribution to philosophy was his application of inductive reasoning (generalizations based on individual instances), the approach used by modern science, rather than the a priori method of medieval Scholasticism and Aristotelianism. He was an early proponent of Empiricism and the scientific method.
  • Thomas Hobbes

    Established the foundation for most of Western Political Philosophy. Hobbes looked on politics as a secular discipline, divorced from theology, and he has always attracted his share of powerful (and often vitriolic) detractors. Others have taken issue with his apparent assumption of mankind as not inherently benevolent, but rather self-centered and competitive.
  • Period: to

    The Age of Reason period

    The Age of Reason period of the Modern era of philosophy is generally regarded as the start of modern philosophy, and roughly equates to the 17th Century.
  • René Descartes

    He has been called the "Father of Modern Philosophy", and much of subsequent Western philosophy can be seen as a response to his writings. He represents a major break with the Aristotelianism and Scholasticism of the Medieval period. His contribution to mathematics was also of the first order, as the inventor of the Cartesian coordinate system and the founder of analytic geometry. He was also one of the key figures in the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th Centuries.
  • Blaise Pascal

    A mathematician of the first order, especially in the areas of projective geometry and probability theory, and he made important contributions to the natural and applied sciences and wrote in defense of the scientific method. he devoted himself to philosophy and theology. He opposed both the Rationalism of René Descartes and the main countervailing philosophy, British Empiricist, as being insufficient for determining major truths.
  • Baruch Spinoza

    An enormously controversial figure (both in his own day and after) for the highly original and provocative positions he advocated, Spinoza is nowadays respected as one of the definitive ethicists (he took a largely Moral Relativist position), and as a harbinger of enlightened modernity. His metaphysical views were essentially monistic and pantheistic, holding that God and Nature were just two names for the same single underlying reality.
  • John Locke

    His Philosophy of Mind is often cited as the origin for modern conceptions of identity and "the self". He also postulated, contrary to Cartesian and Christian philosophy, that the mind was a "tabula rasa" and that people are born without innate ideas. He was also one of the originators of Contractarianism which formed the theoretical groundwork of democracy, republicanism and modern Liberalism and Libertarianism.
  • Nicolas Malebranche

    He was also a devout Christian, and sought to synthesize the thought of Descartes and St. Augustine in order to demonstrate the active role of God in every aspect of the world, developing in the process his own doctrine of Occasionalism.
    Many have begun to argue in recent years that the originality and unity of his philosophical system merits him a place alongside such Rationalist figures as Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz.
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

    He devised his rather eccentric metaphysical theory of monads operating in a pre-established divine harmony in order to overcome what he saw as some of the drawbacks of the theories of Descartes and Spinoza. He remained a devout Christian throughout his life and his formulation of the Problem of Evil in a world created by a good God was an influential one. His contributions to Logic were perhaps the most important between Aristotle and the developments in modern formal Logic.
  • Bishop George Berkeley

    nown for his theory of Immaterialism, a type of Idealism (he is sometimes considered the father of modern Idealism). Along with John Locke and David Hume, he is also a major figure in the British Empiricism movement, although his Empiricism is of a much more radical kind, arising from his mantra "to be is to be perceived".
  • Period: to

    The Age of Enlightenment period

    the Enlightenment was an intellectual movement, developed mainly in France, Britain and Germany, which advocated freedom, democracy and reason as the primary values of society. It started from the standpoint that men's minds should be freed from ignorance, from superstition and from the arbitrary powers of the State, in order to allow mankind to achieve progress and perfection.
  • Voltaire (real name François-Marie Arouet)

    He was an outspoken supporter of social reform (including the defense of civil liberties, freedom of religion and free trade), despite the strict censorship laws and harsh penalties of the period, and made use of his satirical works to criticize Catholic dogma and the French institutions of his day. Along with John Locke, Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, his works and ideas influenced important thinkers of both the American and French Revolutions.
  • David Hume

    He was a fierce opponent of the Rationalism of Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza, as well as an atheist and a skeptic. He has come to be considered as one of the most important British philosophers of all time, and he was a huge influence on later philosophers, from Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer to the Logical Positivists and Analytic Philosophers of the 20th Century, as well as on intellectuals in other fields.
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau

    His Political Philosophy, particularly his formulation of social contract theory (or Contractarianism), strongly influenced the French Revolution and the development of Liberal, Conservative and Socialist theory. A brilliant, undisciplined and unconventional thinker throughout his colorful life, his views on Philosophy of Education and on religion were equally controversial but nevertheless influential.
  • Adam Smith

    He is widely cited as the father of modern economics, and sometimes as the father of modern Capitalism. His metaphor of the invisible hand of the free market has been of untold influence in the development of laissez faire economics and modern Capitalism and Individualism, but Smith's work has been almost as influential in other areas of Political Philosophy, including Utilitarianism, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Socialism and Marxism.
  • Immanuel Kant

    His works, especially those on Epistemology, Metaphysics and Ethics, achieved a complete paradigm shift and moved philosophy beyond the debate between the Rationalists and Empiricists which had dominated the Age of Reason and the early Age of Enlightenment, and indeed to combine those two apparently contradictory doctrines. His ideas and original thought have informed almost every philosophical movement.
  • Edmund Burke

    He served for many years in the British House of Commons and was one of the leading figures within the Conservative faction of the Whig party. He was a strong supporter of the American colonies, and a staunch opponent of the French Revolution. He is often regarded as the philosophical founder of Anglo-American Conservatism.
  • Period: to

    The Modern period

    the Modern period exploded in a flurry of new philosophical movements. In addition to further developments in Age of Enlightenment movements such as German Idealism, Kantianism and Romanticism, the Modern period saw the rise of Continental Philosophy, Ordinary Language Philosophy, Logicism, Phenomenology, and the more contemporary Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Post-Modernism and Deconstructionism, among others.
  • Jeremy Bentham

    He is best known as the founder of Utilitarianism, which he saw as the underlying moral principle on which his legal and social reforms should be based. Although his influence during his life was perhaps minor, his impact was greater in later years as his ideas were carried on by followers such as John Stuart Mill, Robert Owen and John Austin.
  • Johann Gottlieb Fichte

    one of the founding figures of the German Idealism and Kantianism movements in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. At one time perceived merely as a bridge between the ideas of Kant and Hegel, he has since begun to be appreciated as an important philosopher in his own right, with original insights into the nature of self-awareness. He also wrote Political Philosophy and is thought of by some as the father of German Nationalism.
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

    He has been called the "Aristotle of modern times", and he used his system of dialectics to explain the whole of the history of philosophy, science, art, politics and religion. Despite charges of obscurantism and "pseudo-philosophy", Hegel is often considered the summit of early 19th Century German thought. His influence has been immense, both within philosophy and in the other sciences, and he came to have a profound impact on many future philosophical schools.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling

    a philosophical Proteus who changed his conception so radically and so often that it is hard to attribute a clear philosophy to him. However, his views arguably always focused on a few common themes, especially human freedom, the absolute, and the relationship between spirit and nature. He is perhaps the most neglected of the major German Idealists, largely overshadowed by the G. W. F. Hegel, and was all but forgotten for nearly a century after his death.
  • Arthur Schopenhauer

    His vision of Aesthetics and his doctrine of Voluntarism (as well as his aphoristic writing style) influenced many later philosophers as well as the Romantics of his own time. Perhaps more than any other major philosopher, Schopenhauer has been subject to trends and fashions in popularity, sinking from celebrity and renown to almost complete obscurity, before rebounding again in recent years.
  • John Stuart Mill

    He is best known for his further development of the Utilitarian theory which he popularized and became the best-known exponent and apologist. He was instrumental in the development of progressive political doctrines, and he was active in calling for political and social reforms He was perhaps the most influential English-speaking philosopher and liberal thinker of the 19th Century, and he made important contributions to British thought, especially in Ethics and Political Philosophy.
  • Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

    Sometimes dubbed "the father of Existentialism", his works represent a reaction against the dominant Hegelian philosophy of the day (and against the state church in Denmark) and set the stage for modern Existentialism. Early Existentialist thinkers like Karl Jaspers (1883 - 1969) and Martin Heidegger and, later, Jean-Paul Sartre, drew extensively on Kierkegaard's analysis of despair and freedom. However, a wide range of other philosophers, expressed great respect for the Danish master's thought.
  • Karl Heinrich Marx

    Although a relatively obscure figure in his own lifetime, his ideas began to exert a major influence on workers' movements shortly after his death, especially with the Russian Revolution of 1917. Despite the numerous debates among Marxists over how to interpret Marx's writings and how to apply his concepts to current events and conditions, there are few parts of the world which have not been significantly touched by Marx's ideas over the course of the 20th Century.
  • Charles Sanders Peirce

    He is best known as the founder of the largely American philosophical school of Pragmatism, which was later popularized by his life-long friend William James and his one-time student John Dewey, although his contributions to the development of modern Logic were also of the first order.
  • William James

    He is recognized as one of the founders of the largely American philosophical school of Pragmatism. He was also a believer in the philosophical doctrines of Voluntarism, Fideism and what he called Radical Empiricism. He influenced generations of thinkers in Europe and America, including Edmund Husserl, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

    He is considered an important forerunner of Existentialism movement (although he does not fall neatly into any particular school), and his work has generated an extensive secondary literature within both the Continental Philosophy and Analytic Philosophy traditions of the 20th Century. He challenged the foundations of Christianity and traditional morality, famously asserting that "God is dead", leading to (generally justified) charges of Atheism, Moral Skepticism, Relativism and Nihilism.
  • Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege

    Helped found both modern mathematical Logic and the beginnings of the Analytic Philosophy movement.
    his work exerted a fundamental and far-reaching influence on 20th Century philosophy. He later abandoned his extensive work on Logicism, but he directly influenced the next generation of logicians and philosophers, particularly Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Logical Positivism movement. After his death, his Predicate Logic virtually wholly superseded traditional forms of Logic.
  • Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl

    Known as the father of the 20th Century Phenomenology movement. His work broke with the dominant Positivism of his day, giving weight to subjective experience as the source of all of our knowledge of objective phenomena. Along with Georg Hegel and his own student Martin Heidegger, he was a major influence on the whole of 20th Century Continental Philosophy.
  • Bertrand Arthur William Russell

    He is generally credited with being one of the founders of Analytic Philosophy, and almost all the various Analytic movements throughout the 20th Century (particularly Logicism, Logical Positivism and Ordinary Language Philosophy) owe something to Russell. His major works, such as his essay "On Denoting" and the huge "Principia Mathematica" (co-author with Alfred North Whitehead), have had a considerable influence on mathematics (especially set theory), linguistics and all areas of philosophy.
  • Martin Heidegger

    He was one of the most original and important philosophers of the 20th Century, but also one of the most controversial. His outspoken early support for the Fascist Nazi regime in Germany has to some extent obscured and tainted his significance, but his work has exercised a deep influence on philosophy, theology and the humanities, and was key to the development of Phenomenology, Existentialism, Deconstructionism, Post-Modernism, and Continental Philosophy in general.
  • Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

    Major influence in the development of Analytic Philosophy and Philosophy of Language. The Logical Positivists of the Vienna Circle in particular were greatly influenced by his "Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus" The ideas in his later "Philosophical Investigations" ushered in the era of Ordinary Language Philosophy and brought language to the forefront of modern philosophy. His influence has extended beyond what is normally considered philosophy.
  • Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre

    He is best known as the main figurehead of the Existentialism movement. Along with his French contemporaries Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir (1908 - 1986), he helped popularize the movement through his novels and plays as well as through his more academic works. As a young man, he also made significant contributions to Phenomenology. He was a confirmed Atheist and a committed Communist and Marxist and took a prominent role in many leftist political causes throughout his adult life.
  • Michel Foucault

    French philosopher, historian, critic and sociologist, often associated with the 20th Century Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and Post-Modernism movements (although he himself always rejected such labels). He was no stranger to controversy, and he was notorious for his radical leftist politics. Although not without his critics, he has however had a profound influence on a diverse range of disciplines.
  • Jean Baudrillard

    French sociologist and cultural theorist whose theoretical ideas of “hyperreality” and “simulacrum” influenced literary theory and philosophy, especially in the United States, and spread into popular culture. Baudrillard broke with Marxism to develop an account of postmodern society in which consumer and electronic images have become more real (hyperreal) than physical reality and in which simulations of reality (simulacra) have displaced their originals, leaving only “the desert of the real.”
  • Jacques Derrida

    Known as the founder of the Deconstructionism movement and for his profound impact on Continental Philosophy and literary theory in general. He deliberately distanced himself from the other philosophical movements on the French intellectual scene and denied that Deconstructionism was a method or school or doctrine of philosophy of any sort. He was a prolific author and became one of the most well-known philosophers of contemporary times. His work was always highly cerebral and "difficult".