Philosophers are an essential part of history as they are great thinkers of their time. Over the years, they have played an important role in the enlightenment of people across the world. If we talk about French philosophers, they are full of wisdom and prove to be eminent in their ways of thinking. Anyone looking to diversify their knowledge in history and philosophers of France should know the role they played in the revolution.

French philosophy is full of eighteenth-century phenomenology. The French continental philosophy era has given the most famous philosophers, like Jean-Paul, Michel, Jacques, and more. These show the work of European philosophy in new and old light with export citation to various life lessons. Besides, French philosophy is one of the most famous subjects that students study across the world. In this article, we’ll glance at century philosophy and list of French philosophers.

Face Statues of philosophers, Source: Pixabay

As you know the importance of French philosophy into human society, they also played a massive role in the french revolution. In the eighteenth century and the following centuries, these philosophers inspired the people with new revolutionary thoughts, their study over human emotions and thought patterns. Moreover, their thought structure was not to believe in the doctrine of divine and right of the monarch in life.

The philosopher, John Locke, refuted the doctrine and expressed these intellectual thoughts against the government philosophically. Rousseau was another great thinker who gave the idea to establish social contracts between representatives and people. This role of philosophers in the French revolution brought peace to human life at that time in the century. Their books helped to ease down the political tensions over the centuries in France and other European regions. Learn about French culture here!

These philosophers of the French Revolution gave new laws and new power to the people within government, executive, legislative, and judiciary. They contributed to the ways that helped in bringing the French revolution with access to books and newspapers. Even if they were not considered at that time, they proved to be the most influential thinkers of continental philosophy from France.

List of French Philosophers: The Great Thinkers

French Philosophy in Middle Ages: Peter Abelard

Born in 1079, Petrus Abelaerdus was an 11th-century theologian. He had an encouraging father who helped him study and follow his philosophy of passions. After studying, he became a lecturer on dialectic, which was based on the logical theory philosophy of Aristotle. 

Books one philosophy, Source: Pixabay

Abelard's focus was on the idea of realism and independence of perfection. He became a master of Notre Dame and canon of sense in 1115 after studying theology. However, his theological career was gravely affected as he had a romantic relationship with one of the canons’ daughter. Even their love letters have a philosophy in them and are one of the great love tokens of human history.

One of Abelard’s great works is Ethica or Ethics in English to differentiate between intent and action. He wrote in different languages like Latin, French, and other language dialects.

Michel de Montaigne: French Philosophy of the Renaissance

Born in a rich family, Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, was an influential human at the French court. He was known for his mediation skills and scholar notes. At 38, he went into isolation in a tower room in Château de Montaigne. After this, he finished his study on Essais.

These essays influenced great minds in the following centuries all over France and Europe. His essays were based on entomology, child psychology, politics, and religious education. He gave all these intellectual thoughts before Freud’s theory.

The French Philosopher of the Enlightenment of the 18th century

René Descartes: One of the greatest Eminent Intellectuals

René Descartes was born in 1596 who spent years of his life in the Dutch Republic. His writings had a great impact on a young Baruch Spinoza. As a true polymath, he was the founding father of Western philosophy and mathematics.

He gave the most famous phrase of “Cogito ergo sum” - I think therefore I am. This influences the indubitable reality. Besides, his writings involved theory of Cartesian dualism and that mind and body are independent of each other. This moral philosophy was an ethical branch of science. Descartes also gave views on breaking with tradition, extolling instead of critical thinking, and reasoning.

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Jean Jacques 

Rousseau was born in 1712 in Geneva and spent his active years in France. He was a part of the Jacobin club that was in effect during the French Revolution. Jacques influenced Robespierre and Saint with his new philosophy. His impact was also there in making Deism as France’s official religion.

Rousseau was a firm believer that the human’s natural state was not immoral. His views focused on the ideal state of humanity in primate society. In the eighteenth century, his thoughts were criticised for its bleeding into politics and philosophy. One other great theory of Jean theory was to educate through consequence instead of punishment.

The Age of Science and Industrialism

French Philosopher Henri Poincaré

Henri was born in Nancy in 1854 and is famous for his mathematical expressions. His initial job was as a civil mining engineer along with teaching mathematics in Sorbonne. His views were deterministic, but he was creative enough to see the two stages of the universe. One of his random thoughts was accompanied by another critical evaluation. 

So, he was an amalgam of realist and anti-realist. This was the birth of modern philosophy with contradicting thoughts and made Henri one of the most influential French philosophers of his century.

Simone de Beauvoir

Simon de Beauvoir was the first philosopher to establish a distinction between sex and gender. She was famous for her relationship with Sartre. Although she considered herself to be a writer, her theory is influential to today's philosophy. Her views also helped in feminist existentialism and social theories.

Ancient painting of philosophers, Source: Pixabay

Therefore, these ideas were important at that time with a change in how society views women and how they think or act. This was necessary to bring changes in morality for an equal gender shift.

Claude Lévi-Strauss

Claude Lévi-Strauss was a social philosopher of the nineteenth century. His approach involved an anthropological view with respect to ethnology and sociology. In his early career days, he studied law and philosophy. His work was to work on understanding the difference between savage and civilised, which was not much for humans according to him.

Moreover, his theory of structuralism and functionalism were complex systems, including the essence for stability via politics and social etiquette. His work was beyond societal and fundamental aspects in search of human thought patterns.

Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Merleau-Ponty was a part of the phenomenology school of philosophical thought as he was influenced by Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl. This was about human experience and consciousness. His thoughts were not limited to existential phenomenology and saw some flaws in the theory.

Although these thoughts fit well into the structural moulds of that time, besides, he studied French language and its learning, social anthropology, and psychoanalysis. His work also revolved around art and science and their relativity to consciousness.

Modern French Philosophy

French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre

Novelist Sartre is famous for his relationship with Simone de Beauvoir and his work in new time philosophy. He was an existentialist and phenomenologist whose ideas influenced humanities, sociology, and literature. His views concluded the relationship between self-delusion and expression of the human condition.

These thoughts still resonate with a lot, even in today's times. Moreover, his views allow the philosophy of common good rather than imposed power.

Michel Foucault: French Philosopher

Michel Foucault gave the theory of knowledge and power. His thoughts changed power as something imposing and negative, instead of interactive and re-defining. This concluded that mental illness is linked to alienation and the argument of madness in the normal state is irrelevant.

Moreover, his studies involved the perception of illness and human thoughts around history and constructs. The study of these philosophies from a well-known philosopher is a way to increase your knowledge about France, Paris, and other European regions.

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Study Online

You may choose to study online from experienced teachers. Superprof is one such website that offers courses in the French language. Moreover, if you are looking for a professional degree, consider getting one from institutes such as Delhi University or Manipal University as they have a dedicated Department of Languages.

Your immense intellectual thoughts will benefit from online classes to learn languages and pursue new courses. These are great career enhancers as they help in establishing a sense of confidence with knowledge. You may choose to read the philosophical views of these famous philosophies in French or English translations. How to get the France nationality!

As philosophy is a true intermediate study between art and science, your perception towards life will change. Besides, you will become more welcoming to life and understand its intricacies.

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