You are on page 1of 5

The Historical Periods of Philosophy

 Ancient or Greek Philosophy (c. 600-150 B.C.)

 Pre-Socratics: What is real rather than mere appearance? What is the
unchanging reality that lies behind the curtain of man's sense
perceptions? Is it a "stuff" or is it a "form" of some kind?
 Answer: Stuff (physis)
 Thales of Miletus (fl. 585): water.
 Anaximander of Miletus (611-546): the boundless
 Anaximenes of Miletus (fl. c. 546): air (now rarefied or
 Heraclitus of Ephesus (fl. 500): "fire being kindled or fire
going out", in accordance with the Word (logos): "All
things flow and nothing stands. You cannot step into the
same river twice" (Plato, Cratylus 401d, 402a); Cratylus
(5th-4th century): flux is the only reality.
 Eleatics: Parmenides (fl. 500): despite the appearance of
multiplicity ("the many"), reason demonstrates that there is
only unity ("the one"); Zeno of Elea (fl. 460) (Paradoxes
(aporias) of Zeno).
 Empedocles of Acragas (484-424): attraction and
repulsion of the four elements (earth, water, air, fire).
 Leucippus of Miletus (fl. c. 435); Democritus of
Abdera (?460-357): atoms and the void.
 Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (500-428): mind, or, intellect
or intelligence (nous), and matter in the vortex.
 Answer: Form: Pythagoras of Croton (b. Samos, c. 582): the first
to call himself a "philosopher" or one who "seeks for truth" (Diog.
L. viii, 8): reality is the relationships of numbers.
 Other Early Philosophers: Xenophanes (b. Colophon, c. 570):
The gods are in no way similar to men, either in body or in
thought (nor are they immoral, as Homer and Hesiod portray
them); if animals had gods, they would make them in their own
image, too (Fragment 15). About some things mankind can have
only opinions, and never will have knowledge. Diagoras of Melos
(fl. 466), called "the atheist", because the story is told that he
denied the existence of gods after they failed to punish a man who
broke an oath he had sworn by the gods; and he said there would
be more votive offerings if these were set by up those whose
prayers the gods had not answered.
 Classical Period (480-323 B.C.)
 Sophists (Plato, Apology 19e):
 Protagoras of Abdera (c. 481-411): "Man is the measure
of all things" (Plato, Cratylus 386a). "As to the gods, I have
no way of knowing whether or not they exist"
(Plato, Theaetetus 162d-e). The story is told that the
Athenian authorities burned his books in the marketplace as
punishment for his presumed impiety. He promised to
"make the worse appear the better" reason
(Aristotle, Rhetoric 1402a). Plato's
dialog Protagoras centers on an imaginary visit by
Socrates to discuss with Protagoras whether the Sophist can
teach virtue, because if the Sophist can, then he must know
what virtue is, e.g. whether it is one or many.
 Gorgias of Leontini (485?-380?): "Those who speak in
general terms [as if there were an essence of virtue] ... are
wrong. To enumerate the virtues, as Gorgias did, is much
nearer the mark than to make this kind of [general]
definition" (Aristotle, Politics1260a25). Gorgias was a
teacher of rhetoric (Rhetoric in contrast to philosophy is
discussed in Plato's dialog Gorgias). Gorgias held these
three propositions : "Nothing exists. If anything does exist,
it cannot be known. If anything can be known, knowledge
of it cannot be communicated." Thus philosophy is
impossible, but not so the Sophist's art of rhetoric
(persuasion, sophistry).
 Prodicus of Ceos (born c. 470-460): Plato's
characterization of Prodicus.
 Hippias of Elis (contemporary of Socrates): see Plato's
dialogs Protagoras and Greater Hippias.
 Thrasymachus (Plato, Republic, Book 1)
 Antiphon (Aristotle, Physics 193a9)
 Lycophron, student of Gorgias (ibid. 185b25)
 Socrates of Athens (469?-399); see Aristotle about Socratic
definition and the contrasts between Socrates and Plato;
Xenophon, Memorabilia and Symposium and Apology;
Plato, Apology.
 The Socratic Schools:
 Megarians (Euclides of Megara, c. 430-360)
 Antisthenes of Athens (c. 446-366): with Socrates,
the impulse of the Cynic and Stoic Schools.
 Cyrenaics (Aristippus of Cyrene, c. 435-350)
 Plato of Athens (427-347): founded the "Old" Academy at Athens
386 B.C.; author of perhaps 28 dialogs and 13
letters; relationship to Heraclitus and Parmenides.
 Aristotle of Stagira (384-322): founded Lyceum in 334 (He and
his students were called "Peripatetics", either because they
walked while philosophizing or because of the covered portico
(peripatos), "for exercise in unfavorable weather" (A.E. Taylor),
at their school. The Middle Ages regarded Aristotle as il maestro
di color che sanno, or, "the master of those who know"
(Dante, Inferno iv, 131).
 Theophrastus of Eresus (c. 370-286): Aristotle's successor
at the Lyceum.
 Cynics (Diogenes of Sinope, 404-323)
 Hellenistic Period
 Epicurus of Samos (341-270): founded the Garden school at
Athens 306.
 Stoicism (Zeno of Citium, c. 344-261: founded school at the Stoa
Poikile, or Painted Porch or Colonnade or Portico, at Athens 301)
 Skeptics (Pyrrho of Elis, c. 360-270): no positive knowledge is
possible. Of the "Middle" and "New" Academy: Arcesilaus of
Pitane (c. 315-240): more Socratic than Platonic; Carneades of
Cyrene (c. 213-129): philosophy consists of mere opinions and
criticism of opinions.
 Philosophy under Rome
 Stoics: Seneca (d. 65 A.D.), Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 121-
180), Epictetus (d. 130 A.D.): common humanity (universal
brotherhood) and rulers as servants of the public good (public service).
 Lucretius (d. ca. 55 B.C.): On the Nature of Things

 Medieval Philosophy
 Plotinus (c. 205-270)
 St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
 Boethius (c. 480-524): The Consolation of Philosophy
 St. Anselm (1033-1109)
 Scholastic Theologians ("Schoolmen"); Scholasticism: using the tools of
philosophy, which is the "handmaid of theology", their work is "faith
seeking understanding". Man can expound what can be "known by the
natural light of reason" and he can explore the "Mysteries of Faith" in a
rational way.
 St. Albert Magnus ("Albert the Great") (c. 1193-1280)
 St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274)
 St. Bonaventure (1221-1274)
 John Duns Scotus (1265-1308)
 William of Ockham (c. 1300-1349)
 Islamic world: Avicenna (980-1037), Averroes (1126-1198)

 Modern Philosophy [Renaissance: beginning in Italy, the European

rediscovery in 14th-16th centuries of the Greek and Latin classics] [The
Reformation: 16th century northern Europe]
 [Montaigne 1533-1592 [Que sais-je?], Francis Bacon 1561-1626,
Hobbes 1588-1697, Isaac Newton's Principia 1687, Blaise Pascal 1623-
 The New Way of Ideas: "the direct object of perception is an idea in the
 Descartes (1596-1650): Rationalism
Malebranche (1638-1715)
 Spinoza (1632-1677)
 Leibniz (1646-1716)
 Locke (1632-1704): Empiricism
 Berkeley (1685-1753) (early Idealism)
 Reid (1710-1796): "common sense"
 Hume (1711-1776)
 Rousseau (1712-1778). [Age of Enlightenment (Aufklärung): from
Locke through Kant. Voltaire (1694-1778). Goethe (1749-1832)]
 Kant (1724-1804): "Critical philosophy"
 Fichte (1762-1814): Idealism
 [German Romantic Movement (1796-1822)]
 Schelling (1775-1854)
 Hegel (1770-1831)
 Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

 19th Century Philosophy

 Bentham (1748-1832): "Utilitarianism"
 Nietzsche (1844-1900)
 [Kierkegaard (1813-1855)]
 Dilthey (1833-1911)
 Comte (1798-1857): "Positivism"
 C.S. Peirce (1839-1914): "Pragmatism"
 F.H. Bradley (1846-1924)
 William James (1842-1910)

 Contemporary Philosophy (20th Century Philosophy)

 Husserl (1859-1938): "Phenomenology"
 Frege (1848-1925): Logicism
 Heidegger (1889-1976), Sartre (1905-1980): "Existentialism"
 Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), Gilbert Ryle (1900-1976): "Analysis"
 Bergson (1859-1941)
 J.L. Austin (1911-1960)
 Vienna Circle (Moritz Schlick, 1882-1936): Logical Positivism
 G.E. Moore (1873-1958)
 Wittgenstein (1889-1951)