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Major Philosophers

What did Spinoza do for a living? And Leibniz? What was Descartes's favorite habit in the morning? Look into the life and work of the greatest philosophers of all times, such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Sartre, Wittgenstein, Quine, Heidegger, Adorno, Marcuse.

Plato (427-347B.C.)
Author among others of "The Republic" and the "Symposium", famous for his theory of forms and his dialogic style, Plato's reflections encompass nearly every major topic of philosophical concern. He was the founder of the Academy, a student of Socrates, and the teacher of Aristotle. Plato is one of the most influential philosophers to date and...

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
One of the most influential philosophers to date, Aristotle was a student of Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings redefined or established an impressive variety of areas, including ethics, metaphysics, political philosophy, logic, epistemology, rhetoric, and tragedy.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Immanuel Kant is one of the most important philosophers of Western tradition, and among the most systematics. He is best known for his transcendental philosophy, which he viewed as a revolution for the humanities comparable to the one brought forth by Copernicus in the sciences. He authored a vast number of texts, including the three critiques:...

René Descartes (1596-1650)
Descartes' major works and ideas.

Friedrich Nietzsche: Life (1844-1900)
A central figure of modern philosophy, Friedrich Nietzsche was trained in classical philology. His production – in comparison to its relevance – was concentrated in an extraordinarily brief time span, between 1869 and 1888. Known for his stark contrasts with friends and colleagues, most famous the controversy with fellow composer Richard Wagner,...

Friedrich Nietzsche: Philosophy (1844-1900)
Trained as a classical philologist, Friedrich Nietzsche grew to become one of the most distinguished German philosophers and one of the most original voices in Western philosophy. His life was marked by significant health problems and stark contrasts with friends and colleagues. Although it is sometimes opportune also to differentiate different...

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
Jean-Paul Sartre was the founder of the existentialist movement and one of the most prominent philosophers of twentieth century. Born in Paris in 1905, he lived most of his life in France and took active participation in the life of his country.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)
One of the most remarkable and controversial figures in modern politics and philosophy, Karl Marx was a German-born philosopher of Jewish descent, who inspired generations of students through his writings. Author, among others, of the "Capital" (whose second and third volumes were posthumously published by his lifelong fellow Friedrich Engels)...

David Hume (1711-1776)
David Hume is one of the most distinguished empiricists and skeptics of the Western tradition. A prominent figure in the history of early modern philosophy, according to some he is also the most important thinker to ever write in English...

Epictetus (55-135 A.D.)
Epictetus was a Greek philosopher, who spent most of his life in Rome and subsequently in Nicopolis, Greece, upon being expelled from the empire’s capital. He is known as one of the most thorough stoic philosophers, alongside with Marcus Aurelius.

Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.)
Marcus Aurelius was a. He lived between 121 and 180 A.D. and covered the role of Emperor between 161 and 180. His reign was characterized by a sequel of unfortunate circumstances, such as a malicious plague – known as the Plague of Galen – that spread in the empire between 165 and 180. Aurelius had also to fight wars throughout his entire reign,...

Parmenides (VI-V century B.C.)
Parmenides is probably the first great philosopher of the Western canon. His philosophy seems to have embodied several of the distinctive traits of Ancient Greek philosophy, most notably the exclusive reliance on reason; Parmenides had a deep influence on Plato's and Aristotle's thinking, whose work can by and large be seen as a response to...

Voltaire (1694-1778)
Voltaire was the pen name of François-Marie Arouet, a central figure in the seventeen-hundreds intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment. Voltaire’s writings are most famous for their advocacy of the autonomy of the individual and the State with respect to the church. Voltaire’s style is distinct for being lucid and witty. He was an...

Alan Turing: Life (1912-1952)
One of the most brilliant and influential minds of twentieth century, Alan Turing was a British mathematician and logician, a father of computer science and artificial intelligence, who also served as cryptanalyst during World War II and for some time afterwards. His tortuous life has been the source of literary inspiration, from his mother’s...

Alan Turing: Work (1912-1952)
One of the most brilliant and influential minds of twentieth century, Alan Turing was a British mathematician and logician, a father of computer science and artificial intelligence, who also served as cryptanalyst during World War II and for some time afterwards. His life was anything but ordinary. Though his affiliation was never with...

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
Michel del Montaigne was a French statesman and writer. While during his time he was best known for the former role, in our times he is best known as the author of the "Essais," literally meaning "attempts", a collection of short essays on the most disparate topics, ranging from cannibalism to skepticism.

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Galileo Galilei was one of the protagonists of the scientific revolution, best known for his astronomical discoveries by means of a telescope (including sunspots, Jupiter’s satellites, and the phases of Venus), for his defense of heliocentrism, and and for his study of the natural laws regarding falling bodies. Galileo, however, gave key...

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1787)
Mary Wollstonecraft is best known for her philosophical and political insightful fervor, especially for her strenuous and lucid defense of the rights of women in society. This excerpt, taken from the third chapter of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, bears witness to a well-articulated picture.

Epicurus (341-270B.C.)
Epicurus was a defendant of ancient atomism, the view according to which all that there is to spatio-temporal reality are indivisible parts of matter ad void. Those indivisible parts are not perceivable by the eyes and they are in constant movement. Everything that we perceive through the senses is made out of atoms and all body movements and...

Rousseau (1712-1778)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau is a central figure in early modern philosophy, and one of the most influential intellectuals of the Enlightenment. He is the author of "On the Social Contract", the "Discourse on the Origin of Inequality", and "Emile." His influence, however, extends also to literature: with the "Confessions" he put forward one of the...

Zeno of Elea V century B.C.
Zeno’s philosophy is one of the clearest examples of the power accorded to rational argumentation by Ancient Greek philosophers: by reasoning alone (hence without relying on any specific observation) humans can prove that the world has a certain structure. This is a radical methodology, which by and large diverges from the methods of inquiry...

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677)
Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher of Jewish descent, to date one of the most distinguished in the history of his land, and a prominent figure in early modern philosophy. He is most famous for having defended two doctrines. The first is a form of monism in metaphysics. The second is the rebuttal of any objective basis for good and evil in...

Friedrich Nietzsche: Sources
Interested in learning about Nietzsche’s life and philosophy, but do not know where to start from and where to find appropriate sources? Here is a list of suggestions for you. I hope you’ll find them useful. If you think there is some entry missing, please contact me.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716)
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German mathematician and philosopher, one of the greatest minds of Early Modern Philosophy and one of the most remarkable in the Western philosophical tradition. He is most famous for having developed the infinitesimal calculus (independently of Isaac Newton), for his doctrine according to which ours is the best...

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Niccolò Machiavelli was one of the most influential political theorists of Western philosophy. His most read treatise, The Prince, turned Aristotle’s theory of virtues upside down, shaking the European conception of government at its foundations.

John Locke (1632-1704)
John Locke is one of the most important figures in British empiricism and one of the main authors in early modern philosophy. Considered by many as the father of liberalism, his philosophical contribution spans across all branches, from philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics to political philosophy. His most...

ANNE CONWAY (1631-1679)
Anne Conway is probably the most prominent woman philosopher in the early modern period, along with Elizabeth of Bohemia. Her major work, "The Principles of the Most Modern and Ancient Philosophy," is an original defense of Platonism, inspired to both Leibniz’s system and the Cambridge Platonist tradition.

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