Top 8 Greatest and Famous Philosophers of All Time And their Ideas : Current School News [Must Read]


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– Famous Philosophers –

ln modern times philosophy has been considered separate from modern sciences and treated as a study of the fundamental and general nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and language. This article has a lot and more for you about famous philosophers. Let’s get started!

Philosophy in a layman’s term can be put as nothing but science. Philosophers like Aristotle used rationality to come to scientific knowledge of the world around us.

Throughout centuries the world has witnessed several renowned and significant philosophers who continue to influence and appeal to the intellectuality of thinkers.

Famous Philosophers of All Time And their Ideas

Philosophy is complicated stuff. It’s the search for meaning, for greater understanding, for answers to the questions surrounding our existence, our purpose, and the universe itself.

In this article we will check out some of such greatest and famous philosophers that the world has witnessed so far:

1. Socrates (470/469 BC-399 BC)

famous philosophers

famous philosophers

One of the prominent founders of western philosophy, Socrates remains one of the greatest and famous philospers of all time.

His major contribution to philosophy is perhaps the dialectic method of inquiry, i.e., to solve a problem it shall be broken down to a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distil the answer that one seeks.

The method is also known as Socratic method or method of “elenchus” which is greatly significant in present day as well, especially in the scientific methods in which hypothesis is the first stage.

Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics and epistemology.”Famous philosophers”

Socrates Big Ideas

1. Argued that Athenians were wrong-headed in their emphasis on families, careers, and politics at the expense of the welfare of their souls;

2. Is sometimes attributed the statement “I know that I know nothing,” to denote an awareness of his ignorance, and in general, the limitations of human knowledge;

3. Believed misdeeds were a consequence of ignorance, that those who engaged in nonvirtuous behavior did so because they didn’t know any better.

2. Aristotle (384–322 BCE)

Aristotle (384–322 BCE)

Aristotle (384–322 BCE)

Aristotle is among the most important and influential thinkers and teachers in human history, often considered — alongside his mentor, Plato — to be a father of Western Philosophy.”

Born in the northern part of ancient Greece, his writings and ideas on metaphysics, ethics, knowledge, and methodological inquiry are at the very root of human thought.

Most philosophers who followed  both those who echoed and those who opposed his ideas — owed a direct debt to his wide-ranging influence.

Aristotle’s enormous impact was a consequence both of the breadth of his writing and his personal reach during his lifetime.

Aristotle’s Big Ideas

1. Asserted the use of logic as a method of argument and offered the basic methodological template for analytical discourse;

2. Espoused the understanding that knowledge is built from the study of things that happen in the world, and that some knowledge is universal — a prevailing set of ideas throughout Western Civilization thereafter;

3. Defined metaphysics as “the knowledge of immaterial being,” and used this framework to examine the relationship between substance (a combination of matter and form) and essence, from which he devises that man is comprised from a unity of the two.

3. Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Best known for challenging the foundations of Christianity and Traditional Morality. Friedrich Nietzsche remains one of the most influential philosophers of all time.

Nietzsche started his career as classical philologist and went on to became the youngest occupant of the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, 1869, when he was only 24 years old.

Nietzsche is being often referred to as one of the first existentialist, along with Soren Kierkeggard (1813-1855).

Nietzsche’s Big Ideas

1. Favored perspectivism, which held that truth is not objective but is the consequence of various factors effecting individual perspective;

2. Articulated ethical dilemma as a tension between the master vs. slave morality; the former in which we make decisions based on the assessment of consequences, and the latter in which we make decisions based on our conception of good vs. evil;

3. Believed in the individual’s creative capacity to resist social norms and cultural convention in order to live according to a greater set of virtues.

4. Immanuel Kant (1724 – 1804)

Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804)

Immanuel Kant (1724 - 1804)

The major proponent of the “what can we know” philosophy. Immanuel Kant, a German philosopher is known to be one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy.

He is also being considered as a central figure of modern philosophy. “Famous philosophers”

He is widely known for his argument that human mind structure the human experiences, and that reason is the source of morality.

Kant’s Big Ideas

1. Defined the “Categorical imperative,” the idea that there are intrinsically good and moral ideas to which we all have a duty, and that rational individuals will inherently find reason in adhering to moral obligation;

2. Argued that humanity can achieve a perpetual peace through universal democracy and international cooperation;

3. Asserted that the concepts of time and space, as well as cause and effect, are essential to the human experience, and that our understanding of the world is conveyed only by our senses and not necessarily by the underlying (and likely unseen) causes of the phenomena we observe.

5. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

Famous philosophers

Famous philosophers

Rousseau is known for his contributions to moral and political philosophy.

He believed that to find a way of preserving human freedom in a world where humans are increasingly dependent on one another for satisfaction of their needs, is what dominates as an idea in his philosophical theory.

His belief of achieving the co-existence of human beings in relations of equality and freedom is what gets majorly reflected in all of his works.

Rousseau was also known to be an active composer, and a music theorist, a novelist and a botanist. His love for and appreciation of nature’s wanders made him an important influence on and anticipator of Romantic Movement.

Rousseau’s Big Ideas

1. Suggested that Man was at his best in a primitive state — suspended between brute animalistic urges on one end of the spectrum and the decadence of civilization on the other — and therefore uncorrupted in his morals;

2. Suggested that the further we deviate from our “state of nature,” the closer we move to the “decay of the species,” an idea that comports with modern environmental and conservationist philosophies;

3. Wrote extensively on education and, in advocating for an education that emphasizes the development of individual moral character, is sometimes credited as an early proponent of child-centered education.

Greatest Philosophers of All Time And their Ideas

6. Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679)

Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679)

Thomas Hobbes (1588 - 1679)

An English philosopher of the 17th century, Best known for his work Leviathan (1651). Thomas Hobbes had very strong political views on society and on how humans could thrive in harmony despite living amidst the perils and fear of societal conflicts.

Most of his writings he never definitively points out what exact form of government he prefers, yet he makes it quite clear in Leviathan that monarchy is the only right form of government.

In his views governments were created to protect people from their own selfish reasons and evils. Therefore, the best government was the one with great deal of power in its hand, like a king.

Hobbes believed in the authority and rule of a king as he felt a country needs an authoritative figure, a leader to provide and guide the direction of its people.

7. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

Thomas Aquinas was a 13th century Dominican friar, theologian and Doctor of the Church, born in what is known today as the Lazio region of Italy.

His most important contribution to Western thought is the concept of natural theology (sometimes referred to as Thomism in tribute to his influence).

This belief system holds that the existence of God is verified through reason and rational explanation, as opposed to through scripture or religious experience.

This ontological approach is among the central premises underpinning modern Catholic philosophy and liturgy.

His writings, and Aquinas himself, are still considered among the preeminent models for Catholic priesthood. His ideas also remain central to theological debate, discourse, and modes of worship.

Aquinas’ Big Ideas

Adhered to the Platonic/Aristotelian principle of realism, which holds that certain absolutes exist in the universe, including the existence of the universe itself;

Focused much of his work on reconciling Aristotelian and Christian principles, but also expressed a doctrinal openness to Jewish and Roman philosophers, all to the end of divining truth wherever it could be found;

The Second Vatican Council (1962–65) declared his Summa Theolgoiae — a compendium of all the teachings of the Catholic Church to that point — “Perennial Philosophy.”

8. Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Famous philosophersFamous philosophers

Historian, social theorist, and philosopher Michel Foucault, born in the riverfront city of Poiltiers, France, dedicated much of his teaching and writing to the examination of power and knowledge and their connection to social control.

Though often identified as a postmodernist, Foucault preferred to think of himself as a critic of modernity.

His service as an international diplomat on behalf of France also influenced his understanding of social constructs throughout history and how they have served to enforce racial, religious, and sexual inequality.

Foucault’s Big Ideas

1. Held the conviction that the study of philosophy must begin through a close and ongoing study of history;

2. Demanded that social constructs be more closely examined for hierarchical inequalities, as well as through an analysis of the corresponding fields of knowledge supporting these unequal structures;

3. Believed oppressed humans are entitled to rights and they have a duty to rise up against the abuse of power to protect these rights.

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