The word, philosopher, means lover of wisdom.

A wise person who is calm and rational;

someone who lives a life of reason with equanimity”

The word philosophy is derived from the Greek words “philo” meaning love and “sophia” meaning wisdom. Therefore it is the love of wisdom and the seeking of knowledge in understanding the nature of the universe, man, and the human condition.

The study of philosophy expands the mind. The greatest thinkers in the history leave a legacy in which we can determine who we are and what we are doing here. Contemplating what the great philosophers have found to be meaningful and worthy assists us in establishing our own views on life, our purpose, and our values. It helps you to know your own mind, not other’s, not the philosophers, but through them we can come closer to the one thing we can own, and that is our mind.Philosophy is less about knowledge and more about contemplation and encourages us to analyse, assess and reason. It is an instrument for acquiring and honing critical thinking and problem solving skills. For the Greeks “philosophy” meant “love of wisdom.” Socrates, Plato and Aristotle made wisdom a practical matter: knowing the right way to live and why it is the right way. To know these things they thought you had, first, to understand yourself. From one point of view you are just another natural object like a stone or a tree. So even for practical wisdom, we need a big theory, one that covers the whole of reality and our place in it. Philosophy has changed a lot since the days of classical Athens, but modern philosophers still grapple with many of the same kinds of questions; questions such as:

  • Is there a God?
  • What is the nature of the mind?
  • How do we tell which actions are right or wrong?
  • How do good arguments differ from bad arguments?
  • What is knowledge?
  • What is freedom?
  • Am I free?
  • What is beauty?
  • What is art?
  • What are morals?

I will leave you with this philosophical thought…Where are you positioned with regard to philosophical thinking? Is it an Epicurian pleasure from philosophical inquiry and arguments? A concurrence with the Socrates argument that the “unexamined life is not worth living?” Are you a Cartesian: “I think, therefore I am.” Or a Camus-ian: “I rebel; therefore we exist.”


The pre-Socratic Greek philosophers were active before Socrates or contemporaneously, but expounding knowledge developed earlier.

Augustine of HippoPhilosophy and Religion

Marcus AureliusStoicism and Morality

EpictetusStoicism and Morality

SenecaStoicism and Morality

Epicurus Stoicism and Morality: Epicureanism: Atomism: Hedonism  


In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire marked the end of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy, whereas in Eastern philosophy, the spread of Islam through the Arab Empire marked the end of Old Iranian philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of early Islamic philosophy.

PlatoHellenistic Thought: Cosmos and Morality: Soul and Forms: Society and Virtue: Education and Justice: Love

AristotleHellenistic Thought: Cosmos and Morality: Logic and Physics: Reality and Knowledge: Ethics: Politics

SocratesHellenistic Thought: Cosmos and Morality: Speculation and Dispute


The philosophy of Europe and the Middle East in the era now known as medieval or the Middle Ages, the period roughly extending from the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century A.D. to the Renaissance in the sixteenth century. It is defined partly by the process of rediscovering the ancient culture developed in Greece and Rome in the classical period, and partly by the need to address theological problems and to integrate sacred doctrine with secular learning.

Thomas AquinasLate Scholasticism: Metaphysics: Theology: Logic: Epistemology: Ethics: Politics


The period of the history of philosophy in Europe that falls roughly between the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment. It includes the 15th century; some scholars extend it to as early as the 1350s or as late as the 16th century or early 17th century, overlapping the Reformation and the early modern era.

Among the distinctive elements of Renaissance philosophy are the revival (renaissance means rebirth”) of classical civilization and learning; a partial return to the authority of Plato over Aristotle, who had come to dominate later medieval philosophy; and, among some philosophers, enthusiasm for the occult and Hermeticism.

Francis BaconEmpiricism: Materialism

NicolausCopernicusMathematics and astronomy

Niccolò MachiavelliThe Renaissance: Humanism and Science

 17th  The Age of Reason

It is considered to succeed the Renaissance philosophy era and precede the Age of Enlightenment, but some consider it as the earliest part of the Enlightenment era in philosophy, extending that era to two centuries.

René DescartesMethod: Doubt and Existence: Mind and Body: Cartesianism

ThomasHobbesThe Renaissance: Humanism and Science

Gottfried Wilhelm LeibnizPlurality: Metaphysics: Mathematics:Theodicy

John LockeOrigin of Ideas: Human Knowledge: Government

Baruch de SpinozaUnity: Rationalism: Spinozism: Ethics: Epistemology: Metaphysics

18th The Age of Enlightenment

Is a term used to describe a time in Western philosophy and cultural life centered upon the eighteenth century, in which reason was advocated as the primary source and legitimacy for authority.

ImmanuelKantSynthetic A Priori: Experience and Reality: The Moral Law

DavidHumeEmpiricism: Naturalism: Scepticism: Scottish Enlightenment

George BerkeleyImmaterialism: Metaphysics: Epistemology: Language: Mathematics: Perception

Jean JacquesRousseauEnlightenment: Political philosophy: Social contract theory

19th Romanticism

In the 18th century the philosophies of The Enlightenment began to have a dramatic effect, the landmark works of philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau influencing a new generation of thinkers. In the late 18th century a movement known as Romanticism sought to combine the formal rationality of the past, with a greater and more immediate emotional and organic sense of the world.

George Wilhelm Friedrich HegelLogic: Aesthetics: Religion: Metaphysics: Epistemology: Political Philosophy

KarlMarxSocial Concerns: Class Struggle: Politics: Ethics

John Stewart MillSocial Concerns: Empiricism: Utilitarianism: Liberalism

William JamesPragmatism: Pragmatism: Psychology: Philosophy of Religion: Epistemology:Meaning 

20th Century

The 20th century brought with it upheavals that produced a series of conflicting developments within philosophy over the basis of knowledge and the validity of various absolutes. With classical certainties thought to be overthrown, and new social, economic, scientific, ethical, and logical problems, 20th-century philosophy was set for a series of attempts variously to reform, preserve, alter, abolish, previously conceived limits.

Ludwig WittgensteinLinguistic Analysis

Albert Camus – Absurdism: Existentialism

Carl JungAnalytical psychology

Bertrand RussellPhilosophical Analysis: Ethics: Epistemology: Philosophy of language and science: Religion

Simone de BeauvoirExistentialism: Feminism: Politics: Ethics

SartreExistentialism: Marxism: Metaphysics: Epistemology: Politics: Ethics: Phenomenology: Ontology


Postmodern philosophy is a philosophical direction which is critical of the foundational assumptions and structures of philosophy. Beginning as a critique of Continental philosophy, it was heavily influenced by phenomenology, structuralism and existentialism, including writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Martin Heidegger. Postmodern philosophy is skeptical or nihilistic toward many of the values and assumptions of philosophy that derive from modernity, such as humanity having an essence which distinguishes humans from animals, or the assumption that one form of government is demonstrably better than another.

George Wilhelm Friedrich HegelAbsolute Idealism: Logic: Philosophy of history: Aesthetics: Religion: Metaphysics: Epistemology: Political Philosophy

Søren KierkegaardOther Reactions: Religion: metaphysics: epistemology: aesthetics:ethics: psychology

Friedrich NietzscheOther Reactions: aesthetics: ethics: ontology: philosophy of history: psychology: value-theory

Martin HeideggerExistentialism: Ontology: Metaphysics: Art: Greek philosophy: Technology: Language: Poetry: Thinking

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