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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.

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List of the most influential people in Philosophy, for the years 2000 – 2020

Daniel Dennett
# 1
Daniel Dennett

1942 - Present (79 years)

#171 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.

David Chalmers
# 2
David Chalmers

1966 - Present (55 years)

#1702 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...

Martha Nussbaum
# 3
Martha Nussbaum

1947 - Present (74 years)

#860 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.

Jürgen Habermas
# 4
Jürgen Habermas

1929 - Present (92 years)

#106 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.

# 5
Kevin Carson

1963 - Present (58 years)

#6921 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.

Sally Haslanger
# 6
Sally Haslanger

1950 - Present (71 years)

#18348 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.

Jacques Derrida
# 7
Jacques Derrida

1930 - 2004 (74 years)

#101 person's overall influence

Jacques Derrida was an Algerian-born French philosopher best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as deconstruction, which he discussed in numerous texts, and developed in the context of phenomenology. He is one of the major figures associated with post-structuralism and postmodern philosophy.

Richard Dawkins
# 8
Richard Dawkins

1941 - Present (80 years)

#12 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.

Noam Chomsky
# 9
Noam Chomsky

1928 - Present (93 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.

Hilary Putnam
# 10
Hilary Putnam

1926 - 2016 (90 years)

#708 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
# 11
John Searle

1932 - Present (89 years)

#646 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.

Saul Kripke
# 12
Saul Kripke

1940 - Present (81 years)

#2705 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
# 13
Saul Newman

1972 - Present (49 years)

#14265 person's overall influence

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

Alain Badiou
# 14
Alain Badiou

1937 - Present (84 years)

#3199 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.

Jennifer Saul
# 15
Jennifer Saul

1968 - Present (53 years)

#19657 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.

Linda Martín Alcoff
# 16
Linda Martín Alcoff

1955 - Present (66 years)

#16345 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.

# 17
Martin Cohen

2015 - 2015 (0 years)

#13918 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 .

Richard Rorty
# 18
Richard Rorty

1931 - 2007 (76 years)

#530 person's overall influence

Richard McKay Rorty was an American philosopher.

Michel Onfray
# 19
Michel Onfray

1959 - Present (62 years)

#15207 person's overall influence

Michel Onfray is a French writer and philosopher. Having a hedonistic, epicurean and atheist world view, he is a highly prolific author on philosophy, having written more than 100 books. His philosophy is mainly influenced by such thinkers as Nietzsche, Epicurus, the Cynic and Cyrenaic schools, as well as French materialism.

Sam Harris
# 20
Sam Harris

1967 - Present (54 years)

#1860 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.

Roderick Long
# 21
Roderick Long

1964 - Present (57 years)

#5986 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.

Bernard Stiegler
# 22
Bernard Stiegler

1952 - 2020 (68 years)

#4504 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.

Robert Bernasconi
# 23
Robert Bernasconi

1950 - Present (71 years)

#19680 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.

Alasdair Macintyre
# 24
Alasdair Macintyre

1929 - Present (92 years)

#1090 person's overall influence

Alasdair MacIntyre is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Aristotelian Studies in Ethics and Politics (CASEP) at London Metropolitan University. He is also Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame, and Permanent Senior Distinguished Research Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. MacIntyre received his early philosophical training at the University of Manchester and the University of Oxford.

# 25
Ray Brassier

1965 - Present (56 years)

#27469 person's overall influence

Brassier is Professor of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North London in 1995. He received his master’s degree in 1997 and in 2001 his Ph.D., both from the University of Warwick.

Gary Chartier
# 26
Gary Chartier

1966 - Present (55 years)

#15022 person's overall influence

Gary Charier currently holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Law and Business Ethics at La Sierra University in Riverside, California; he is also the Associate Dean of the Zapara School of Business. Chartier received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science at La Sierra University in 1987 before earning his PhD with the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Cambridge in 1991. Chartier has also taught at universities including Loma Linda University, California Baptist University, and Brunel University.

Thomas Nagel
# 27
Thomas Nagel

1937 - Present (84 years)

#1088 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.

Michael Dummett
# 28
Michael Dummett

1925 - 2011 (86 years)

#2614 person's overall influence

Sir Michael Anthony Eardley Dummett was an English academic described as "among the most significant British philosophers of the last century and a leading campaigner for racial tolerance and equality." He was, until 1992, Wykeham Professor of Logic at the University of Oxford. He wrote on the history of analytic philosophy, notably as an interpreter of Frege, and made original contributions particularly in the philosophies of mathematics, logic, language and metaphysics. He was known for his work on truth and meaning and their implications to debates between realism and anti-realism, a term

Patricia Churchland
# 29
Patricia Churchland

1943 - Present (78 years)

#2261 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.

Charles Taylor
# 30
Charles Taylor

1931 - Present (90 years)

#1193 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.

Judith Butler
# 31
Judith Butler

1956 - Present (65 years)

#565 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.

Brian Leiter
# 32
Brian Leiter

1963 - Present (58 years)

#2142 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.

François Laruelle
# 33
François Laruelle

1937 - Present (84 years)

#47597 person's overall influence

François Laruelle is a French philosopher, formerly of the Collège international de philosophie and the University of Paris X: Nanterre. Laruelle has been publishing since the early 1970s and now has around twenty book-length titles to his name. Alumnus of the École normale supérieure, Laruelle is notable for developing a science of philosophy that he calls non-philosophy. He currently directs an international organisation dedicated to furthering the cause of non-philosophy, the Organisation Non-Philosophique Internationale.

# 34
Paul Churchland

1942 - Present (79 years)

#3517 person's overall influence

Paul Churchland is a Canadian philosopher who is Professor Emeritus at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) as well as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies of Moscow State University, Russia. Churchland graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in 1964. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964. His advisor was the famous 20th century philosopher Wilfred Sellars.

Larry Sanger
# 35
Larry Sanger

1968 - Present (53 years)

#2797 person's overall influence

Lawrence Mark Sanger is an American internet project developer and co-founder of the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia, for which he coined the name and wrote much of its original governing policy. Sanger has worked on other online educational websites such as Nupedia, Citizendium, and Everipedia.

Peter Singer
# 36
Peter Singer

1946 - Present (75 years)

#4615 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.

A.C. Grayling
# 37
A.C. Grayling

1949 - Present (72 years)

#3213 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
# 38
Jean-Luc Nancy

1940 - Present (81 years)

#4903 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

Steven Pinker
# 39
Steven Pinker

1954 - Present (67 years)

#183 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.

Bob Black
# 40
Bob Black

1951 - Present (70 years)

#15027 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.

Alvin Plantinga
# 41
Alvin Plantinga

1932 - Present (89 years)

#3672 person's overall influence

Alvin Plantinga currently holds the title of the William Harry Jellema Chair in Philosophy at Calvin University. Previously, Plantinga has taught at Wayne State University and the University of Notre Dame. Additionally, Plantinga was the president of the American Philosophical Association, Western Division from 1981 to 1982. As an undergraduate, Plantinga studied at Jamestown College, Calvin College, and Harvard University. Plantinga went on to pursue graduate studies at the University of Michigan, before transferring to Yale University in 1955 and earning his PhD there in 1958.

Francis Fukuyama
# 42
Francis Fukuyama

1952 - Present (69 years)

#1141 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.

Timothy Williamson
# 43
Timothy Williamson

1955 - Present (66 years)

#13938 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.

David Graeber
# 44
David Graeber

1961 - 2020 (59 years)

#2379 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.

Mpho Tshivhase
# 45
Mpho Tshivhase

1986 - Present (35 years)

#66019 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

Kwame Anthony Appiah
# 46
Kwame Anthony Appiah

1954 - Present (67 years)

#7253 person's overall influence

Currently holding a professor appointment at the New York University Department of Philosophy and School of Law, Kwame Anthony Appiah is an influential cultural theorist and philosopher. Appiah completed both his undergraduate studies and PhD in philosophy at Clare College, Cambridge.

Simon Blackburn
# 47
Simon Blackburn

1944 - Present (77 years)

#4957 person's overall influence

Simon Blackburn is an English academic philosopher known for his work in metaethics, where he defends quasi-realism, and in the philosophy of language; more recently, he has gained a large general audience from his efforts to popularise philosophy. He has appeared in multiple episodes of the documentary series Closer to Truth. During his long career, he has taught at Oxford University, Cambridge University, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

# 48
Eduardo Mendieta

1963 - Present (58 years)

#31042 person's overall influence

Eduardo Mendieta is a Colombian-born Professor of Philosophy at Penn State University, and acting director of the Rock Ethics Institute. Mendieta's research focuses on Ethics, Political Philosophy, Latinx philosophy, Latin American Philosophy, Critical Theory , Philosophy of Race, and Feminist Philosophy.

Harry Frankfurt kunno
# 49
Harry Frankfurt kunno

1929 - Present (92 years)

#9406 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.

John McDowell
# 50
John McDowell

1942 - Present (79 years)

#4934 person's overall influence

John Henry McDowell is a South African philosopher, formerly a Fellow of University College, Oxford and now University Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Although he has written extensively on metaphysics, epistemology, ancient philosophy, and meta-ethics, McDowell's most influential work has been in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. McDowell was one of three recipients of the 2010 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Distinguished Achievement Award, and is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the British Academy.