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Western philosophy encompasses the
philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real o ...

philosophical
thought and work of the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various s, s and , depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of , , and .
Western world
. Historically, the term refers to the philosophical thinking of
Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired b ...
, beginning with the
ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, marking the end of the Greek Dark Ages The Greek Dark Ages is the period of Greek history from the end of the Mycenaean palatial civilization around 1100 BC to the beginning of Archa ...
of the
pre-Socratics Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece were struggling to repel devastating invasions from the east. Greek philosophy continued t ...
. The word ''philosophy'' itself originated from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
(φιλοσοφία), literally, "the love of wisdom" grc, φιλεῖν , "to love" and σοφία '' sophía'', "wisdom").


History


Ancient

The scope of ancient Western philosophy included the problems of philosophy as they are understood today; but it also included many other disciplines, such as
pure mathematics Pure mathematics is the study of mathematical concepts independently of any application outside mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, struc ...
and
natural science Natural science is a Branches of science, branch of science concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of Phenomenon, natural phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. Mechanisms such as peer r ...

natural science
s such as
physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regular succession of eve ...

physics
,
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
, and
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
(
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
, for example, wrote on all of these topics).


Pre-Socratics

The pre-Socratic philosophers were interested in
cosmology Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approx ...
; the nature and origin of the universe, while rejecting mythical answers to such questions. They were specifically interested in the (the cause or first principle) of the world. The first recognized philosopher,
Thales of Miletus Thales of Miletus ( ; el, Θαλῆς Thales of Miletus ( ; el, Θαλῆς (ὁ Μιλήσιος), ''Thalēs''; ) was a Greek mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (fr ...

Thales of Miletus
(born in
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
) identified water as the (claiming "all is water"). His use of observation and reason to derive this conclusion is the reason for distinguishing him as the first philosopher. Thales' student
Anaximander Anaximander (; grc-gre, Ἀναξίμανδρος ''Anaximandros''; ) was a who lived in ,"Anaximander" in '. London: , 1961, Vol. 1, p. 403. a city of (in modern-day Turkey). He belonged to the and learned the teachings of his master . He s ...

Anaximander
claimed that the was the ''
apeiron ''Apeiron'' (; ) is a Greek word meaning "(that which is) unlimited," "boundless", "infinite", or "indefinite" from ''a-'', "without" and ''peirar'', "end, limit", "boundary", the Ionic Greek form of ''peras'', "end, limit, boundary". ''Apeir ...

apeiron
'', the
infinite Infinite may refer to: Mathematics *Infinite set, a set that is not a finite set *Infinity, an abstract concept describing something without any limit Music *Infinite (band), a South Korean boy band *''Infinite'' (EP), debut EP of American musi ...

infinite
. Following both Thales and Anaximander,
Anaximenes of Miletus Anaximenes of Miletus (; grc-gre, Ἀναξιμένης ὁ Μιλήσιος, translit=Anaximenēs ho Milēsios; ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is ofte ...
claimed that
air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmosphere (0.04402961% at April 2019 concentration ). Number ...
was the most suitable candidate.
Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in () was an ancient and the eponymous founder of . His political and religious teachings were well known in and influenced the philosophies of , , and, through them, . Knowledge of his life is clouded b ...

Pythagoras
(born ), from the island of
Samos Samos (, also ; el, Σάμος ) is a Greece, Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea, south of Chios, north of Patmos and the Dodecanese, and off the coast of western Turkey, from which it is separated by the -wide Mycale Strait. It is also a sep ...

Samos
off the coast of Ionia, later lived in
Croton
Croton
in southern Italy (
Magna Graecia Magna Graecia (, ; Latin meaning "Greater Greece", grc, Μεγάλη Ἑλλάς, ', it, Magna Grecia) was the name given by the Roman people, Romans to the coastal areas of Southern Italy in the present-day regions of Campania, Apulia, Basilicat ...

Magna Graecia
).
Pythagoreans Pythagoreanism originated in the 6th century BC, based on the teachings and beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans. Pythagoras established the first Pythagorean community in Crotone, Italy. Early Pythagorean communities spr ...
hold that "all is number", giving ''formal'' accounts in contrast to the previous ''material'' of the Ionians. The discovery of consonant
intervals
intervals
in music by the group enabled the concept of ''harmony'' to be established in philosophy, which suggested that opposites could together give rise to new things. They also believed in
metempsychosis Metempsychosis ( grc-gre, μετεμψύχωσις), in philosophy, refers to transmigration of the soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a socie ...
, the transmigration of souls, or
reincarnation . Reincarnation, also known as rebirth or transmigration, is the Philosophy, philosophical or religious Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, bel ...
.
Parmenides Parmenides of Elea (; grc-gre, Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης; ) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit ...

Parmenides
argued that, unlike the other philosophers who believed the was transformed into multiple things, the world must be singular, unchanging and eternal, while anything suggesting the contrary was an illusion.
Zeno of Elea
Zeno of Elea
formulated his famous paradoxes in order to support the Parmenides' views about the illusion of plurality and change (in terms of motion), by demonstrating them to be impossible. An alternative explanation was presented by
Heraclitus Heraclitus of Ephesus (; grc-gre, wikt:Ἡράκλειτος, Ἡράκλειτος ; , ) was an Ancient Greece, Ancient Greek, Pre-Socratic philosophy, pre-Socratic, Ionian School (philosophy), Ionian philosopher and a native of the city of Ep ...

Heraclitus
, who claimed that everything was in flux all the time, famously pointing out that one could not step into the same river twice.
Empedocles Empedocles (; grc-gre, Ἐμπεδοκλῆς; , 444–443 BC) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in So ...

Empedocles
may have been an associate of both Parmenides and the Pythagoreans. He claimed the was in fact composed of multiple sources, giving rise to the model of the four
classical element Classical elements typically refer to Water (classical element), water, Earth (classical element), earth, Fire (classical element), fire, Air (classical element), air, and (later) Aether (classical element), aether, which were proposed to expla ...
s. These in turn were acted upon by the forces of Love and Strife, creating the mixtures of elements which form the world. Another view of the being acted upon by an external force was presented by his older contemporary
Anaxagoras Anaxagoras (; grc-gre, Ἀναξαγόρας, ''Anaxagoras'', "lord of the assembly";  BC) was a Pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the i ...

Anaxagoras
, who claimed that ''
nous ''Nous'' (, ), sometimes equated to intellect In the study of the human mind, intellect refers to, describes, and identifies the ability of the human mind to reach correct conclusions about what is true True most commonly refers to truth ...

nous
,'' the
mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fund ...

mind
, was responsible for that.
Leucippus Leucippus (; el, Λεύκιππος, ''Leúkippos''; fl. 5th century BCE) is reported in some ancient sources to have been a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλό ...
and
Democritus Democritus (; el, Δημόκριτος, ''Dēmókritos'', meaning "chosen of the people"; – ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...

Democritus
proposed
atomism Atomism (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million ...
as an explanation for the fundamental nature of the universe.
Jonathan Barnes Jonathan Barnes, FBA (born 26 December 1942 in Wenlock, Shropshire) is an English scholar of Aristotelian and ancient philosophy. Education and career He was educated at the City of London School , established = , closed = , type = Pub ...
called atomism "the culmination of early Greek thought". In addition to these philosophers, the
Sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Sophists specialized in one or more subject areas, such as philosophy, rhetoric, music, athletics, and mathematics. They taught ...
s comprised teachers of rhetoric who taught students to debate on any side of an issue. While as a group, they held no specific views, in general they promoted
subjectivism Subjectivism is the doctrine that "our own mental activity is the only unquestionable fact of our experience", instead of shared or communal, and that there is no external or objective truth. The success of this position is historically attributed ...
and
relativism Relativism is a family of philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality ...
.
Protagoras Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece wer ...
, one of the most influential Sophist philosophers, claimed that "man is the measure of all things", suggesting there is no objective truth. This was also applied to issues of ethics, with
Prodicus Prodicus of Ceos (; grc-gre, Πρόδικος ὁ Κεῖος, ''Pródikos ho Keios''; c. 465 BC – c. 395 BC) was a Greek philosopher, and part of the first generation of Sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher ...
arguing that laws could not be taken seriously because they changed all the time, while
Antiphon An antiphon (Greek language, Greek ἀντίφωνον, ἀντί "opposite" and φωνή "voice") is a short chant in Christianity, Christian ritual, sung as a refrain. The texts of antiphons are the Psalms. Their form was favored by St Ambrose a ...
made the claim that conventional morality should only be followed when in society.


Classical period

The Classical period of ancient Greek philosophy centers on
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
and the two generations of students following him. Socrates experienced a life-changing event when his friend,
Chaerephon Chaerephon (; grc-gre, Χαιρεφῶν, ''Chairephōn''; c. 470/460 – 403/399 BCE), of the Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture ...

Chaerephon
visited the
Oracle of Delphi Pythia (; grc, Πυθία ) was the name of the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo (Delphi), Temple of Apollo at Delphi. She specifically served as its oracle and was known as the Oracle of Delphi. Her title was also historically glossed in ...
where the
Pythia The Pythia (; grc, Πυθία ) was the name of the high priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi Delphi (; ), in legend previously called Pytho (Πυθώ), in ancient times was a sacred precinct that served as the seat of Pythia, the ...

Pythia
told him that no one in Athens was wiser than Socrates. Learning of this, Socrates subsequently spent much of his life questioning anyone in Athens who would engage him, in order to investigate the Pithia's claim. Socrates developed a critical approach, now called the
Socratic method The Socratic method (also known as method of Elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate) is a form of cooperative Argumentation, argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking ...
, to examine people's views. He focused on issues of human life:
eudaimonia Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, Greek: :Wiktionary:εὐδαιμονία, εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonl ...
,
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
,
beauty Beauty is commonly described as a feature of objects that makes these objects pleasurable to perceive. Such objects include landscapes, sunsets, humans and works of art. Beauty, together with art and taste, is the main subject of aesthetics ...

beauty
,
truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In ...

truth
, and
virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a fre ...

virtue
. Although Socrates wrote nothing himself, two of his disciples,
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
and
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens monta ...

Xenophon
, wrote about some of his conversations, although Plato also deployed Socrates as a fictional character in some of his dialogues. These
Socratic dialogue Socratic dialogue ( grc, Σωκρατικὸς λόγος) is a genre of literary prose developed in Greece at the turn of the fourth century BC. The earliest ones are preserved in the works of Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, ...
s display the Socratic method being applied to examine philosophical problems. Socrates's questioning earned him enemies who eventually accused him of impiety and corrupting the youth. The Athenian democracy tried him, was found guilty, and was sentenced to death. Although his friends offered to help him escape from prison, Socrates chose to remain in Athens and abide by his principles. His execution consisted of drinking poison
hemlock Hemlock may refer to: Plants *Several poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae **''Cicuta'' (water hemlock) **''Conium'', four species, of which ''maculatum'' is the only endemic outside of southern Africa; in history given to poison and execute p ...

hemlock
. He died in 399 BCE. After Socrates' death, Plato founded the
Platonic Academy The Academy (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: ...
and
Platonic philosophy Platonism is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of ...
. As Socrates had done, Plato identified
virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a fre ...

virtue
with
knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability—that is whether it can be demonstrated to correspond to e ...
. This led him to questions of
epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the concerned with . Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic , the of , and various related issues. Epistemology is considered a major subfield of philosophy, along with other major ...

epistemology
on what knowledge is and how it is acquired. Plato believed that the senses are illusionary and could not be trusted, illustrating this point with the
allegory of the cave As a literary device, an allegory is a narrative in which a character, place, or event is used to deliver a broader message about real-world issues and occurrences. Authors have used allegory throughout history in all forms of art to illustrate ...
. He thought that knowledge had to be sourced from eternal, unchanging, and perfect objects, which led to his
theory of forms#REDIRECT Theory of forms {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from move {{Redirect from other capitalisation {{Redirect unprintworthy ...
.
Alfred North Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of ...
claimed that "Philosophy is footnotes to Plato".
Socrates had several other students who also founded schools of philosophy. Two of these were short-lived: the
Eretrian schoolThe Eretrian school of philosophy was originally the School of Elis Elis or Ilia ( el, Ηλεία, ''Ileia'') is one of the regional units of Greece The 74 regional units ( el, περιφερειακές ενότητες, ; sing. , ) are Administra ...
, founded by
Phaedo of Elis Phaedo of Elis (; also ''Phaedon''; grc-gre, Φαίδων ὁ Ἠλεῖος, ''gen''.: Φαίδωνος; fl. 4th century BCE) was a Greek philosopher Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of an ...
, and the
Megarian school Attica.html"_;"title="Megara_in_Attica">Megara_in_Attica,_lying_equidistant_from_Athens,_Thebes,_Greece.html" ;"title="Athens.html" ;"title="Attica.html" ;"title="Megara in Attica">Megara in Attica, lying equidistant from Athens">Attica.html" ;"ti ...
, founded by
Euclid of Megara Euclid of Megara (; also Euclides, Eucleides; el, Εὐκλείδης ὁ Μεγαρεύς; c. 435 – c. 365 BC) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially t ...

Euclid of Megara
. Two others were long-lasting:
Cynicism Cynic or Cynicism may refer to: Modes of thought * Cynicism (philosophy), a school of ancient Greek philosophy * Cynicism (contemporary), modern use of the word for distrust of others' motives Books * ''The Cynic'', James Gordon Stuart Grant 1875 ...
, founded by
Antisthenes Antisthenes (; el, Ἀντισθένης; c. 446c. 366 BC) was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. Antisthenes first learned rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...
, and Cyrenaicism, founded by
Aristippus Aristippus of Cyrene Cyrene may refer to: Antiquity * Cyrene (mythology), an ancient Greek mythological figure * Cyrene, Libya, an ancient Greek colony in North Africa (modern Libya) ** Crete and Cyrenaica, a province of the Roman Empire ** Cyr ...

Aristippus
. The Cynics considered life's purpose to live in virtue, in agreement with nature, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, and fame, leading a simple life free from all possessions. The Cyrenaics promoted a philosophy nearly opposite that of the Cynics, endorsing
hedonism Hedonism refers to a family of theories, all of which have in common that ''pleasure Pleasure refers to experience that feels good, that involves the enjoyment of something. It contrasts with pain Pain is a distressing feeling often cau ...
, holding that pleasure was the supreme good, especially immediate gratifications; and that people could only know their own experiences, beyond that truth was unknowable. The final school of philosophy to be established during the Classical period was the
Peripatetic school The Peripatetic school was a school of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, m ...
, founded by Plato's student,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
. Aristotle wrote widely about topics of philosophical concern, including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, politics, and logic.
Aristotelian logic In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, langu ...
was the first type of
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
to attempt to categorize every valid
syllogism A syllogism ( grc-gre, συλλογισμός, ''syllogismos'', 'conclusion, inference') is a kind of logical argument In logic and philosophy, an argument is a series of statements (in a natural language), called the premises or premisses (bo ...
. His epistemology comprised an early form
empiricism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...
. Aristotle criticized Plato's
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
as being poetic metaphor, with its greatest failing being the lack of an explanation for
change Change or Changing may refer to: Alteration * Impermanence Impermanence, also known as the philosophical problem This is a list of the major unsolved problems in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundam ...

change
. Aristotle proposed the
four causes The four causes or four explanations are, in Aristotelianism, Aristotelian thought, four fundamental types of answer to the question "why?", in Posterior Analytics, analysis of change or movement in nature: the Four_causes#Material, material, the ...
model to explain change - material, efficient, formal, and final - all of which were grounded on what Aristotle termed the ''
unmoved mover The unmoved mover ( grc, ὃ οὐ κινούμενον κινεῖ, ho ou kinoúmenon kineî, that which moves without being moved) or prime mover ( la, primum movens) is a concept advanced by Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτ ...
''. His ethical views identified
eudaimonia Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, Greek: :Wiktionary:εὐδαιμονία, εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonl ...
as the ultimate good, as it was good in itself. He thought that eudaimonia could be achieved by living according to human nature, which is to live with reason and virtue, defining ''virtue'' as the golden mean between extremes. Aristotle saw politics as the highest art, as all other pursuits are subservient to its goal of improving society. The state should aim to maximize the opportunities for the pursuit of reason and virtue through leisure, learning, and contemplation. Aristotle tutored
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
, who conquered much of the ancient Western world.
Hellenization Hellenization (other British spelling Hellenisation) or Hellenism is the adoption of Greek culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as t ...
and
Aristotelian philosophy Aristotelianism ( ) is a philosophical tradition inspired by the work of Aristotle, usually characterized by Prior Analytics, deductive logic and an posterior analytics, analytic inductive method in the study of nature and Natural_law#Aristotle, na ...
have exercised considerable influence on almost all subsequent Western and Middle Eastern philosophers.


Hellenistic and Roman philosophy

The
Hellenistic The Hellenistic period spans the period of Mediterranean history The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, We ...
and saw the continuation of
Aristotelianism Aristotelianism ( ) is a philosophical tradition inspired by the work of Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philo ...
and
Cynicism Cynic or Cynicism may refer to: Modes of thought * Cynicism (philosophy), a school of ancient Greek philosophy * Cynicism (contemporary), modern use of the word for distrust of others' motives Books * ''The Cynic'', James Gordon Stuart Grant 1875 ...
, and the emergence of new philosophies, including
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism Philosophical skepticism (American and British English spelling differences, UK spelling: scepticism; from Ancient Greek, Greek σκέψις ''skepsis'', "inquiry") is a family of Philosophy, p ...
,
Epicureanism Epicureanism is a system of founded around 307 BC based upon the teachings of the . Epicureanism was originally a challenge to . Later its main opponent became . Few writings by Epicurus have survived. However, there are independent attestat ...
,
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, s ...
, and
Neopythagoreanism Neopythagoreanism (or neo-Pythagoreanism) was a school of which revived . Neopythagoreanism was influenced by and in turn influenced . It originated in the 1st century BC and flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The describes neopyt ...
.
Platonism Platonism is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy o ...
also continued but came under new interpretations, particularly
Academic skepticism Academic skepticism refers to the philosophical skepticism, skeptical period of ancient Platonism dating from around 266 BC, when Arcesilaus became scholarch of the Platonic Academy, until around 90 BC, when Antiochus of Ascalon rejected skepticism ...
in the Hellenistic period and
Neoplatonism Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonic philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, m ...
in the Imperial period. The traditions of Greek philosophy heavily influenced Roman philosophy. In Imperial times, Epicureanism and Stoicism were particularly popular. The various schools of philosophy proposed various and conflicting methods for attaining
eudaimonia Eudaimonia (Ancient Greek, Greek: :Wiktionary:εὐδαιμονία, εὐδαιμονία ; sometimes anglicized as eudaemonia or eudemonia, ) is a Greek word literally translating to the state or condition of 'good spirit', and which is commonl ...
. For some schools, it was through internal means, such as calmness, ''
ataraxia ''Ataraxia'' (Greek: ἀταραξία, from alpha privativeAn alpha privative or, rarely, privative a (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin ...
'' (ἀταραξία), or indifference, ''
apatheia Apatheia ( el, ἀπάθεια; from ''a-'' "without" and ''pathos'' "suffering" or "passion"), in Stoicism Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of pe ...

apatheia
'' (ἀπάθεια), which was possibly caused by the increased insecurity of the era. The aim of the Cynics was to live according to nature and against convention with courage and self-control. This was directly inspiring to the founder of
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, s ...
,
Zeno of Citium Zeno of Citium (; grc-x-koine, Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς, ; c. 334 – c. 262 BC) was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emerg ...

Zeno of Citium
, who took up the Cynic ideals of steadfastness and self-discipline, but applied the concept of ''apatheia'' to personal circumstances rather than social norms, and switched shameless flouting of the latter for a resolute fulfillment of social duties. The ideal of 'living in accordance with nature' also continued, with this being seen as the way to ''eudaimonia,'' which in this case was identified as the freedom from fears and desires and required choosing how to respond to external circumstances, as the quality of life was seen as based on one's beliefs about it. An alternative view was presented by the
Cyrenaics The Cyrenaics or Kyrenaics ( grc, Κυρηναϊκοί; ''Kyrēnaïkoí'') were a sensual hedonist Greek school of philosophy founded in the 4th century BCE, supposedly by Aristippus of Cyrene, although many of the principles of the school are ...
and the
Epicureans Roman Epicurus bust Epicureanism is a system of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosoph ...
. The Cyrenaics were
hedonists Hedonism refers to a family of theories, all of which have in common that ''pleasure'' plays a central role in them. ''Psychological'' or ''motivational hedonism'' claims that our behavior is determined by desires to increase pleasure and to decr ...
and believed that pleasure was the supreme good in life, especially physical pleasure, which they thought more intense and more desirable than mental pleasures. The followers of
Epicurus Epicurus, ''Epíkouros'', "ally, comrade" (341–270 BC) was an and who founded , a highly influential school of . He was born on the Greek island of to parents. Influenced by , , , and possibly the , he turned against the of his day and e ...

Epicurus
also identified "the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain" as the ultimate goal of life, but noted that "We do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or of sensuality . . . we mean the absence of pain in the body and trouble in the mind". This brought hedonism back to the search for ''ataraxia''.Another important strand of thought in post-Classical Western thought was the question of skepticism. Pyrrho of Elis, a Democritus, Democritean philosopher, Indian campaign of Alexander the Great, traveled to India with
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
's army where Pyrrho was influenced by Buddhism, Buddhist teachings, most particularly the three marks of existence. After returning to Greece, Pyrrho started a new school of philosophy,
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism Philosophical skepticism (American and British English spelling differences, UK spelling: scepticism; from Ancient Greek, Greek σκέψις ''skepsis'', "inquiry") is a family of Philosophy, p ...
, which taught that it is one's opinions about non-evident matters (i.e., dogma) that prevent one from attaining ''ataraxia''. To bring the mind to ''ataraxia'', Pyrrhonism uses ''epoché'' (suspension of judgment) regarding all non-evident propositions. After Arcesilaus became head of the Academy, he adopted skepticism as a central tenet of
Platonism Platonism is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy o ...
, making Platonism nearly the same as
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism Philosophical skepticism (American and British English spelling differences, UK spelling: scepticism; from Ancient Greek, Greek σκέψις ''skepsis'', "inquiry") is a family of Philosophy, p ...
. After Arcesilaus, Academic skepticism diverged from Pyrrhonism. The Academic skeptics did not doubt the existence of
truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In ...

truth
; they just doubted that humans had the capacities for obtaining it. They based this position on Plato's ''Phaedo (dialogue), Phaedo'', sections 64–67, in which Socrates discusses how knowledge is not accessible to mortals. Following the end of the skeptical period of the Academy with Antiochus of Ascalon, Platonic thought entered the period of Middle Platonism, which absorbed ideas from the Peripatetic and Stoic schools. More extreme syncretism was done by Numenius of Apamea, who combined it with
Neopythagoreanism Neopythagoreanism (or neo-Pythagoreanism) was a school of which revived . Neopythagoreanism was influenced by and in turn influenced . It originated in the 1st century BC and flourished during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The describes neopyt ...
. Also affected by the Neopythagoreans, the Neoplatonism, Neoplatonists, first of them Plotinus, argued that mind exists before matter, and that the universe has a singular cause which must therefore be a single mind. As such, Neoplatonism become essentially a religion, and had much impact on Neoplatonism and Christianity, later Christian thought.


Medieval

Medieval philosophy roughly extends from the Christianization of the Roman Empire until the Renaissance. It is defined partly by the rediscovery and further development of classical Greek philosophy, Greek and Hellenistic philosophy, and partly by the need to address theological problems and to integrate the then-widespread sacred doctrines of Abrahamic religion (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) with Secularism, secular learning. Some problems discussed throughout this period are the relation of faith to reason, the existence and unity of God, the object of theology and
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
, the problems of knowledge, of universals, and of individuation. A prominent figure of this period was Augustine of Hippo, one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity. Augustine adopted Plato's thought and Christianized it. His influence dominated medieval philosophy perhaps up to the end of era and the rediscovery of Aristotle's texts. Augustinianism was the preferred starting point for most philosophers up until the 13th century. Among the issues his philosophy touched upon were the problem of evil, Just war theory, just war and what time is. On the problem of evil, he argued that evil was a necessary product of human free will. When this raised the issue of the incompatibility of free will and Omniscience, divine foreknowledge, both he and Boethius solved the issue by arguing that God did not see the future, but rather stood outside of time entirely. An influential school of thought was that of scholasticism, which is not so much a philosophy or a theology as a Philosophical methodology, methodology, as it places a strong emphasis on dialectical reasoning to extend knowledge by inference and to resolve contradictions. Scholastic thought is also known for rigorous conceptual analysis and the careful drawing of distinctions. In the classroom and in writing, it often takes the form of explicit disputation; a topic drawn from the tradition is broached in the form of a question, oppositional responses are given, a counterproposal is argued and oppositional arguments rebutted. Because of its emphasis on rigorous dialectical method, scholasticism was eventually applied to many other fields of study.Patte, Daniel. ''The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity.'' Ed. Daniel Patte. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010, 11132-1133 Anselm of Canterbury (called the 'father of scholasticism') argued that the existence of God could be irrefutably proved with the logical conclusion apparent in the ontological argument, according to which God is by definition the greatest thing in conceivable, and since an existing thing is greater than a non-existing one, it must be that God exists or is not the greatest thing conceivable (the latter being by definition impossible). A refutation of this was offered by Gaunilo of Marmoutiers, who applied the same logic to an imagined island, arguing that somewhere there must exist a perfect island using the same steps of reasoning (therefore leading to Reductio ad absurdum, an absurd outcome).Boethius also worked on the problem of Universal (metaphysics), universals, arguing that they did not exist independently as claimed by Plato, but still believed, in line with Aristotle, that they existed in the substance of particular things. Another important figure for scholasticism, Peter Abelard, extended this to nominalism, which states (in complete opposition to Plato) that universals were in fact just names given to characteristics shared by particulars.Thomas Aquinas, an academic philosopher and the father of Thomism, was immensely influential in medieval Christendom. He was influenced by newly discovered
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
, and aimed to reconcile his philosophy with Christian theology. Aiming to develop an understanding of the soul, he was led to consider metaphysical questions of Substance theory, substance, matter, form, and change. He defined a material substance as the combination of an essence and accidental features, with the essence being a combination of matter and form, similar to the Aristotelian view. For humans, the soul is the essence. Also influenced by Plato, he saw the soul as unchangeable and independent of the body. Other Western philosophers from the Middle Ages include John Scotus Eriugena, Gilbert de la Porrée, Peter Lombard, Hildegard of Bingen, Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, Bonaventure, Peter John Olivi, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Robert Kilwardby, Albertus Magnus, Henry of Ghent, Duns Scotus, Marguerite Porete, Dante Alighieri, Marsilius of Padua, William of Ockham, Jean Buridan, Nicholas of Autrecourt, Meister Eckhart, Catherine of Siena, Jean Gerson, and John Wycliffe. The medieval tradition of scholasticism continued to flourish as late as the 17th century, in figures such as Francisco Suárez and John of St. Thomas. During the Middle Ages, Western philosophy was also influenced by the Jewish philosophers Maimonides and Gersonides; and the Muslim philosophers Al-Kindi, Alkindus, Al-Farabi, Alfarabi, Ibn al-Haytham, Alhazen, Avicenna, Al-Ghazali, Algazel, Avempace, Ibn Tufail, Abubacer, Ibn Khaldūn, and Averroes.


Renaissance

The Renaissance ("rebirth") was a period of transition between the Middle Ages and modern thought, in which the recovery of Ancient Greek philosophy, ancient Greek philosophical texts helped shift philosophical interests away from technical studies in logic, metaphysics, and theology towards eclectic inquiries into morality, philology, and mysticism.Frederick Copleston, ''A History of Philosophy, Volume III: From Ockham to Suarez'' (The Newman Press, 1953), p. 18: "When one looks at Renaissance philosophy ... one is faced at first sight with a rather bewildering assortment of philosophies."Brian Copenhaver and Charles Schmitt, ''Renaissance Philosophy'' (Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 4: "one may identify the hallmark of Renaissance philosophy as an accelerated and enlarged interest, stimulated by newly available texts, in primary sources of Greek and Roman thought that were previously unknown or partially known or little read." The study of the classics and the humane arts generally, such as history and literature, enjoyed a scholarly interest hitherto unknown in Christendom, a tendency referred to as humanism.Frederick Copleston, ''A History of Philosophy, Volume III: From Ockham to Suarez'' (The Newman Press, 1953), p. 29: "The bulk of Renaissance thinkers, scholars and scientists were, of course, Christians ... but none the less the classical revival ... helped to bring to the fore a conception of autonomous man or an idea of the development of the human personality, which, though generally Christian, was more 'naturalistic' and less ascetic than the mediaeval conception." Displacing the medieval interest in metaphysics and logic, the humanists followed Petrarch in making humanity and its virtues the focus of philosophy. At the point of passage from Renaissance into early/classical modern philosophy, the dialogue was used as a primary style of writing by Renaissance philosophers, such as Giordano Bruno. The dividing line between what is classified as Renaissance versus modern philosophy is disputed.


Modern

The term "modern philosophy" has multiple usages. For example, Thomas Hobbes is sometimes considered the first modern philosopher because he applied a systematic method to political philosophy. By contrast, René Descartes is often considered the first modern philosopher because he grounded his philosophy in problems of ''knowledge'', rather than problems of metaphysics. Modern philosophy and especially Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment philosophy is distinguished by its increasing independence from traditional authorities such as the Church, academia, and Aristotelianism;Steven Nadler, ''A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy'', 2008, pp. 1–2: "By the seventeenth century [...] it had become more common to find original philosophical minds working outside the strictures of the university—i.e., ecclesiastic—framework. [...] by the end of the eighteenth century, [philosophy] was a secular enterprise."Anthony Kenny, ''A New History of Western Philosophy'', vol. 3 (Oxford University Press, 2006), p. xii: "To someone approaching the early modern period of philosophy from an ancient and medieval background the most striking feature of the age is the absence of Aristotle from the philosophic scene." a new focus on the foundations of knowledge and metaphysical system-building;Donald Rutherford (philosopher), Donald Rutherford, ''The Cambridge Companion to Early Modern Philosophy'' (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 1: "epistemology assumes a new significance in the early modern period as philosophers strive to define the conditions and limits of human knowledge."Kenny, ''A New History of Western Philosophy'', vol. 3, p. 211: "The period between Descartes and Hegel was the great age of metaphysical system-building." and the emergence of modern physics out of natural philosophy.Kenny, ''A New History of Western Philosophy'', vol. 3, pp. 179–180: "the seventeenth century saw the gradual separation of the old discipline of natural philosophy into the science of physics [...] [b]y the nineteenth century physics was a fully mature empirical science, operating independently of philosophy."


Early modern (17th and 18th centuries)

Some central topics of Western philosophy in its Early modern philosophy, early modern (also classical modern)Richard Schacht, ''Classical Modern Philosophers: Descartes to Kant'', Routledge, 2013, p. 1: "Seven men have come to stand out from all of their counterparts in what has come to be known as the 'modern' period in the history of philosophy (i.e., the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries): Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant". period include the nature of the mind and its relation to the body, the implications of the new natural sciences for traditional theological topics such as free will and God, and the emergence of a secular basis for moral and political philosophy.Kenny, ''A New History of Western Philosophy'', vol. 3, pp. 212–331. These trends first distinctively coalesce in Francis Bacon's call for a new, empirical program for expanding knowledge, and soon found massively influential form in the mechanical physics and rationalist metaphysics of René Descartes.Nadler, ''A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy'', pp. 2–3: "Why should the early modern period in philosophy begin with Descartes and Bacon, for example, rather than with Erasmus and Montaigne? [...] Suffice it to say that at the beginning of the seventeenth century, and especially with Bacon and Descartes, certain questions and concerns come to the fore—a variety of issues that motivated the inquiries and debates that would characterize much philosophical thinking for the next two centuries." Descartes' epistemology was based on a method called Cartesian doubt, whereby only the most certain belief could act as the foundation for further inquiry, with each step to further ideas being as cautious and clear as possible. This led him to his famous maxim ''Cogito, ergo sum, cogito ergo sum'' ('I think, therefore I exist'), though similar arguments had been made by earlier philosophers. This became foundational for much of further Western philosophy, as the need to find a route from the private world of consciousness to the externally existing reality was widely accepted until the 20th century. A major issue for his thought remained in the mind–body problem, however. One solution to the problem was presented by Baruch Spinoza, who argued that the mind and the body are Monism, one substance. This was based on his view that God and the universe are one and the same, encompassing the totality of existence. In the other extreme, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, argued instead that the world was composed of numerous individual substances, called Monad (philosophy), monads. Together, Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz are considered influential early Rationalism, rationalists. In contrast to Descartes, Thomas Hobbes was a Materialism, materialist who believed that everything was physical, and an empiricist who thought that all knowledge comes from sensation which is triggered by objects existing in the external world, with thought being a kind of computation. John Locke was another classic empiricist, with his arguments helping it overtake rationalism as the generally preferred approach. Together with David Hume, they form the core of 'British empiricism'. George Berkeley agreed with empiricism, but instead of believing in an ultimate reality which created perceptions, argued in favour Subjective idealism, immaterialism and the world existing as Solipsism, a result of being perceived. In contrast, the Cambridge Platonists continued to represent rationalism in Britain. In terms of political philosophy, arguments often started from arguing over the first principles of human nature through the through experiment of what the world would look like without society, a scenario referred to as the state of nature. Hobbes believed that this would be a violent and anarchic, calling life under such a state of affairs "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". To prevent this, he believed that the sovereign of the state should have essentially unlimited power. In contrast, Locke believed the state of nature be one where individuals enjoyed freedom, but that some of that (excluding those covered by Natural rights and legal rights, natural rights) had to be given up when forming a society, but not to the degree of absolute rule. Jean-Jacques Rousseau meanwhile argued that in nature people were living in a Noble savage, peaceful and comfortable state, and that the formation of society led to the rise of Social inequality, inequality. The approximate end of the early modern period is most often identified with Immanuel Kant, Immanuel Kant's systematic attempt to limit metaphysics, justify scientific knowledge, and reconcile both of these with morality and freedom.Kenny, ''A New History of Western Philosophy'', vol. 3, p. xiii.Nadler, ''A Companion to Early Modern Philosophy'', p. 3. Whereas the rationalists had believed that knowledge came from A priori and a posteriori, ''a priori'' reasoning, the empiricists had argued that it came from ''a posteriori'' sensory experience, Kant aimed to reconcile these views by arguing that the mind uses ''a priori'' understanding to interpret the ''a posteriori'' experiences. He had been inspired to take this approach by the philosophy of Hume, who argued that the mechanisms of the mind gave people the perception of Causality, cause and effect. Many other contributors were philosophers, scientists, medical doctors, and politicians. A short list includes Galileo Galilei, Pierre Gassendi, Blaise Pascal, Nicolas Malebranche, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Christiaan Huygens, Isaac Newton, Christian Wolff (philosopher), Christian Wolff, Montesquieu, Pierre Bayle, Thomas Reid, Jean le Rond d'Alembert and Adam Smith.


Late modern (19th century)

Late modern period, Late modern philosophy is usually considered to begin around the pivotal year of 1781, when Gotthold Ephraim Lessing died and Immanuel Kant's ''Critique of Pure Reason'' appeared. The 19th century saw the beginnings of would later grow into the divide between Continental philosophy, Continental and Analytic philosophy, analytic traditions of philosophy, with the former more interested in general frameworks of metaphysics (more common in the German-speaking world), and the latter focusing on issues of epistemology, ethics, law and politics (more common in the English-speaking world). German philosophy exercised broad influence in this century, owing in part to the dominance of the German university system. German idealists, such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and the members of Jena Romanticism (Friedrich Hölderlin, Novalis, and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel), transformed the work of Kant by maintaining that the world is constituted by a rational or mind-like process, and as such is entirely knowable. Hegel argued that history was the dialectical journey of the Geist (universal mind) towards self-fulfilment and self-realization. The Geist's self-awareness is absolute knowledge, which itself brings complete freedom. His philosophy was based on absolute idealism, with reality itself being mental. His legacy was divided between the conservative Right Hegelians and radical Young Hegelians, with the latter including David Strauss and Ludwig Feuerbach. Feuerbach argued for a materialist conception of Hegel's thought, inspiring Karl Marx.Arthur Schopenhauer was inspired by Kant and Indian philosophy. Accepting Kant's division of the world into the Noumenon, noumenal (the real) and Phenomenon, phenomenal (the apparent) realities, he nevertheless disagreed on the accessibility of former, arguing that it could in fact be accessed. The experience of Will (philosophy), will was how this reality was accessible, with the will underlying the whole of nature, with everything else being appearance. Whereas he believed the frustration of this will was the cause of suffering, Friedrich Nietzsche thought that the will to power was empowering, leading to growth and expansion, and therefore forming the basis of ethics. Jeremy Bentham established utilitarianism, which was a Consequentialism, consequentialist ethic based on 'the greatest happiness for the greatest number', an idea taken from Cesare Beccaria. He believed that any act could be measured by its value in this regard through the application of felicific calculus. His associate James Mill, James Mill's son John Stuart Mill subsequently took up his thought. However, in contrast to the Hedonism, valuation of pure pleasure in Bentham's work, Mill divided pleasures into higher and lower kinds. Logic began a period of its most significant advances since the inception of the discipline, as increasing mathematical precision opened entire fields of inference to formalization in the work of George Boole and Gottlob Frege. Other philosophers who initiated lines of thought that would continue to shape philosophy into the 20th century include: * Gottlob Frege and Henry Sidgwick, whose work in logic and ethics, respectively, provided the tools for early analytic philosophy. * Charles Sanders Peirce and William James, who founded pragmatism. * Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche, who laid the groundwork for existentialism and post-structuralism.


Contemporary (20th and 21st centuries)

The three major contemporary approaches to academic philosophy are analytic philosophy, continental philosophy and pragmatism. They are neither exhaustive nor mutually exclusive. The 20th-century philosophy, 20th century deals with the upheavals produced by a series of conflicts within philosophical discourse over the basis of knowledge, with classical certainties overthrown, and new social, economic, scientific and logical problems. 20th-century philosophy was set for a series of attempts to reform and preserve and to alter or abolish, older knowledge systems. Seminal figures include Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre. The publication of Husserl's ''Logical Investigations (Husserl), Logical Investigations'' (1900–1) and Russell's ''The Principles of Mathematics'' (1903) is considered to mark the beginning of 20th-century philosophy. The 20th century also saw the increasing professionalization of the discipline and the beginning of the current (contemporary) era of philosophy. Since the Second World War, contemporary philosophy has been divided mostly into Analytic philosophy, analytic and Continental philosophy, continental traditions; the former carried in the English speaking world and the latter on the continent of Europe. The perceived conflict between continental and analytic schools of philosophy remains prominent, despite increasing skepticism regarding the distinction's usefulness.


Analytic philosophy

In the English-speaking world, analytic philosophy became the dominant school for much of the 20th century. The term "analytic philosophy" roughly designates a group of philosophical methods that stress detailed argumentation, attention to semantics, use of classical logic and non-classical logic and clarity of meaning above all other criteria. Though the movement has broadened, it was a cohesive school in the first half of the century. Analytic philosophers were shaped strongly by logical positivism, united by the notion that philosophical problems could and should be solved by attention to
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning. Informal logic seeks to characterize Validity (logic), valid arguments informally, for instance by listing varieties of fallacies. Formal logic represents statements and ar ...

logic
and language.


= Logic

= Gottlob Frege's ''The Foundations of Arithmetic'' (1884) was the first analytic work, according to Michael Dummett (''Origins of Analytical Philosophy'', 1993). Frege was the first to take 'the linguistic turn,' analyzing philosophical problems through language. He invented a formal notational system for logic. His stance was one of anti-psychologism, arguing that logical truths were independent of the human minds discovering them. Bertrand Russell and G. E. Moore are also often counted as founders of analytic philosophy. They believed that philosophy should be based on analysing propositions. Russell wrote ''Principia Mathematica'' (with
Alfred North Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of ...
) to apply this to mathematics, while Moore did the same for ethics with ''Principia Ethica''. Russell's attempts to find a foundation for mathematics led him to Russell's paradox, which caused Frege to abandon logicism. Russell espoused logical atomism, declaring that "logic is the essence of philosophy". In his ''Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,'' Ludwig Wittgenstein put forward a refined version of this view. Wittgenstein, Russell's 'disciple', argued that the problems of philosophy were simply products of language which were actually meaningless. This was based on the Picture theory of language, picture theory of meaning. Wittgenstein later changed his conception of how language works, arguing instead that it has many different uses, which he called different Language game (philosophy), language games.


= Philosophy of science

= The logical positivists of the Vienna Circle started as a study group of Russell and Whitehead. They argued that the arguments of metaphysics, ethics and theology were meaningless, as they were not logically or empirically verifiable. This was based on their division of meaningful statements into either the analytic (logical and mathematical statements) and the synthetic (scientific claims). Moritz Schlick and Rudolf Carnap argued that science rested at its roots on direct observation, but Otto Neurath noted that observation already requires theory in order to have meaning. Another participant in the Circle was Carnap's self-confessed disciple, Willard Van Orman Quine. In 'Two Dogmas of Empiricism', Quine criticized the distinction between analytic and synthetic statements. Instead, he advocated for a 'web of belief' approach, whereby all beliefs come from contact with reality (including mathematical ones), but with some being further removed from this contact than others. Another former participant in the Circle was Karl Popper. He argued that verificationism was logically incoherent, promoting instead Falsifiability, falsificationism as the basis for science. A further advancement in the philosophy of science was made by Imre Lakatos, who argued that negative findings in individual tests did not falsify theories, but rather entire research programmes would eventually fail explain phenomena. Thomas Kuhn further argued that science was composed of paradigms, which would eventually Paradigm shift, shift when evidence accumulated against them. Based on the idea that different paradigms had different meanings of expressions, Paul Feyerabend went further in arguing for
relativism Relativism is a family of philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical or mental reality Reality ...
in science.


= Philosophy of language

= Wittgenstein had first brought up the idea that ordinary language could solve philosophical problems. A loosely associated group of philosophers later became known as practitioners of ordinary language philosophy. It included Gilbert Ryle, J. L. Austin, R. M. Hare, and P. F. Strawson. They believed that as philosophy was not science, it could only be advanced through careful conceptual clarification and connection instead of observation and experimentation. However, they had given up the earlier analytic pursuit of using formal logic to express an Ideal language philosophy, ideal language, but did nevertheless share the scepticism of metaphysical grand theories. Unlike Wittgenstein, they believed only some problems of philosophy to be artifacts of language. This approach has been described as the linguistic turn of analytic philosophy. Ryle introduced the concept of category mistake, which described the misapplication of a concept in the wrong context (which he accused Descartes of doing with the ghost in the machine). One of Austin's key insights was that some language perform a Perlocutionary act, perlocutionary function (creating by themselves an effect on the world), thereby being speech acts. This idea was later taken up by John Searle. In the final third of the 20th century, philosophy of language emerged as its own programme. The theory of meaning became central to this programme. Donald Davidson (philosopher), Donald Davidson argued that meaning could be understood through a theory of
truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact A fact is something that is true True most commonly refers to truth Truth is the property of being in accord with fact or reality.Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionarytruth 2005 In ...

truth
. This was based on the work of Alfred Tarski. Empirically, Davidson would find the meaning of words in different languages by linking them with the objective conditions of their utterance, which established their truthness. Meaning therefore emerges from the consensus of interpretations of speaker behaviour. Michael Dummett argued against this view on the basis of its Philosophical realism, realism. This was because realism would make the truthness of many sentences beyond measurability. Instead, he argued for verifiability, based on the idea that one could recognise the proof of truth when offered it. Alternative to these, Paul Grice put forward a theory that meaning was based on the intention of the speaker, which over time becomes established after repeated use. Theories of reference were another major strand of thought on language. Frege had argued that Proper and common nouns, proper names were linked to its referent through a description of what the name refers to. Russell agreed with this, adding that "this" can replace a description in cases of familiarity. Later, Searle and Strawson expanded these ideas by noting that a cluster of descriptions , each of them usable, may be used by linguistic communities. Keith Donnellan further argued that sometimes a description could be wrong but still make the correct reference, this being different from the attributive use of a description. He, as well as Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam independently, argued that often the referents of proper names are not based on description, but rather on a history of usage passing through users. Towards the end of the century, philosophy of language began to diverge in two directions: the philosophy of mind, and more specific study of particular aspects of language, the latter supported by linguistics.


= Philosophy of mind

= Early Type physicalism, identity theories of mind in the 1950s and '60s were based on the work of Ullin Place, Herbert Feigl, and J. J. C. Smart. While earlier philosophers such as the Logical Positivists, Quine, Wittgenstein, and Ryle had all used some form of behaviorism to dispense with the mental, they believed that behaviorism was insufficient in explaining many aspects of mental phenomena. Feigl argued that Intentionality, intentional states could not be thus explained. Instead, he espoused externalism. Place meanwhile argued that the mind could be reduced to physical events, while Feigl and Sense agreed they were identical. Functionalism (philosophy of mind), Functionalism in contrast argued that the mind was defined by what it does, rather than what it is based on. To argue against this, John Searle developed the Chinese room thought experiment. Davidson argued for anomalous monism, which claims that while mental events cause physical ones, and the all causal relations are governed by natural laws, there are however no natural laws governing the causality between mental and physical events. This anomaly in the name was explained by supervenience. In 1970, Keith Campbell (philosopher), Keith Campbell proposed a "new epiphenomenalism", according to which the body produces the mind that does not act on the body, a process which he claims is destined to remain New mysterianism, mysterious. Paul Churchland and Patricia Churchland argued for eliminative materialism, which claims that understanding the brain will lead to a complete understanding of the mind. This was based on developments in neuroscience. However, physicalist theories of mind have had to grapple with the issue of Qualia, subjective experience raised by Thomas Nagel in ''What Is It Like to Be a Bat?'' and Frank Cameron Jackson, Frank Cameron Jackson's so-called knowledge argument. David Chalmers also argued against physicalism in the philosophical zombie argument. He further noted that subjective experience posed the hard problem of consciousness. The inability of physicalist theories to explain conscious feeling has been termed the explanatory gap. In contrast, Daniel Dennett has claimed that no such gap exists as subjective experiences are a 'philosophical fiction'.


= Ethics

= Ethics in 20th century analytic philosophy has been argued to have began with Moore's ''Principia Ethica''. Moore argued that what is good cannot be defined. Instead, he saw ethical behaviour a result of intuition, which led to non-cognitivism. W. D. Ross in contrast argued that duty formed the basis for ethics. Russell's meta-ethical thought anticipated emotivism and Moral nihilism, error theory. This was supported by the logical positivists, and later popularised by A. J. Ayer. Charles Stevenson (philosopher), Charles Stevenson also argued that ethical terms were expressions of emotive meanings by speakers. R. M. Hare aimed to expand their meaning from mere expressions, to also being prescriptions which are universalizable. J. L. Mackie supported error theory on the basis that objective values do not exist, as they are Cultural relativism, culturally relative and would be metaphysically strange. Another strand of ethical thinking began with G. E. M. Anscombe arguing in 1958 that both consequentialism and deontology were based on obligation, which could not function without divine authority, instead promoting virtue ethics. Other notable virtue ethicists included Philippa Foot and Alasdair MacIntyre. The latter combined it with communitarianism.


= Other branches

= Notable students of Quine include Donald Davidson (philosopher), Donald Davidson and Daniel Dennett. The later work of Russell and the philosophy of Willard Van Orman Quine are influential exemplars of the naturalist approach dominant in analytic philosophy in the second half of the 20th century. But the diversity of analytic philosophy from the 1970s onward defies easy generalization: the naturalism of Quine and his epigoni was in some precincts superseded by a "new metaphysics" of possible worlds, as in the influential work of David Kellogg Lewis, David Lewis. Recently, the experimental philosophy movement has sought to reappraise philosophical problems through social science research techniques. Some influential figures in contemporary analytic philosophy are: Timothy Williamson, David Kellogg Lewis, David Lewis, John Searle, Thomas Nagel, Hilary Putnam, Michael Dummett, John McDowell, Saul Kripke, Peter van Inwagen, and Patricia Churchland. Analytic philosophy has sometimes been accused of not contributing to the political debate or to traditional questions in aesthetics. However, with the appearance of ''A Theory of Justice'' by John Rawls and ''Anarchy, State, and Utopia'' by Robert Nozick, analytic political philosophy acquired respectability. Analytic philosophers have also shown depth in their investigations of aesthetics, with Roger Scruton, Nelson Goodman, Arthur Danto and others developing the subject to its current shape.


Continental philosophy

Continental philosophy is a set of 19th- and 20th-century philosophical traditions from mainland Europe. 20th-century movements such as German idealism, Phenomenology (philosophy), phenomenology, existentialism, Hermeneutics#Philosophical hermeneutics, modern hermeneutics (the theory and methodology of interpretation), critical theory, structuralism, post-structuralism and others are included within this loose category. While identifying any non-trivial common factor in all these schools of thought is bound to be controversial, Michael E. Rosen has hypothesized a few common continental themes: that the natural sciences cannot replace the human sciences; that the thinker is affected by the conditions of experience (one's place and time in history); that philosophy is both theoretical and practical; that metaphilosophy or reflection upon the methods and nature of philosophy itself is an important part of philosophy proper. The founder of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl, sought to study consciousness as experienced from a first-person perspective, while Martin Heidegger drew on the ideas of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Husserl to propose an unconventional existential approach to ontology. Phenomenologically oriented metaphysics undergirded existentialism—Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Albert Camus—and finally post-structuralism—Gilles Deleuze, Jean-François Lyotard (best known for his articulation of postmodernism), Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida (best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as deconstruction). The Psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, and others has also been influential in contemporary continental thought. Conversely, some philosophers have attempted to define and rehabilitate older traditions of philosophy. Most notably, Hans-Georg Gadamer and Alasdair MacIntyre have both, albeit in different ways, revived the tradition of
Aristotelianism Aristotelianism ( ) is a philosophical tradition inspired by the work of Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philo ...
.


=Existentialism

= Existentialism is a term applied to the work of a number of late 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences,''Oxford Companion to Philosophy'', ed. Ted Honderich, New York (1995), page 259. shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual. In existentialism, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation and confusion in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world. Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophy, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience. Although they did not use the term, the 19th-century philosophers Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche are widely regarded as the fathers of existentialism. Their influence, however, has extended beyond existentialist thought.


=German idealism

= German idealism emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant in the 1780s and 1790s. Transcendental idealism, advocated by Immanuel Kant, is the view that there are limits on what can be understood since there is much that cannot be brought under the conditions of objective judgment. Kant wrote his ''Critique of Pure Reason'' (1781) in an attempt to reconcile the conflicting approaches of rationalism and empiricism, and to establish a new groundwork for studying metaphysics. Although Kant held that objective knowledge of the world required the mind to impose a Conceptual framework, conceptual or categorical framework on the stream of pure sensory data—a framework including space and time themselves—he maintained that Thing-in-itself, things-in-themselves existed independently of human perceptions and judgments; he was therefore not an idealist in any simple sense. Kant's account of things-in-themselves is both controversial and highly complex. Continuing his work, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, Friedrich Schelling dispensed with belief in the independent existence of the world, and created a thoroughgoing idealist philosophy. The most notable work of absolute idealism was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, G. W. F. Hegel's ''Phenomenology of Spirit'', of 1807. Hegel admitted his ideas were not new, but that all the previous philosophies had been incomplete. His goal was to correctly finish their job. Hegel asserts that the twin aims of philosophy are to account for the contradictions apparent in human experience (which arise, for instance, out of the supposed contradictions between "being" and "not being"), and also simultaneously to resolve and preserve these contradictions by showing their compatibility at a higher level of examination ("being" and "not being" are resolved with "becoming"). This program of acceptance and reconciliation of contradictions is known as the "Hegelian dialectic". Philosophers influenced by Hegel include Ludwig Feuerbach, who coined the term "projection" as pertaining to humans' inability to recognize anything in the external world without projecting qualities of ourselves upon those things; Karl Marx; Friedrich Engels; and the British idealism, British idealists, notably T. H. Green, J. M. E. McTaggart, F. H. Bradley, and R. G. Collingwood. Few 20th-century philosophers embraced the core tenets of German idealism after the demise of British idealism. However, quite a few have embraced Hegelian dialectic, most notably Frankfurt School critical theorists, Alexandre Kojève, Jean-Paul Sartre (in his ''Critique of Dialectical Reason''), and Slavoj Žižek. A central theme of German idealism, the legitimacy of Kant's "Copernican Revolution#Immanuel Kant, Copernican revolution", remains an important point of contention in 21st-century post-continental philosophy.


=Marxism and critical theory

= Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis, originating from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It analyzes Social class, class relations and societal conflict using a Historical materialism, materialist interpretation of historical development and a Marxist dialectic, dialectical view of social transformation. Marxist analyses and methodologies influenced political ideologies and social movements. Marxist understandings of history and society were adopted by academics in archeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociology, art history and theory, cultural studies, education, economics, geography, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology and philosophy. In contemporary philosophy, the term "critical theory" describes the Western Marxism, Western Marxist philosophy of the Frankfurt School, which was developed in Germany in the 1930s. Critical theory maintains that ideology is the principal obstacle to human emancipation.


=Phenomenology and hermeneutics

= Edmund Husserl's Phenomenology (philosophy), phenomenology was an ambitious attempt to lay the foundations for an account of the structure of conscious experience in general. An important part of Husserl's phenomenological project was to show that all conscious acts are directed at or about objective content, a feature that Husserl called ''intentionality''. Husserl published only a few works in his lifetime, which treat phenomenology mainly in abstract methodological terms; but he left an enormous quantity of unpublished concrete analyses. Husserl's work was immediately influential in Germany, with the foundation of phenomenological schools in Munich (Munich phenomenology) and Göttingen (Göttingen phenomenology). Phenomenology later achieved international fame through the work of such philosophers as Martin Heidegger (formerly Husserl's research assistant and a proponent of hermeneutic phenomenology, a theoretical :wikt:synthesis, synthesis of Hermeneutics#Philosophical hermeneutics, modern hermeneutics and phenomenology), Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Through the work of Heidegger and Sartre, Husserl's focus on subjective experience influenced aspects of existentialism.


=Structuralism and post-structuralism

= Inaugurated by the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, structuralism sought to clarify systems of signs through analyzing the discourses they both limit and make possible. Saussure conceived of the sign as being delimited by all the other signs in the system, and ideas as being incapable of existence prior to linguistic structure, which articulates thought. This led continental thought away from humanism, and toward what was termed the decentering of man: language is no longer spoken by man to express a true inner self, but language speaks man. Structuralism sought the province of a hard science, but its positivism soon came under fire by post-structuralism, a wide field of thinkers, some of whom were once themselves structuralists, but later came to criticize it. Structuralists believed they could analyze systems from an external, objective standing, for example, but the poststructuralists argued that this is incorrect, that one cannot transcend structures and thus analysis is itself determined by what it examines. While the distinction between the signifier and signified was treated as crystalline by structuralists, poststructuralists asserted that every attempt to grasp the signified results in more signifiers, so meaning is always in a state of being deferred, making an ultimate interpretation impossible. Structuralism came to dominate continental philosophy throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, encompassing thinkers as diverse as Claude Lévi-Strauss, Roland Barthes and Jacques Lacan. Post-structuralism came to predominate from the 1970s onwards, including thinkers such as Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and even Roland Barthes; it incorporated a critique of structuralism's limitations.


Pragmatism

Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that began in the United States around 1870. It asserts that the truth of beliefs consists in their usefulness and efficacy rather than their correspondence with reality. Charles Sanders Peirce and William James were its co-founders and it was later modified by John Dewey as instrumentalism. Since the usefulness of any belief at any time might be contingent on circumstance, Peirce and James conceptualized final truth as something established only by the future, final settlement of all opinion. Pragmatism attempted to find a scientific concept of truth that does not depend on personal insight (revelation) or reference to some metaphysical realm. It interpreted the meaning of a statement by the effect its acceptance would have on practice. Inquiry taken far enough is thus the only path to truth. For Peirce commitment to inquiry was essential to truth-finding, implied by the idea and hope that inquiry is not fruitless. The interpretation of these principles has been subject to discussion ever since. Peirce's Pragmatic maxim, maxim of pragmatism is, "Consider what effects, which might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object." Critics accused pragmatism falling victim to a simple fallacy: that because something that is true proves useful, that usefulness is an appropriate basis for its truthfulness. Pragmatist thinkers include Dewey, George Santayana, and Clarence Irving Lewis, C. I. Lewis. Pragmatism was later worked on by neopragmatists Richard Rorty who was the first to develop neopragmatist philosophy in his ''Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature'' (1979), Hilary Putnam, Willard Van Orman Quine, W. V. O. Quine, and Donald Davidson (philosopher), Donald Davidson. Neopragmatism has been described as a bridge between analytic and continental philosophy.


Process philosophy

Process philosophy is a tradition beginning with
Alfred North Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of ...
, who began teaching and writing on process and metaphysics when he joined Harvard University in 1924. This tradition identifies metaphysical reality with Change (philosophy), change. Process philosophy is sometimes classified as closer to continental philosophy than analytic philosophy, because it is usually only taught in continental departments. However, other sources state that process philosophy should be placed somewhere in the middle between the poles of analytic versus continental methods in contemporary philosophy.


Influence by non-Western philosophy


Eastern philosophy


Pyrrhonism

The Ancient Greek philosophy, Ancient Greek philosopher Pyrrho accompanied
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc-gre, Αλέξανδρος}, ; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king (''basileus ''Basileus'' ( el, βασιλεύς) is a Greek term and title A title ...

Alexander the Great
in his eastern campaigns, spending about 18 months in India. Pyrrho subsequently returned to Greece and founded
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism Philosophical skepticism (American and British English spelling differences, UK spelling: scepticism; from Ancient Greek, Greek σκέψις ''skepsis'', "inquiry") is a family of Philosophy, p ...
, a philosophy with Similarities between Pyrrhonism and Buddhism, substantial similarities with Buddhism. The Greek biographer Diogenes Laërtius explained that Pyrrho's equanimity and detachment from the world were acquired in India. Pyrrho was directly influenced by Buddhism in developing his philosophy, which is based on Pyrrho's interpretation of the Buddhist three marks of existence. According to Edward Conze, Pyrrhonism can be compared to Buddhist philosophy, especially the Indian Madhyamika school.Conze, Edward
Buddhist Philosophy and Its European Parallels
Philosophy East and West 13, p.9-23, no.1, January 1963. University Press of Hawaii.
The Pyrrhonists' goal of
ataraxia ''Ataraxia'' (Greek: ἀταραξία, from alpha privativeAn alpha privative or, rarely, privative a (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin ...
(the state of being untroubled) is a soteriological goal similar to nirvana. The Pyrrhonists promoted suspending judgment (epoché) about dogma (beliefs about non-evident matters) as the way to reach ataraxia. This is similar to the Buddha's refusal to answer The unanswered questions, certain metaphysical questions which he saw as non-conductive to the path of Buddhist practice and Nagarjuna's "relinquishing of all views (drsti)". Adrian Kuzminski argues for direct influence between these two systems of thought. In ''Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism''Adrian Kuzminski (2008), ''Pyrrhonism How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism''; for a recent study see Georgios T . Halkias
"The Self-immolation of Kalanos and other Luminous Encounters among Greeks and Indian Buddhists in the Hellenistic World"
2015, ''Journal of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies'' 8, 163–186.
According to Kuzminski, both philosophies argue against assenting to any dogmatic assertions about an ultimate metaphysical reality behind our sense impressions as a tactic to reach tranquility and both also make use of logical arguments against other philosophies in order to expose their contradictions.


Cyrenaicism

The Cyrenaics, Cyrenaic philosopher Hegesias of Cyrene is thought by some to have been influenced by the teachings of Ashoka's Buddhist missionaries.


Spinozism

Similarities between Spinozism and Eastern philosophical traditions have been discussed by many authorities. The 19th-century German Sanskritist Theodore Goldstücker was one of the early figures to notice the similarities between Spinoza's religious conceptions and the Vedanta tradition of India. It has also been said that Spinozism is similar to the Hindu doctrines of Samkhya and Yoga. Though within the various existing Indian traditions there exist many traditions which astonishingly had such similar doctrines from ages, out of which most similar and well known are the Kashmiri Shaivism and Nath tradition, apart from already existing Samkhya and Yoga.


No-self theory

Empiricist philosophers, such as David Hume, Hume and George Berkeley, Berkeley, favoured the bundle theory of personal identity. In this theory, the mind is simply 'a bundle of perceptions' without unity. One interpretation of Hume's view of the self, argued for by philosopher and psychologist James Giles (philosopher), James Giles, is that Hume is not arguing for a bundle theory, which is a form of reductionism, but rather for an eliminative view of the self. Rather than reducing the self to a bundle of perceptions, Hume rejects the idea of the self altogether. On this interpretation, Hume is proposing a "Personal identity#The no-self theory, no-self theory" and thus has much in common with Buddhism, Buddhist thought (see ''anattā''). Psychologist Alison Gopnik has argued that Hume was in a position to learn about Buddhist thought during his time in France in the 1730s.


See also

* African philosophy * Christian philosophy * Eastern philosophy * Glossary of philosophy * History of metaphysical realism * History of metaphysical naturalism * History of philosophy * Index of philosophy * Islamic philosophy * Jewish philosophy * List of philosophers * List of philosophical theories * List of philosophies * Pseudophilosophy ;National traditions * American philosophy * British philosophy * French philosophy * German philosophy (including Austrian philosophy) * Polish philosophy ;Non-mainstream movements * New realism (philosophy), New realism * Objectivism * Personalism * Post-analytic philosophy * Post-Continental philosophy * Theosophy (Blavatskian), Theosophy (Theosophy and Western philosophy)


References


Sources

* *


Further reading

*Frederick Copleston, Copleston, Frederick (1946–1975). ''A History of Philosophy (Copleston), A History of Philosophy'', 11 vols. Continuum. *Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1996) [1892 Kegan Paul]. Elizabeth Haldane, Haldane, Elizabeth Sanderson, ed. ''Vorlesungen über die Geschichte der Philosophie'' [''Lectures on the History of Philosophy, Hegel's Lectures on the History of Philosophy, 3 vols.'']. Humanities Press International. *Anthony Kenny, Kenny, Anthony (2010). ''A New History of Western Philosophy''. Oxford University Press. *Bertrand Russell, Russell, Bertrand (1945). ''A History of Western Philosophy''. Simon & Schuster.


External links


The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy


* * {{Authority control Western philosophy,