The Most Famous

PHILOSOPHERS from Russia

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This page contains a list of the greatest Russian Philosophers. The pantheon dataset contains 1,267 Philosophers, 27 of which were born in Russia. This makes Russia the birth place of the 12th most number of Philosophers behind Spain, and Poland.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Russian Philosophers of all time. This list of famous Russian Philosophers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Russian Philosophers.

Photo of Immanuel Kant

1. Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804)

With an HPI of 89.68, Immanuel Kant is the most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 171 different languages on wikipedia.

Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher and one of the central Enlightenment thinkers. Born in Königsberg, Kant's comprehensive and systematic works in epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics have made him one of the most influential and controversial figures in modern Western philosophy, being called the "father of modern ethics", the "father of modern aesthetics", and for bringing together rationalism and empiricism earned the title of "father of modern philosophy". In his doctrine of transcendental idealism, Kant argued that space and time are mere "forms of intuition" that structure all experience and that the objects of experience are mere "appearances". The nature of things as they are in themselves is unknowable to us. In an attempt to counter the philosophical doctrine of skepticism, he wrote the Critique of Pure Reason (1781/1787), his best-known work. Kant drew a parallel to the Copernican revolution in his proposal to think of the objects of experience as conforming to our spatial and temporal forms of intuition and the categories of our understanding, so that we have a priori cognition of those objects. These claims have proved especially influential in the social sciences, particularly sociology and anthropology, which regard human activities as pre-oriented by cultural norms. Kant believed that reason is the source of morality, and that aesthetics arises from a faculty of disinterested judgment. Kant's religious views were deeply connected to his moral theory. Their exact nature remains in dispute. He hoped that perpetual peace could be secured through an international federation of republican states and international cooperation. His cosmopolitan reputation is called into question by his promulgation of scientific racism for much of his career, although he altered his views on the subject in the last decade of his life.

Photo of Mikhail Bakunin

2. Mikhail Bakunin (1814 - 1876)

With an HPI of 78.09, Mikhail Bakunin is the 2nd most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 92 different languages.

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin ( bə-KOO-nin; 30 May 1814 – 1 July 1876) was a Russian revolutionary anarchist. He is among the most influential figures of anarchism and a major figure in the revolutionary socialist, social anarchist, and collectivist anarchist traditions. Bakunin's prestige as a revolutionary also made him one of the most famous ideologues in Europe, gaining substantial influence among radicals throughout Russia and Europe. Bakunin grew up in Pryamukhino, a family estate in Tver Governorate. From 1840, he studied in Moscow, then in Berlin hoping to enter academia. Later in Paris, he met Karl Marx and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who deeply influenced him. Bakunin's increasing radicalism ended hopes of a professorial career. He was expelled from France for opposing the Russian Empire's occupation of Poland. After participating in the 1848 Prague and 1849 Dresden uprisings, Bakunin was imprisoned, tried, sentenced to death, and extradited multiple times. Finally exiled to Siberia in 1857, he escaped via Japan to the United States and then to London, where he worked with Alexander Herzen on the journal Kolokol (The Bell). In 1863, Bakunin left to join the insurrection in Poland, but he failed to reach it and instead spent time in Switzerland and Italy. In 1868, Bakunin joined the International Workingmen's Association, leading the anarchist faction to rapidly grow in influence. The 1872 Hague Congress was dominated by a struggle between Bakunin and Marx, who was a key figure in the General Council of the International and argued for the use of the state to bring about socialism. In contrast, Bakunin and the anarchist faction argued for the replacement of the state by federations of self-governing workplaces and communes. Bakunin could not reach the Netherlands, and the anarchist faction lost the debate in his absence. Bakunin was expelled from the International for maintaining, in Marx's view, a secret organisation within the International, and founded the Anti-Authoritarian International in 1872. From 1870 until his death in 1876, Bakunin wrote his longer works such as Statism and Anarchy and God and the State, but he continued to directly participate in European worker and peasant movements. In 1870, he was involved in an insurrection in Lyon, France. Bakunin sought to take part in an anarchist insurrection in Bologna, Italy, but his declining health forced him to return to Switzerland in disguise. Bakunin is remembered as a major figure in the history of anarchism, an opponent of Marxism, especially of the dictatorship of the proletariat; and for his predictions that Marxist regimes would be one-party dictatorships ruling over the proletariat, not rule by the proletariat. His book God and the State has been widely translated and remains in print. Bakunin has had a significant influence on thinkers such as Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Herbert Marcuse, E. P. Thompson, Neil Postman and A. S. Neill as well as syndicalist organizations such as the IWW, the anarchists in the Spanish Civil War and contemporary anarchists involved in the modern-day anti-globalization movement.

Photo of Mikhail Bakhtin

3. Mikhail Bakhtin (1895 - 1975)

With an HPI of 69.62, Mikhail Bakhtin is the 3rd most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 57 different languages.

Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin ( bukh-TEEN; Russian: Михаи́л Миха́йлович Бахти́н, IPA: [mʲɪxɐˈil mʲɪˈxajləvʲɪtɕ bɐxˈtʲin]; 16 November [O.S. 4 November] 1895 – 7 March 1975) was a Russian philosopher, literary critic and scholar who worked on literary theory, ethics, and the philosophy of language. His writings, on a variety of subjects, inspired scholars working in a number of different traditions (Marxism, semiotics, structuralism, religious criticism) and in disciplines as diverse as literary criticism, history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology and psychology. Although Bakhtin was active in the debates on aesthetics and literature that took place in the Soviet Union in the 1920s, his distinctive position did not become well known until he was rediscovered by Russian scholars in the 1960s.

Photo of Georgi Plekhanov

4. Georgi Plekhanov (1856 - 1918)

With an HPI of 67.95, Georgi Plekhanov is the 4th most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Georgi Valentinovich Plekhanov ( plih-KAH-nəf; Russian: Гео́ргий Валенти́нович Плеха́нов, IPA: [ɡʲɪˈorɡʲɪj vəlʲɪnʲˈtʲinəvʲɪtɕ plʲɪˈxanəf] ; 11 December [O.S. 29 November] 1856 – 30 May 1918) was a Russian revolutionary, philosopher and Marxist theoretician. He was a founder of the social-democratic movement in Russia and was one of the first Russians to identify himself as Marxist. Facing political persecution, Plekhanov emigrated to Switzerland in 1880, where he continued in his political activity attempting to overthrow the Tsarist regime in Russia. Plekhanov is known as the "father of Russian Marxism". Born to a Tatar noble family of serf-owning landlords and minor government officials, Plekhanov grew up to reject his social class. As a student he became a Marxist. Although he supported the Bolshevik faction at the 2nd Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party in 1903, Plekhanov soon rejected the idea of democratic centralism, and became one of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky's principal antagonists in the 1905 Saint Petersburg Soviet. During World War I, Plekhanov rallied to the cause of the Entente powers against Germany and he returned home to Russia following the 1917 February Revolution. Plekhanov was an opponent of the Bolshevik state which came to power in the autumn of 1917. He died the following year of tuberculosis in Finland. Despite his vigorous and outspoken opposition to Lenin's political party in 1917, Plekhanov was held in high esteem by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union following his death as a founding father of Russian Marxism and a philosophical thinker.

Photo of Vladimir Solovyov

5. Vladimir Solovyov (1853 - 1900)

With an HPI of 65.94, Vladimir Solovyov is the 5th most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 47 different languages.

Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov (Russian: Влади́мир Серге́евич Соловьёв; 28 January [O.S. 16 January] 1853 – 13 August [O.S. 31 July] 1900) was a Russian philosopher, theologian, poet, pamphleteer, and literary critic, who played a significant role in the development of Russian philosophy and poetry at the end of the 19th century and in the spiritual renaissance of the early 20th century.

Photo of Johann Georg Hamann

6. Johann Georg Hamann (1730 - 1788)

With an HPI of 63.79, Johann Georg Hamann is the 6th most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 36 different languages.

Johann Georg Hamann (; German: [ˈhaːman]; 27 August 1730 – 21 June 1788) was a German Lutheran philosopher from Königsberg known as "the Wizard of the North" who was one of the leading figures of post-Kantian philosophy. His work was used by his student J. G. Herder as the main support of the Sturm und Drang movement, and is associated with the Counter-Enlightenment and Romanticism. He introduced Kant, also from Königsberg, to the works of both Hume – waking him from his "dogmatic slumber" – and Rousseau. Hamann was influenced by Hume, but he used his views to argue for rather than against Christianity. Goethe and Kierkegaard were among those who considered him to be the finest mind of his time. He was also a key influence on Hegel and Jacobi. Long before the linguistic turn, Hamann believed epistemology should be replaced by the philosophy of language.

Photo of Alexandre Koyré

7. Alexandre Koyré (1892 - 1964)

With an HPI of 62.85, Alexandre Koyré is the 7th most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Alexandre Koyré (, French: [kwaʁe]; born Alexandr Vladimirovich (or Volfovich) Koyra (Russian: Александр Владимирович (Вольфович) Койра); 29 August 1892 – 28 April 1964), also anglicized as Alexander Koyre, was a French philosopher of Russian origin who wrote on the history and philosophy of science.

Photo of Alexandre Kojève

8. Alexandre Kojève (1902 - 1968)

With an HPI of 62.65, Alexandre Kojève is the 8th most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Alexandre Kojève ( koh-ZHEV, French: [alɛksɑ̃dʁ kɔʒɛv]; 28 April 1902 – 4 June 1968) was a Russian-born French philosopher and statesman whose philosophical seminars had an immense influence on 20th-century French philosophy, particularly via his integration of Hegelian concepts into twentieth-century continental philosophy. As a statesman in the French government, he was instrumental in the formation of the European Union.

Photo of Ivan Ilyin

9. Ivan Ilyin (1883 - 1954)

With an HPI of 60.32, Ivan Ilyin is the 9th most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 31 different languages.

Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin (Russian: Иван Александрович Ильин, romanized: Ivan Aleksandrovich Il'in; 9 April [O.S. 28 March] 1883 – 21 December 1954) was a Russian jurist, religious and political philosopher, publicist, orator, and conservative monarchist. While he saw Russia's 1917 February Revolution as a "temporary disorder", the October Revolution, in his view, marked a "national catastrophe". This conviction led him to oppose the Bolshevik regime. He became a white émigré journalist, aligning himself with Slavophile beliefs and emerging as a key ideologue of the Russian All-Military Union. This organization firmly believed that force stood as the sole means through which the Soviet regime could be toppled. As an anti-communist, Ilyin found himself initially sympathetic to Adolf Hitler but his critique of totalitarianism was not embraced by the Nazi regime. In 1934, his refusal to comply with Nazi directives to spread propaganda led to his dismissal from the Russian Academic Institute, stripping him of employment opportunities. Financial support from Sergei Rachmaninoff in 1938 allowed Ilyin to remain in Switzerland albeit barred from work or political engagement. This phase of restriction led him to delve deeper into studies encompassing aesthetics, ethics, and psychology. Despite battling chronic illness, Ilyin wrote over 40 books and numerous articles in Russian and German. His works predominantly revolved around religion and Russia, although he diverged from Vladimir Solovyov's ideologies, advocating a global theocracy with whom the Russian religious and philosophical Renaissance of the early 20th century is usually associated. Instead, Ilyin championed a patriarchal model of governance for Russia, rooted on Orthodoxy and faith in the autocratic tsar, distinguishing between autocracy and tyranny. His writings echoed calls for heroism and moral aristocracy, while cementing his role as a proponent of Western Russophobia. Remaining true to Right Hegelianism throughout his life, Ilyin explored themes of statehood, law, and power in world history. He opposed federalism and neutrality, and disdained Western analytic philosophy. As an ultranationalist, Ilyin was a critic of Western-style democracy, advocating instead for a government aligned with Russia's autocratic heritage. Ilyin's views on Russia's social structure and world history influenced some post-Soviet intellectuals and politicians, including Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Photo of P. D. Ouspensky

10. P. D. Ouspensky (1878 - 1947)

With an HPI of 60.21, P. D. Ouspensky is the 10th most famous Russian Philosopher.  His biography has been translated into 30 different languages.

Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii (known in English as Peter D. Ouspensky; Russian: Пётр Демья́нович Успе́нский, tr. Pyotr Demyánovich Uspénskiy; 5 March 1878 – 2 October 1947) was a Russian philosopher and esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff. He met Gurdjieff in Moscow in 1915, and was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then on. He taught ideas and methods based in the Gurdjieff system for 25 years in England and the United States, although he separated from Gurdjieff personally in 1924, for reasons that are explained in the last chapter of his book In Search of the Miraculous. Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff system directly under Gurdjieff's own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924. In Search of the Miraculous recounts what he learned from Gurdjieff during those years. While lecturing in London in 1924, he announced that he would continue independently the way he had begun in 1921. Some, including his close pupil Rodney Collin, say that he finally gave up the system in 1947, just before his death, but his own recorded words on the subject ("A Record of Meetings", published posthumously) do not clearly endorse this judgement.

People

Pantheon has 30 people classified as Russian philosophers born between 1700 and 1947. Of these 30, none of them are still alive today. The most famous deceased Russian philosophers include Immanuel Kant, Mikhail Bakunin, and Mikhail Bakhtin. As of April 2024, 2 new Russian philosophers have been added to Pantheon including Evald Ilyenkov, and Semyon Frank.

Deceased Russian Philosophers

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Newly Added Russian Philosophers (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

Which Philosophers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Philosophers since 1700.