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15 Greatest Philosophers of all time

For thousands of years, philosophers have shaped the universe and our school of thought, and their influence may still be seen today. The greatest philosophers of all time have left us with a wealth of knowledge that aids in our understanding of the mind and the environment. Let’s take a closer look at what philosophy comprises before moving on to some of the greatest Philosophers of all time.

What is Philosophy?

The intellectual, abstract, and methodical analysis of reality is what is meant by philosophy. From ancient Greece to the present, philosophy has played a significant role in the development of civilisation. Famous philosophers have generated innovative ideas and made contributions to all fields and industries over the centuries, including politics, mathematics, literature, art, and science.

Philosophy, which derives from the Greek for “love of learning,” is the study of knowledge, existence, and reality.

Ethics, nature, aesthetics, metaphysics, existence, logic, knowledge, and theory are some of the topics that philosophers discuss. Philosophers’ lessons endure beyond their period because they concern human existence.

15 Greatest Philosophers of all time

Here are some of the greatest Philosophers of all time, along with some of their contributions and biographical details.

Aristotle

The most well-known Greek philosopher, Aristotle, was a polymath who lived in ancient Greece from 384 to 322 BC. He was instructed by Plato, another well-known philosopher.

Greatest Philosophers of all time

The first scientist in human history is frequently referred to as Aristotle. At least 200 treatises are his creation, and about 31 of them are still in print today. In addition to non-philosophical works about empirical biology, his work concentrated on disciplines, philosophy of mind through ethics, political theory, aesthetics, and rhetoric. He was well known for his in-depth theories on plant and animal observation.

He is best known today for developing the first logic, which is a systematic treatment of the fundamentals of sound reasoning. He also distinguished between the three main types of rhetoric: ethos (ethics), pathos (emotions), and logos (logic). He also created the philosophy of deduction, or syllogism as we know it today.

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Lao Tozu

Another top ten philosopher, Lao-Tzu, created a theory that is closely related to Taoism. Around 500 BCE in Ancient China, he wrote the major Taoist text. The harmony of humans and other animals and how they should interact in the universe are central themes in Taoism.

He also held to the idea of spiritual immortality, according to which after passing away, your soul unites with the universe rather than dying. He thought that we should live in tune with the chi (or qi), the energy that governs the universe.

The concept of the yin and yang, which emphasizes matching energies like light and dark, heat and cold, and activity and inaction, also originates in taoism and illustrates how opposites combine to make sense of the universe.

Taoism was adopted as the Tang dynasty’s official religion in the eighth century CE. Taoism was one of the three major faiths in China before to the Communist takeover in 1959, together with Confucianism and Buddhism.

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John Locke

John Locke was an Oxford professor who studied medicine and lived in Europe in the 17th century. He is most well-known for his contributions to liberalism and the Enlightenment.

Locke firmly opposed the idea that rulers have a divine right to rule and supported everyone’s right to life, liberty, and property. He also held that the people had the right to overthrow a king by force if he violated citizens’ rights. He firmly felt that a government’s primary responsibility is to serve its constituents.

Karl Marx

Marxism was created in the 1800s by German philosopher Karl Marx. Marxism focuses on the social, political, and economic thesis that the working class and capitalists are engaged in conflict.

He was adamant that one day, in a revolution, the working class would overturn the capitalist class, taking control of the economy in the process. He is recognized for being a fervent supporter of communism.

Confucius

Confucius, a Chinese philosopher who lived from 770 to 481 BCE, advocated living by moral and ethical principles. He is remembered for seeking to make education accessible to everyone and for founding teaching as a legitimate profession. (It appears that Confucius and the University of the People share a belief in ensuring that all people have access to a quality education.)

He also founded Confucianism, a system of thought that emphasizes morals and personal ethics. Confucianism’s four essential tenets are referred to as his ethics. Justice, goodness, non-malfeasance, and respect for individual autonomy are some of them. His five consistent virtues—benevolence, righteousness, truthfulness, propriety, and wisdom—are those that are most frequently mentioned.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson, an American philosopher, essayist, lecturer, and abolitionist, made his imprint on society more recently. His article on “Self-Reliance” is the one for which he is most known.

He shared a common belief with his British Romantic colleagues of the 1800s regarding the close relationship between God, man, and nature. His writing has the power to transform lives because it encourages readers to put their own judgment above everything else.

Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant, a prominent contemporary philosopher who lived from 1724 to 1804, was best known for his critiques of the power of judgment, pure reason, and practical reason.

Greatest Philosophers of all time

He advocated measuring whether or not we have carried out our responsibilities rather than the results of our activities in determining whether or not an activity is right or incorrect. He comes to the conclusion that moral reason triumphs over all other types of reason by applying his fundamental law of morality.

Epicurus

Epicurus, who lived from 341 to 27 BCE, is credited with founding Epicureanism. He was a wise Greek philosopher who had a significant impact. He held that happiness, which is the absence of mental distress and physical suffering, is the ultimate purpose of human life.

According to his philosophy, the pursuit of pleasure, not the strict application of reason, defines happiness, which he believed to be the highest good of human existence. He also held the view that fear of punishment and death were irrational urges that might be overcome in order to attain happiness and to free oneself from anxiety.

Socrates

Socrates was an ancient Greek philosopher from Athens who is frequently credited as the father of Western philosophy. He was the first person in the ethical lineage of thinking to be regarded as a moral philosopher. He has no texts, and the main things people remember him for are the posthumous tales of his pupils Xenophon and Plato.

He made way for the development of the Socratic dialogue literary genre, which focuses on instructing through questioning. He received a death sentence in 399 BC for corrupting the youth and disobeying the recognized gods of the city.

Friedrich Nietzsche

On the list is yet another philosopher from Germany. By disseminating his writings on a variety of topics, ranging from science to art, culture, history, and everything in between, Friedrich Nietzsche had a significant impact on the western world.

Nihilism, the belief that everything is meaningless, including life itself, is one of his central tenets. The aforementioned concept served as the foundation for the existentialist and surrealist movements that came after his time.

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Dante (1265–1321)

The father of the modern Italian language is thought to have been the medieval Italian poet and philosopher Dante. He is best known for his poetry trilogy The Divine Comedy, which was divided into three parts that depicted purgatory, heaven, and hell in the Christian afterlife. The poem incorporates a variety of knowledge, a critique of current issues, and original language and imagery.

Normative Principle:

Discussions of rhetoric around moral philosophy and political ideas can be found in Dante’s significant theoretical writings.

Plato (c. 428–348 B.C.)

Socrates taught the Greek philosopher Plato, who later served as Aristotle’s mentor. He was an a priori, rational philosopher who relied on logic rather than the senses to obtain knowledge. He later founded the Academy at Athens, one of the first Western institutions of higher learning.

Normative Principle:

In addition to exploring justice, beauty, and equality, Plato’s logic included studies of politics, language, cosmology—the study of the universe’s creation and evolution—as well as aesthetics and politics.

Pascal (1623–1662)

The contemporary theory of probabilities, a field of mathematics concerned with the analysis of random processes, was founded by the French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher of religion Blaise Pascal.

Normative Principle:

Under the alias Louis de Montalte, Pascal wrote Les Provinciales in 1657, a collection of 18 letters that supported Jansenist over Jesuit theologies. In addition, he promoted a religious theology that went against the views of French philosopher René Descartes and preached that one experiences God through the heart rather than the mind.

Voltaire (1694–1778)

One of the greatest authors of the French Enlightenment is generally regarded to be Francois Arouet, best known by his pen name “Voltaire.” Thousands of letters, novels, pamphlets, essays, plays, and other pieces of writing were written by him; the most of them were focused on politics and religion. One of his most well-known works is Candide, a satirical novella that ridicules the optimistic view that all catastrophe and human suffering are a result of a good cosmic plan.

Normative Principle:

Voltaire’s blatant mistrust of the state and the church sparked a great deal of debate in his day, yet he remained a progressive thinker in terms of civil rights and argued for the value of freedom of expression, of religion, and of the right to a fair trial.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797)

English author and intellectual Mary Wollstonecraft fought for women’s equality in society. She was a fierce feminist who felt that men and women should be treated equally because they both have social obligations. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, her best-known work, is regarded as the first important feminist essay. In it, she made the case that women ought to have the same fundamental rights as men and a level of education appropriate to their place in society.

Normative Principle:

Women should have the same basic rights as males, according to Wollstonecraft, who also believed that they should receive an education that is appropriate for their status in society.

Greatest Philosophers of all time

Frequently Asked Questions about Philosophy

Which philosopher is the best, and why?

As the third of the great triumvirate of ancient Greek philosophers, after Socrates and Plato, Aristotle (384-322 BCE) is perhaps the greatest thinker who has ever lived.

What abilities are necessary for philosophy?

Studying philosophy helps you improve your verbal and writing communication, problem-solving abilities, analytical thinking and discipline, as well as your ability to make strong arguments.

Who was the world’s first philosopher?

Thales is typically considered as the first philosopher.

What are the 4 main philosophies?

The four main branches of philosophy are metaphysics, epistemology, axiology, and logic. Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that considers the physical universe and the nature of ultimate reality. It asks questions like, What is real?

Conclusion

It is clear that many of these concepts and beliefs are still often used in contemporary culture. We have been able to thoroughly examine humanity and the ways in which we interact with God, nature, each other, and ourselves due of these philosophers.

The greatest philosophers in history have opened the way for our thinking and given us permission to pose questions to ourselves that we may not have otherwise considered. They have left us with guiding principles that we can use to shape how we behave in public, how we think about politics, how we teach our children, how we approach math and science, and how we approach all other aspects of our quest for knowledge.

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