Greatest Philosophers of All Time – The question has been topic on. Today, we will be looking at 17 of the greatest Philosophers (minds) that ever walked the earth.
Our world as we know it has been shaped by philosophy. From science to politics, the greatest of minds have challenged the way we see things.
While many of you may know some of the famous Greek philosophers such as the likes of Socrates and Aristotle, this list of philosophers brings you more than what you know.
However, we don’t claim to cover this subject comprehensively because philosophy is a very broad and encompassing subject; that is, it basically covers everything.
So, we will be looking at 17 Greatest philosophers, their big ideas, and their most important written works. So, let’s get right to their names
Greatest Philosophers Of all Time
17. Aristotle (384–322 BC)
First on our list was a student of Plato in Ancient Greece, Aristotle. He made his contributions to knowledge in numerous areas including metaphysics, science, ethics, aesthetics, logic, poetry, linguistics, and government.
Aristotle is one of the most well-known Greatest Philosophers Of all Time and is famous for the Aristotelian logic & theory of the soul. One of the treatises that Aristotle wrote in the Nicomachean Ethics. His belief is that ethics should be applied practically, not merely theorizing it.
16. Plato (c. 428-348 BC)
Plato is another famous philosopher, and as earlier stated, was Aristotle’s teacher. He is famous for starting the Academy in Athens; the very first institution of higher learning in the Western world.
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Plato is mainly recognized for what is described as Platonic idealism & the theory of forms. His role in western philosophy can be traced back to when he was a student of Socrates. Plato was an excellent mathematician, logician, rhetoric, and an expert on religion.
15. Confucius (551-479 BC)
Next up is a Chinese Philosopher, Confucius, who was born during the Spring & Autumn era in Chinese history. His main ideas were focused on social and personal relationships which became a school of thought that was embraced by many.
He made emphatic, the importance of family and its necessity to society. Confucius had a voracious appetite for writing and authored the Five Classics in Chinese literature.
His views shaped later Chinese thought and led to what is now called Confucianism. His belief, that proper moral behaviour is best practised, then morality being made a rule.
14. David Hume (1711-1776)
David Hume was a well-known Scottish philosopher, who was a strong skeptic and empiricist. He claimed that our beliefs don’t come from our reason but rather from our feelings and ideas of how the world should be. He is revered as one of the pillars of the Scottish Enlightenment.
David Hume is famous for the problem of causation and is accredited with the “founding document of cognitive science” in his book A Treatise of Human Nature. He made every attempt to understanding “man” by the use of a naturalistic approach.
One of his famous arguments, “Reason is, and ought only to be slave of the passions,” is a longstanding idea that says, “allow desires to dictate reason.”
13. René Descartes (1596–1650)
René Descartes is one of the most Greatest philosophers of all time and is considered the “Father of Modern Philosophy.” His influence on the world of philosophy has left a longlasting imprint at today’s universities. And his book, “Meditations on First Philosophy” is still being used today. Descartes is famous for his statement, “I think, therefore I am.”
12. Socrates (c. 469-399 BC)
You probably may have heard the name before. You don’t need to be a historian or philosophy expert to be familiar with this name, Socrates. He is one of the most famous and greatest minds of all time. And as you have already seen, he is the teacher of another great mind, Plato.
Socrates is renowned for the Socratic Method of logic and a founder of Western philosophy. In his idealism, a series of questions are asked in order to lead the listener to a conclusion.
His story began in his hometown of Athens, Greece but unfolded through the writings of his students and fellow philosophers. He specializes in the field of ethics and introduced a concept that has been seen as elenchus or the Socratic Method.
11. Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Niccolò Machiavelli is an Italian Renaissance philosopher, famous for his contribution to political philosophy. He is considered the founder of political science and an expert in political ethics.
His core contributions include political philosophy and realism. His most famous work is his book, “The Prince” which has been dubbed as a masterpiece that deals with political philosophy.