Search People Result

Who are the most influential people in world?

Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!

Note: These rankings dynamically change as our AI learns new things and new publications and citations are made. Academics are actively researching and publishing new insights, leaving our measure of more recent influence subject to continual adjustments. While we delay real-time changes for quality assurance reasons, be not surprised as you see our rankings change over time.

Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …

Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

About our data on gender

List of the most influential people in Philosophy, for the years 2010 – 2020

Sally Haslanger
# 1
Sally Haslanger

1950 - Present (70 years)

#18352 person's overall influence

Sally Haslanger, currently appointed the Ford Professor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), completed her undergraduate education at Reed College in 1977, and earned her PhD in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley in 1985. Currently the most influential person in philosophy, Haslanger has previously held appointments in the Ivy league, at Princeton University and at the University of Pennsylvania.

# 2
Martin Cohen

2015 - 2015 (0 years)

#13928 person's overall influence

Martin Cohen is a British philosopher, an editor and reviewer who writes on philosophy, philosophy of science and political philosophy. He is currently Visiting Research Fellow in Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire .

Daniel Dennett
# 3
Daniel Dennett

1942 - Present (78 years)

#175 person's overall influence

Currently appointed as the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University (and co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies) Daniel Dennett is a philosopher concerned with questions of the mind and cognitive science, and is colloquially known as one of the “Four Horsemen of New Atheism.” As an undergraduate, Dennett studied at Wesleyan University and Harvard University before earning his PhD in philosophy at Oxford University in 1965.

Linda Martín Alcoff
# 4
Linda Martín Alcoff

1955 - Present (65 years)

#16328 person's overall influence

Panama-born Linda Martin Alcoff is currently appointed as a professor of philosophy at Hunter College of the City University of New York. Alcoff earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1980 at Georgia State University, as well as her MA in 1983, and in 1987 earned her PhD in philosophy at Brown University. In her career, Alcoff has also held positions at Kalamazoo College, Syracuse University, Cornell University, and Brown University, among others.

Martha Nussbaum
# 5
Martha Nussbaum

1947 - Present (73 years)

#864 person's overall influence

Currently, Martha Nussbaum holds the position of Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. Too influential to be confined to one department, Nussbaum is appointed to the faculty of both the philosophy department and the law school. As an undergraduate, Nussbaum spent two years at Wellesley College, before deciding to pursue theatre studies at New York University. After, Nussbaum completed her graduate studies and PhD at Harvard University.

David Chalmers
# 6
David Chalmers

1966 - Present (54 years)

#1715 person's overall influence

David Chalmers serves currently as Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Centre for Consciousness at the Australian National University, as well as University Professor, Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science, and co-Director of the Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness (with philosopher Ned Block) at New York University. One of the world’s most influential philosophers on the problem of consciousness, Chalmers has a degree in pure mathematics from the University of Adelaide in Australia, and received his Ph.D. in philosophy and cognitive science from Indiana University Bloomingt...

Jennifer Saul
# 7
Jennifer Saul

1968 - Present (52 years)

#19635 person's overall influence

Jennifer Saul is currently Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sheffield and the University of Waterloo in the UK, specializing in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of feminism. Saul received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and her master’s degree and Ph.D. from Princeton University.

Noam Chomsky
# 8
Noam Chomsky

1928 - Present (92 years)

#40 person's overall influence

Noam Chomsky currently holds joint appointments at MIT as Institute Professor Emeritus, and the University of Arizona as Laureate Professor. Chomsky completed his university studies between the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.

Mpho Tshivhase
# 9
Mpho Tshivhase

1986 - Present (34 years)

#66005 person's overall influence

Mpho Tshivhase is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Preoria, South Africa. She studied psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Johannesburg, and later received her master’s and Ph.D. in Philosophy at Johannesburg. Her dissertation, “Towards a Normative Theory of Uniqueness of Persons” drew from her earlier work on personal identity. In 2018, Tshivhase became the first black female to receive a Ph.D. in Philosophy in South Africa, and was celebrated in media publications like the Independent Online, a popular online news site in South Africa. In 2020, Tshivhase was awar

Richard Dawkins
# 10
Richard Dawkins

1941 - Present (79 years)

#13 person's overall influence

Richard Dawkins is an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford and former University of Oxford’s Professor for Public Understanding of Science, but he is best known for his work in evolutionary biology. He studied zoology at Balliol College, Oxford, earning a bachelor’s degree, M.A., and Ph.D.

Jürgen Habermas
# 11
Jürgen Habermas

1929 - Present (91 years)

#107 person's overall influence

Jürgen Habermas is a German philosopher mostly associated with the influential Frankurt School in Germany, part of the Institute for Social Research, at Goethe University Frankfurt, and historically an important center for research on social theory and critical philosophy. Habermas, now 90, earned his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Bonn in 1954. Habermas is a famed philosopher who has taught a number of influential philosophers, including Hans Joas at the University of Chicago.

Sam Harris
# 12
Sam Harris

1967 - Present (53 years)

#1863 person's overall influence

Samuel Benjamin Harris is an American author, philosopher, neuroscientist, and podcast host. His work touches on a wide range of topics, including rationality, religion, ethics, free will, neuroscience, meditation, psychedelics, philosophy of mind, politics, terrorism, and artificial intelligence. Harris came to prominence for his criticism of religion, and Islam in particular, and is described as one of the "Four Horsemen of Atheism", along with Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett.

Robert Bernasconi
# 13
Robert Bernasconi

1950 - Present (70 years)

#19685 person's overall influence

Robert Bernasconi is the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from the School of English and American Studies and a D.Phil at Sussex University. His areas of specialization include critical philosophy of race, social and political philosophy, ethics, and nineteenth and twentieth century continental philosophy.

Hilary Putnam
# 14
Hilary Putnam

1926 - 2016 (90 years)

#722 person's overall influence

Hilary Whitehall Putnam was an American philosopher, mathematician, and computer scientist, and a major figure in analytic philosophy in the second half of the 20th century. He made significant contributions to philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science. Outside philosophy, Putnam contributed to mathematics and computer science. Together with Martin Davis he developed the Davis–Putnam algorithm for the Boolean satisfiability problem and he helped demonstrate the unsolvability of Hilbert's tenth problem.

John Searle
# 15
John Searle

1932 - Present (88 years)

#648 person's overall influence

John Rogers Searle is an American philosopher. He was Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Mind and Language and Professor of the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley. Widely noted for his contributions to the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and social philosophy, he began teaching at UC Berkeley in 1959.

George Yancy
# 16
George Yancy

1961 - Present (59 years)

#27887 person's overall influence

George Dewey Yancy is the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Philosophy at Emory University. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. in philosophy from Yale University, an M.A. in Africana Studies, and a Ph.D. from Duquesne University. He is a distinguished Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College, a University of Pennsylvania Inaugural Provost’s Distinguished Visiting Faculty Fellow, and the founding editor of the Philosophy of Race book series.

David Graeber
# 17
David Graeber

1961 - 2020 (59 years)

#2367 person's overall influence

David Graeber is a professor of anthropology at the London School of Economics. He earned his B.A. from the State University of New York at Purchase and his MA. And Ph.D from University of Chicago. From there, he spent twenty months conducting research in Madagascar on a Fulbright fellowship.

Joseph Raz
# 18
Joseph Raz

1939 - Present (81 years)

#1796 person's overall influence

Joseph Raz is Columbia Law School’s Thomas M. Macioce Professor of Law Emeritus and a leading expert in moral, legal, and political philosophical thought. He earned a D. Phil from Oxford University and a Magister Juris from Hebrew University.

Alasdair Cochrane
# 19
Alasdair Cochrane

1978 - Present (42 years)

#22082 person's overall influence

Alasdair Cochrane is a British political theorist and ethicist who is currently a senior lecturer in political theory in the Department of Politics at the University of Sheffield. He is known for his work on animal rights from the perspective of political theory, which is the subject of his two books: An Introduction to Animals and Political Theory and Animal Rights Without Liberation . His third book, Sentientist Politics, was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. He is a founding member of the Centre for Animals and Social Justice, a UK-based think tank focused on furthering the so

Bernard Stiegler
# 20
Bernard Stiegler

1952 - 2020 (68 years)

#4478 person's overall influence

Bernard Stiegler was a French philosopher. He was head of the Institut de recherche et d'innovation , which he founded in 2006 at the Centre Georges-Pompidou. He was also the founder in 2005 of the political and cultural group, Ars Industrialis, and the founder in 2010 of the philosophy school, pharmakon.fr, held at Épineuil-le-Fleuriel. His best known work is Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus.

Charles Taylor
# 21
Charles Taylor

1931 - Present (89 years)

#1197 person's overall influence

Charles Taylor is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at McGill University, Canada. He is known best for his contributions to political philosophy, the philosophy of social science, and the philosophy of history and intellectual history. Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in History from McGill in 1953. As a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, Taylor took a first-class bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and a Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) from Oxford in 1961. Notably, his supervisor was Isaiah Berlin, the renowned British social and political theorist.

Brian Leiter
# 22
Brian Leiter

1963 - Present (57 years)

#2131 person's overall influence

Brian Leiter is the Karl N. Llewellyn Professor of Jurisprudence for The University of Chicago Law School and Founder and Director of the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago. He earned an AB in philosophy from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Alain Badiou
# 23
Alain Badiou

1937 - Present (83 years)

#3217 person's overall influence

Alain Badiou is formerly chair of Philosophy at the École normale supérieure (ENS), and is a founder of the faculty of Philosophy of the Université de Paris VIII along with French philosophy luminaries Michel Foucault and Jean-François Lyotard. Badiou though associated with postmodern thinkers like Foucault maintains that his thought and work cannot be described adequately by postmodernism, though it is not also purely modern. He is a prominent advocate of a return to communism as a form of government.

A.C. Grayling
# 24
A.C. Grayling

1949 - Present (71 years)

#3218 person's overall influence

A.C. Grayling is Master of New College of the Humanities. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from both the University of London and the University of Sussex. He went on to earn an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Sussex as well. He completed his D.Phil at the University of Oxford five years later.

Jean-Luc Nancy
# 25
Jean-Luc Nancy

1940 - Present (80 years)

#4905 person's overall influence

Jean-Luc Nancy is a French philosopher. Nancy's first book, published in 1973, was Le titre de la lettre , a reading of the work of French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, written in collaboration with Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe. Nancy is the author of works on many thinkers, including La remarque spéculative in 1973 on Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Le Discours de la syncope and L'Impératif catégorique on Immanuel Kant, Ego sum on René Descartes, and Le Partage des voix on Martin Heidegger. In addition to Le titre de la lettre, Nancy collaborated with Lacoue-Labarthe on several other books an

Charles W. Mills
# 26
Charles W. Mills

1951 - Present (69 years)

#19526 person's overall influence

Charles Mills is a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at The Graduate Center City University of New York, as well as a critically acclaimed philosopher on race. He earned his B.Sc. in physics from the University of the West Indies and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

Patricia Churchland
# 27
Patricia Churchland

1943 - Present (77 years)

#2289 person's overall influence

Patricia Churchland is UC President’s Professor of Philosophy Emerita at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She is also an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Churchland has made important contributions to the philosophy of mind and philosophical topics in neurobiology. She received her undergraduate education from the University of British Columbia, Canada. She received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to study at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her master’s degree. She received a B.Phil. at the University of Oxford in 1969.

Thomas Nagel
# 28
Thomas Nagel

1937 - Present (83 years)

#1096 person's overall influence

Currently holding the title of University Professor of Philosophy and Law, Emeritus at New York University, Thomas Nagel previously held positions at the University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University, among others. Nagel earned a BA in philosophy from Cornell University in 1958, a BPhil in 1960 at the University of Oxford (as a Fulbright scholar, and studying under JL Austin, no less), and his PhD from Harvard University in 1963.

Anita L. Allen
# 29
Anita L. Allen

1953 - Present (67 years)

#23337 person's overall influence

Anita L. Allen current holds the titles of the Henry R. Silverman Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and is Vice Provost of Faculty. Within the university, Allen has also worked with the bioethics department, the Africana Studies program, and the gender, sexuality, and women’s studies program. Outside of the University of Pennsylvania, Allen has also taught at places including Georgetown University, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Tel Aviv University. Allen received her BA from the New College of Florid...

Peter Singer
# 30
Peter Singer

1946 - Present (74 years)

#4586 person's overall influence

Peter Singer is a well-known Australian moral philosopher, Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne, and Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. He studied at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford.

Simon Schaffer
# 31
Simon Schaffer

1955 - Present (65 years)

#21576 person's overall influence

Simon Schaffer is a professor of history and philosophy of science at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge. He has studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he earned his B.A., and later, a Ph.D. He studied at Harvard University as a Kennedy Scholar for one year.

Judith Butler
# 32
Judith Butler

1956 - Present (64 years)

#568 person's overall influence

Judith Butler is the Maxine Ellio Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature and the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley. Butler earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy at Yale University in 1978, and her PhD at Yale in 1984. In addition to UC Berkeley, Butler has taught at Wesleyan University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, and the University of Amsterdam.

Steven Pinker
# 33
Steven Pinker

1954 - Present (66 years)

#186 person's overall influence

Cognitive scientist, linguist, and author, Steven Pinker currently holds the title of Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Previously, Pinker taught at Stanford University at MIT. Pinker earned his bachelor’s in psychology from McGill University in 1976, and his Ph.D. in experimental psychology in 1979 at Harvard.

# 34
Kevin Carson

1963 - Present (57 years)

#6834 person's overall influence

Kevin Carson is an American social theorist, self-proclaimed economist and anarchist who has identified at various times as a mutualist, individualist anarchist, left-wing market anarchist and anarchist without adjectives. He works as a Senior Fellow and Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory at the Center for a Stateless Society. Carson's Studies in Mutualist Political Economy aims to revive interest in mutualism in an effort to synthesize Austrian School economics with the labor theory of value by attempting to incorporate both subjectivism and time preference.

Simon Critchley
# 35
Simon Critchley

1960 - Present (60 years)

#43888 person's overall influence

Simon Critchley is the Hans Jonas Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research, a board member for the Onassis Foundation, and a professor of philosophy at the European Graduate School. He earned his M.Phil at the University of Nice, and his Ph.D. at the University of Essex.

John Cottingham
# 36
John Cottingham

1943 - Present (77 years)

#22937 person's overall influence

John Cottingham is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Reading University, Professorial Research Fellow at Heythrop College, London, and an Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. He studied at Merchant Taylor’s School and St. John’s College, Oxford.

Vojin Rakić
# 37
Vojin Rakić

1967 - Present (53 years)

#52416 person's overall influence

Vojin B. Rakic is a philosopher and political scientist. He publishes in English, but also in Serbian. He has a PhD in political science from Rutgers University in the United States. His publications on bioethics , Kant, and cosmopolitan justice are considered as influential writings in the international academic arena.

Tina Fernandes Botts
# 38
Tina Fernandes Botts
#67504 person's overall influence

Tina Fernandes Botts is an American assistant professor of philosophy at California State University, Fresno. She is known for her work in legal hermeneutics, intersectionality, feminist philosophy, and philosophy of race . She is the former chair of the American Philosophical Association's Committee on the Status of Black Philosophers .

Saul Kripke
# 39
Saul Kripke

1940 - Present (80 years)

#2735 person's overall influence

Saul Kripke currently boasts the title of Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Unlike other philosophers on this list (and other notable academics in general) Kripke holds only a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, earned in 1962 at Harvard University. It is worth noting, however, that during his undergraduate studies Kripke taught a graduate-level logic course at MIT. He also holds numerous honorary degrees. Kripke has also taught at Harvard University, Rockefeller University, and Princeton University.

Saul Newman
# 40
Saul Newman

1972 - Present (48 years)

#14172 person's overall influence

Saul Newman is a British political theorist and central post-anarchist thinker.

Bob Black
# 41
Bob Black

1951 - Present (69 years)

#14955 person's overall influence

Robert Charles Black Jr. is an American author and anarchist. He is the author of the books The Abolition of Work and Other Essays, Beneath the Underground, Friendly Fire, Anarchy After Leftism, and Defacing the Currency, and numerous political essays.

Roderick Long
# 42
Roderick Long

1964 - Present (56 years)

#5950 person's overall influence

Currently holding the title of Professor of Philosophy at Auburn University, Roderick Long is known for his work in left-libertarianism. Long earned a BA in philosophy at Harvard University in 1985 and a PhD in 1992. Long has also taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Michigan, and the Institute for Humane Studies. Outside of teaching, Long is an editor with the Journal of Libertarian Studies and president of the Molinari Institute and Molinari Society.

Tom Regan
# 43
Tom Regan

1938 - 2017 (79 years)

#7549 person's overall influence

Tom Regan was an American philosopher who specialized in animal rights theory. He was professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University, where he had taught from 1967 until his retirement in 2001.

Francis Fukuyama
# 44
Francis Fukuyama

1952 - Present (68 years)

#1143 person's overall influence

Francis Fukuyama is director of Stanford University’s Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy and Mosbacher Director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, as well as a senior fellow for the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Fukuyama earned a B.A. in classics from Cornell University and a Ph.D in political science from Harvard University. He has been involved with the Telluride Association, a high school outreach program, since he was an undergrad at Cornell University.

# 45
Sally Scholz

1968 - Present (52 years)

#69719 person's overall influence

Sally J. Scholz is an American Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University and former editor of Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy. Her research focuses on social philosophy, political philosophy, and feminist theory. Her early work involves issues of violence against women, oppression and peacemaking, and then progresses to ethics of advocacy and violence against women in conflict settings, including war rape and just war theory. Her recent research involves these issues in addition to solidarity. She has published four single-author books and edited three academic journals, among...

Timothy Williamson
# 46
Timothy Williamson

1955 - Present (65 years)

#13976 person's overall influence

Swedish-born British philosopher Timothy Williamson currently holds the title of the Wykeham Professor of Logic at the University of Oxford, and is a fellow of the New College at Oxford. Williamson has also taught at places including Trinity College Dublin, the University of Edinburgh, the Australian National University, the University of Canterbury, and the University of Michigan. Williamson completed his BA in mathematics and philosophy at Oxford in 1976, and his PhD in 1981.

Mary Midgley
# 47
Mary Midgley

1919 - 2018 (99 years)

#2941 person's overall influence

Mary Beatrice Midgley was a British philosopher. A senior lecturer in philosophy at Newcastle University, she was known for her work on science, ethics and animal rights. She wrote her first book, Beast And Man , when she was in her fifties, and went on to write over 15 more, including Animals and Why They Matter , Wickedness , The Ethical Primate , Evolution as a Religion , and Science as Salvation . She was awarded honorary doctorates by Durham and Newcastle universities. Her autobiography, The Owl of Minerva, was published in 2005.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
# 48
Nassim Nicholas Taleb

1960 - Present (60 years)

#2786 person's overall influence

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, mathematical statistician, and former option trader and risk analyst, whose work concerns problems of randomness, probability, and uncertainty. His 2007 book The Black Swan has been described by The Sunday Times as one of the twelve most influential books since World War II.

Harry Frankfurt kunno
# 49
Harry Frankfurt kunno

1929 - Present (91 years)

#9388 person's overall influence

Harry Gordon Frankfurt is an American philosopher. He is professor emeritus of philosophy at Princeton University, where he taught from 1990 until 2002, and previously taught at Yale University, Rockefeller University, and Ohio State University.

# 50
David Gauthier

1932 - Present (88 years)

#27560 person's overall influence

David Gauthier is a Canadian-American philosopher best known for his neo-Hobbesian social contract theory of morality, as developed in his 1986 book Morals by Agreement.