Contemporary Philosophers

From Classical to contemporary philosophy

Students often think that philosophy ends to Descartes. Some teachers and faculty launched the following joke: “A good philosopher is a dead philosopher !”

Nope ! contemporary philosophy is more alive than ever: the twentieth century is a great century for philosophy. Many thinkers have challenged the tradition of announcing new thinking, especially phenomenology and analytic philosophy. However, it is clear that the center of gravity has shifted: the great contemporary philosophers are English, or almost all Americans, while at the seventeenth, they were almost all French and German.

We propose a list of living philosophers (at the end of 2012):

Amartya Sen: Indian Economist, his major work is Equality of What in which he bases his economic theory on a new conception of subjectivity around the concept of capability.

Peter Sloterdijk: German thinker close to Nietzsche and Heidegger. Sloterdijk is a philosophy of science and morality to the extent he thinks self-taming of man by science.

Peter Singer: Australian Philosopher, he founded a new philosophy based on the rights of animals (Animal Liberation). He advocates a moral equality between men and animals insofar as they may suffer. This implies vegetarianism.

Michael Dummett: English Philosopher. Figure of analytic philosophy. His Dialogue with Frege and Wittgenstein have influenced the philosophy of language.

Jürgen Habermas: Habermas is arguably the greatest living philosopher. Habermas contributed on ethical issues (cloning / eugenics) public space (principle of publicity) or the European construction.

Axel Honneth: German sociologist, his theory of recognition is in fact a manifesto for a political philosophy practice.

René Girard: French philosopher, the decisive contribution lies in Girard’s theory of desire, which structure human life through mimicry and triangularités “Every desire is the desire of imitation of another.” Girard is a critique of Freud as Levi-Strauss.

Jacques Bouveresse: French philosopher inspired by the analytic tradition. He shows to defend the tradition of the Enlightenment against the french theory (Deleuze, Foucault or Derrida) and works to explain Wittgenstein’s thought.

Hilary Putnam: Putnam is the great figure of the American philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science. His theory of the brain in a jar remain famous

Ruwen Ogien: moral philosopher. He advocates a minimalist morality that summarizes in one sentence: “Do not harm others, nothing more.” Nothing too new a priori, but this has resulted, for example, allow the use of drugs.

Slavoj Žižek: Slovenian Philosopher  Zizek is working on identity and political ontologies.

This list of contemporary philosophers can not be exhaustive, but it tended to show the vibrancy of philosophy today.

Cite this article as: Tim, "Contemporary Philosophers, February 23, 2013, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, February 23, 2013,

Leave a Reply