Top Continental philosophers of all time


Continental philosophy is the name we give to the philosophy that is mostly practiced in continental Europe, excluding the British isles. Continental philosophy, as opposed to analytical philosophy, is more literary and speculative than its more analytical and scientific counterpart. Here’s a list of the greatest continental philosophers of all time.



5. Descartes: He was a philosopher, mathematician and scientist. He is one of the founders of rationalism, with his statement: “I think, therefore I am”. He questioned whether the world outside his own head was real or just an illusion. He said that therre was no way he could prove it was real, but at least he knew that he existed because of his “cogito ergo sum” statement above.





4. Aristotle: Student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the great, Aristotle studied philosophy, biology, astronomy, mathematics, etc. He was a Platonist, until Plato’s death, when he became more of a naturalist. His work on ethics are still relevant today, and other works as well.




3. Plato: Taught by Socrates, and tutored Aristotle, Plato is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He is most remembered for the questions he asked, rather than the answer he gave to those questions. Sometimes, asking a question  is more important than finding an answer.




2. Kant: An important figure in German idealism, and in the enlightenment age, Kant wondered how our ideas could conform with the real world. Inspired by Descartes and Hume, he went on to write three critiques: The critique of pure reason, the critique of practical reason, and the critique of the faculty of judging. He said that metaphysics was in a crisis and that they should stop until that crisis was done. In fact, Kant may have contributed to the end of metaphysics.



1. Hegel: At the apex of German Idealism was Hegel. Just as Aristotle was in disagreement with Plato, so does Hegel with Kant. Hegel thought that Kant’s conception of subject and object was incomplete, and so he developed “absolute idealism”, in which he overcame the dialectic between subject and object.


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14 thoughts on “Top Continental philosophers of all time

  1. Pingback: Polymath
  2. There is only one world. What Kant means by two worlds is that there are two ways to see the world. There is the “objective noumenal world, that we cant perceive, while there is the “subjective” world called the phenomenal world. We cant see the noumenal world because we only see the outside world with our senses that “corrupt” the thing in of itself. So basically, there is only one world.

    I hope I helped with your question! Don’t be afraid to ask more or to tell me if my explanations were not clear. Keep thinking my friend!


  3. I think they do exist. But its still a good ontological debate, to know whether the world outside really exists. But Kant doesn’t go that far, because he says that knowledge wouldn’t be possible without the outside world. He says: “Thoughts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind.”. That means that without intuitions (our senses) we wouldn’t have any concepts. So the world has to be real if we want to have concepts.


  4. I dont think therre is any contradiction with what i’ve said. If there is one, can you point it out?

    As for what I think, I’m not really sure yet. It’s a complicated subject, and I dont think anyone has answered that question yet 😛


    1. Why I am asking these questions is that I really want to understand clearly this question of one or two worlds existing which for any philosopher or even just any seriously thinking person including a physicist should be a most fundamental question.

      You wrote,”There is only one world.”
      You also wrote, “There is the “objective noumenal world, that we cant perceive, while there is the “subjective” world called the phenomenal world.”

      Then in later post you wrote in reply to my question ,”So, do you think that nature meaning mountains, trees, stars and planet Earth etc. exist or not?
      “I think they do exist.”

      So you are saying that nature, i.e. the phenomenal world also exists. That makes two worlds existing, i.e. the noumenal world and the phenomena world. Or are you saying that only phenomenal world,i.e. nature exists and the noumenal world does not exist?


  5. I understand your question now.

    Here is what Kant thinks: There is only one physical world. But there are two ways to think about this world. First, the noumenal world, witch is objective. We cant see this world, because all we see is perceived trough our senses. It’s like the original world, before it was polluted by our senses. Our senses often perceive illusions (for example, optical illusions). That is why us humans can only see the phenomenal world. Because all we perceive is a phenomenon, and not the thing in itself. As you can see, Kant says that there is only one world, but the way we see it, and the way it really is, is different. All this means is that because of our subjectivity, we don’t see the world as it really is. Because we only perceive trough our imperfect senses, it is impossible for us to perceive the way the world actually is.

    I guess if you consider that what we see in the world, and what really is there is different (noumenal and phenomenal), you could say that there are two worlds. The outside world, and the world inside your head. But besides that, there is only one physical world.


  6. Thanks. But as I wrote previously, I want to know what you yourself think about this matter and not what Kant thought. The reason is that I can question you but I can not question Kant because he is not here to answer my questions. So please tell me what you think so that I can try to poke holes in your answer and in this way both of us may learn something new about this extremely important question and that will be a gainful activity for both of us. Do not worry about making mistakes, I am not expecting you to be perfect.

    Truth springs from argument among friends!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry for the long waiting for the answer.

    To tell you the truth, I don’t think I have an opinion on this yet. I’m taking a Hegel class right now, and he has some good points about this. He basically says that Kant was wrong about having a difference between the object and the subject. According to Hegel, the subject and the object would be intertwined. But for now, i’m not comfortable discussing Hegel, as I haven’t seen the basics.

    I’m sorry I cant discuss my opinion, because I haven’t made up my mind on the subject.


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