8 Greatest Philosophers Of All Time (FAQs) | 2023

Philosophy is a field that looks for meaning and a more profound understanding of issues that revolve around existence, the purpose of humanity, and the reasons behind the creation of the universe.

Although this field is complex, some have successfully broken it into more straightforward, easily understood bits.

So, if you are majoring in philosophy and finding it hard to understand the concepts and epistemologies in this field, studying the works of the philosophers discussed in this article will boost your knowledge and enhance your understanding immensely.

Read on to discover the eight greatest philosophers of all time and their key works.

8 Greatest Philosophers Of All Time

1. Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)                                      

Saint Thomas Aquinas is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He was a theologian from Italy.

He was one of the most significant contributors to natural theology, which claims that God’s existence can be authenticated through coherent interpretations instead of scriptural events.

This concept has primarily impacted the Roman Catholic Church and its doctrine.

The books that Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote and many of his publications are used in preparing seminarians for the catholic priesthood.

Saint Thomas Aquinas mostly connected Aristotelian and Christian philosophies through most of his writings. He also drew analysis from the works of other philosophers when completing his works.

Saint Thomas Aquinas’s works significantly impact the Roman Catholic Church more than any other doctrine of Christianity, which is unsurprising why he is even regarded as a Saint by the Catholic Church.

One of the most significant works of this impactful philosopher is Summa Theologica.

2. Aristotle (384-322 BCE)

Aristotle is a name that needs no introduction as far as philosophy is concerned. He is one of the most prominent thinkers who ever crossed man’s path.

He was mentored by Plato, who is celebrated as the “father of Western Philosophy.” Aristotle hails from Greece, and most of his hypothetical, moral, and logical works revolve around human beings.

A good number of works written by Aristotle still influence generations today. This is a result of the in-depth analysis of thoughts that he achieved and the time frame that he used to accomplish this.

Furthermore, Aristotle was not only a philosopher but a scientist, which made him cover a wide spread of areas that other philosophers did not even scratch.

Most of his works concentrate on areas of knowledge such as government, music, biology, physics, linguistics, logic, politics, poetry, and much more.

Aristotle is popularly known worldwide as the teacher of Alexander the Great, one of the most influential rulers to cross the face of the earth.

Aristotle viewed metaphysics as knowledge of immaterial beings, forming the basis of his analysis. One of its most significant works of Aristotle is the Nicomachean Ethics.

3. Socrates (470-399 BCE)

Socrates is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He is widely celebrated as the founder of Western Philosophy.

Socrates has not written you work any book of his own, which is very surprising for a man of such level of influence and impact.

However, you can understand the principles he believed in and the morals he stood for through the works of Plato and Xenophon, two of his most influential students.

Socrates is best described as a teacher of thought and insight. He is widely celebrated worldwide for his approach to education, which is still sustained to the present age.

His education approach, the Socratic method, encourages students to learn by making inquiries while openly discussing the topic of interest and sharing their perspectives. He was killed for openly condemning the Athenian leadership.

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4. Confucius (551-479 BCE)

Confucius was a philosopher of Chinese extraction. He saw himself as a source of the philosophical theories of the imperial dynasty that played out before him.

Confucius was an advocate of a lifestyle that revolved around the values of religion and spirituality.

This renowned philosopher made massive contributions toward developing Eastern laws and the rise of the erudite ruling class.

However, the massive spread of Buddhism in China subsequently led to the deterioration of the practice of the principles that Confucius advocated.

Nevertheless, no one can take the way that Confucius laid out principles and theories that still characterize the Asian and Chinese approach to academic, legal, and career engagements.

Confucius came up with the belief that he ponders on personal and executive ethics. One of his most significant works is The Analects, widely used today.

5. Michael Foucault (1926-1984)

Michael Foucault is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. Besides being a philosopher, he was also a historian and social theorist.

He was a Frenchman passionate about instructing and drafting documents on analyzing power and knowledge and how they impact social control.

Many people view him as a critic of modernity. Michael Foucault worked as a French envoy, which unsurprisingly affected how he viewed social issues.

Many progressive groups aligned their goals with the perspectives of Michael Foucault, and he even became a high-profile member of some of these groups while he was still alive.

He played an active role in the fight against racism, prisoner abuses, human rights abuses, and disregard for people suffering from mentally sick people.

Michael Foucault’s theoretical contributions have significantly impacted political science, sociology, and communications studies.

The French philosopher believed that the study of philosophy must start with an in-depth analysis of historical events.

One of his most significant works is Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975).

6. Ralph Waldo-Emerson (1803-1882)

Ralph Waldo-Emerson is another philosopher to feature on this list. He was an American citizen. Besides being a philosopher, Ralph Waldo-Emerson was also a poet and writer.

He was the father of the transcendentalist movement, and this viral movement widely adopted his views in the 2Oth century.

Additionally, there is no way one can mention the romantic movement in America without talking about Ralph Waldo-Emerson. Most of his views revolved around self-reliance, experiential living, and others.

Ralph Waldo-Emerson was a close pal of Henry David Thoreau. Some of the significant works of this widely celebrated philosopher are Essays: First and Second Series and Nature and Other Essays.

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7. Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Karl Marx is a name that needs no introduction as far as philosophy is concerned.

Besides being a German philosopher, Marx was also an economist and a political theorist whose principles still shape today’s world.

His writings were so influential that he was banished from Germany. Nevertheless, his banishment worked in his favor, and Marx found an English audience willing to listen to everything he had to say.

Once he landed in London, the German philosopher partnered with Friedrich Engels to analyze class, societal, and power trends built on the foundations of concrete inequalities, war, and oppression of the masses.

Marx even believed that these issues would lead to capitalism’s decline, which was practiced in several countries back then.

Karl Marx also claimed that this decline would lead to the rise of socialism, which is currently popular worldwide.

The ideas and ideologies propounded by this renowned philosopher had a significant impact on Eastern Europe, Red China, Soviet Russia, and lots more.

Two of the most significant works of Karl Marx are “The Communist Manifesto (1848)” and “Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy (1867).”

8. Plato (428-348 BCE)

Plato is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. He was a Greek philosopher, teacher, and founder of the Academy of Athens, the first tertiary education school in the world.

Plato played a significant role in the development of western philosophy. He was a student of Socrates and shared a good relationship with Aristotle.

Many modern-day philosophers even believe that Plato’s philosophical principles built the foundational knowledge of the theories of most philosophers that came after him.

Indeed, many people see him as the founder of political philosophy, and his ideas form the basic knowledge people consider when approaching political questions. One of his most significant works is The Republic (380 BCE).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On The Greatest Philosophers Of All Time

Who is the father of all philosophers?

People consider Socrates to be the father of all philosophers. They view him as the most puzzling figure of ancient history.

Who is the philosopher king?

Many call Alexandria the Great a tutor of Aristotle, the philosopher King.

Who is the wisest philosopher ever to cross the face of the earth?

Many people claim that Socrates is the wisest philosopher ever to be born. His works are still impacting the world today.

What professions require a high IQ?

Doctors, university professors, engineers, scientists, and IT experts are examples of jobs that require a high IQ.

Conclusion

The study of philosophy seeks to answer fundamental questions about reality, including the nature and purpose of humanity and the planet.

Although this is a challenging area, several scholars have successfully simplified it.

As such, if you are a philosophy major having trouble grasping the principles and conceptual frameworks fundamental to the field, reading the works of the philosophers listed above will provide you with a substantial knowledge base and a far more profound comprehension of the subject matter.

In addition to the list above, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and David Hume are other excellent philosophers who positively impacted the world.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Abasiofon Fidelis
Abasiofon Fidelis

Abasiofon Fidelis is a professional writer who loves to write about college life and college applications. He has been writing articles for over 3 years. He is the Content Manager at School and Travel.

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