Philosophy is the study of problems at both the general and fundamental levels. These problems include subjects associated with existence, values, knowledge, reason, language and mind. It has a general, systematic approach that separates it from other ways of addressing problems. It relies on rational argument and there were many early philosophers that had an imprint on philosophy today.
- Dartmouth College: What is Philosophy: In-depth definition of philosophy as provided by Dartmouth College.
Peter Abelard was a philosopher of the twelfth century that was the teacher of his generation. In addition to being the pre-eminent philosopher of his time, he was also a theologian and a famous musician and poet. He brought the native tradition in Latin culture to its peak before the recovery of Aristotle. He had a perfect memory, quick wit and sharp tongue that his contemporaries admired.
- Stanford University: Peter Abelard: Encyclopedia information listed by Stanford University.
Saint Thomas Aquinas was in the Dominic Order as a Catholic Priest. He was also one of the most important theologians and philosophers of the time. Aristotle and scholasticism were his influences and was known for his traditions and synthesis. His most influential piece of work was Summa Theologica which focused on God and ethics.
- University of Tennessee at Martin: Thomas Aquinas: Biographical information on philosopher, Thomas Aquinas, by University of Tennessee at Martin.
Hannah Arendt was a political theorist who was born in Germany. Her life was ennobled by love and friendship and was enriched by innovative thought. She had a childhood that was punctuated with terror and grief. She graduated from high school in 1924 and went on to study theology.
- Jewish Virtual Library: Hannah Arendt: Information from the Jewish Virtual Library on philosopher Hannah Arendt.
Aristotle was born in Stagira, Greece and was most notable as an educational product that was devised by Plato as a program. Aristotle returned to his native Macedonia when Plato died after attending the Academy. When he returned to Macedonia, he supposedly participated in Alexander the Great’s education. He then began his own school and engaged in writing, teaching and research.
- Philosophy Pages: Aristotle: Information on the life and works of Aristotle.
Augustine’s full name is Aurelius Augustinus, but he went by St. Augustine. Between 354 and 430 AD, he lived in the Roman Empire and converted from the pagan Machanean religion to Christianity. He became the city of Hippo’s bishop and was a rhetoric teacher. The most influential pieces of work that represent his western way of thinking include The City of God, Enchiridion and Confessions.
- Oregon State University: Augustine: Biology on the life of Saint Augustine as provided by Oregon State University.
Francis Bacon was an English philosopher that was also a freemason, an essayist, a spy and a statesman. In 1603, he was knighted and in 1621 he then created the Viscount St. Albans after he created the Baron Verulam in 1618. Although he was best known as a philosophical advocate, he began his professional career as a lawyer. He also defended the scientific revolution and popularized the Baconian method.
- Space and Motion: Sir Francis Bacon: Biographical information on the quotes, life and pictures of Sir Francis Bacon.
Judith Butler is an American philosopher who is a self-proclaimed feminist who teaches feminism and writes on feminist topics. She is equally interested in philosophy as well as politics and has always had an interest in the sexual freedom in feminism. She became a lesbian at the age of 14 and then became involved in politics. She is a protagonist of the queer movement and views it as sexually progressive and radically democratic.
- Lola Press: Judith Butler: Interview with American philosopher in May 2001.
Rene Descartes was born in France and became one of the thinkers that were the most influential in human history. People sometimes call him the founder of modern philosophy. He began to study law in 1616 at the University of Poitiers and volunteered in the Dutch army when he set out for the Netherlands. In 1641, the year before Isaac Newton was born and Galileo died, Descartes published ‘A Discourse on Method, Meditations on First Philosophy’.
- Lucid Cafe: Rene Descartes: Library information on the life of philosopher, Rene Descartes.
Michel Foucault was a French philosopher who was originally born Paul-Michel Foucault. In addition to being a philosopher, he was also a historian and a sociologist. He taught at the University of California at Berkeley and also at the University at Buffalo. He is best known for his work and critical studies on medicine, psychiatry, the prison system, the human sciences and the history of human sexuality.
- California State University Northridge: Michel Foucault: List of works done by philosopher, Michel Foucault.
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher who greatly influenced philosophy that came afterwards, mainly the schools of Idealism and Kantianism. He lived in the province where he was born for his entire life. He worked with the theory of ethics, aesthetics and theory. He was one of the best and greatest philosophers throughout history and thought the most of Enlightenment.
- Britannica: Immanuel Kant: Encyclopedia information on Immanuel Kant.
Lao Tzu is where the Taoism movement actually began even though Shen Tao was the first to write on it. The philosophy of Taoism did not begin until Lao Tzu, who some people believe to be a contemporary version of Confucius. He set out towards what is now Tibet when he was 80 years old. He was asked at the border to record his teachings which resulted in the Tao Te Ching, which is 5,000 characters of writing.
- Lao Tzu: Father of Taoism: The story of Lao Tzu and how Taoism began.
John Locke was born in Somerset in 1632 and was called the father of English imperialism. He was educated by the Puritans since he was the son of a Puritan attorney and studies medicine and mathematics at Christ Church College. He became council of trade member, a coinage advisor and an appeals commission once he came into the presence of William III after traveling to France. He wrote two pieces that were finally published in 1690 and justified the Glorious Revolution.
- Victorian Web: John Locke: Biography on Victorian philosopher, John Locke.
Plato was born in Athens, Greece with the birth name or Aristocles and was then given the nickname Platon. The name Platon meant broad and he was given the nickname because of his broad build. When he was young, he studied poetry and music, but because of his family background, he was destined to be involved in politics. His most influential work was a part of his middle dialogues and was called ‘The Republic’.
- European Graduate School: Plato – Biography: Biography provided by the European Graduate School on famous philosopher, Plato.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Jean Jacques Rousseau was a major philosopher from Geneva and was also a well-known composer and writer of the 18th-century Romanticism period. He focused on the overall development of modern sociological, educational and political thought. Although this is the case, he focused on the American and French Revolutions for his political philosophy.
- Example Essays: John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau: A comparative analysis of John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau.
- Friesian: History of Philosophy: List of resources and further information on the history of philosophy.
- Radical Academy: Adventures in Philosophy: History of philosophy timeline.
- University of Notre Dame: History of Philosophy: Information on the history of philosophy as provided by the University of Notre Dame.
- Taylor and Francis Group: British Journal for the History of Philosophy: Journal details on the history of philosophy.
- Erratic Impact: Philosophy Journals: List of philosophy journals and writers’ resources.
- Earlham College: Guide to Philosophy on the Internet: Philosophy journals and newsletters resource.
Philosophical Societies and Associations
- American Philosophical Association: Link to the official site of the American Philosophical Association (APA).
- American Association of Philosophy Teachers: Link to the official site for the American Association of Philosophy Teachers.
- Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy: Official site of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy.
- The Canadian Philosophical Association: Official site for the Canadian Philosophical Association.