We may have lost some of our more philosophy-literate members. But I still think we can do a good job here, especially if we keep two things in mind: (1) we’re talking most influential philosophers, not the “best” or most famous or “the ones with the most elaborate philosophical system;” and (2) we can define philosopher however we want.
Here are a few “most influential philosophers” lists I found on the internet. I can’t vouch for the authors, but at least this gets us thinking in the right direction.
- A list of the 100 most influential philosophers of the last 200 years. This is interesting. It’s from a blog run by a philosopher and law professor at the University of Chicago who used to teach at UCSD. The rankings are based on 600 votes by blog readers, who tend to be academic philosophy types, I think.
- The 90 most influential, from another guy. Notice the broader way of defining philosopher, leading to the inclusion of Jesus Christ, St. Augustine, and Jung.
- A much shorter chronological list with very brief descriptions.
You can look up any of the names you see on this site, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.