Philosophy and Religion





Branches of philosophy

               metaphysics - study of ultimate reality

               epistemology - study of origin of knowledge

               ethics - study of morals

               aesthetics - study of beauty


               Ionian School (500s BC)

                              Thales of Miletus - all matter is a form of water

                              Anaximander - student of Thales; all matter is a form of apeiron ("the boundless")

                              Anaximenes - all matter is a form of air

               Pythagorean School (500s BC)

                              Pythagoras - established school in Crotona Italy; emphasized myths, reincarnation,

                                             musical pitch, and math

               Heraclitean School (500s BC)

                              Heraclitus of Ephesus - all matter made of fire; only reality is the law of change, Logos

               Eleatic School (400s BC)

                              Parmenides - established school in Elea Italy; emphasized unchanging universe; "being is"

                              Zeno of Elea - student of Parmenides; introduced four logical paradoxes to prove the

                                             unity of being

               Pluralists (400s BC)

                              Empedocles - proposed the four elements of air, water, earth, and fire and the two forces

                                             of love and strife; eternal cycle of chaos

                              Anaxagoras - all matter is composed of tiny seeds; proposed cosmic evolution

               Atomists (300s BC)


                              Democritus - student of Leucippus; proposed atomic theory and deterministic


               Sophists (400s BC)

                              Protagoras - "Man is the measure of all things"; natural science and religion are

                                             worthless; one should only be ethical if it is to his advantage; sophists were

                                             known as deceitful and insincere

               Socratic School (400s BC)

                              Socrates - sentenced to death 399 BC; refused payment for his lectures; held that all

                                             people have full knowledge of ultimate truth; Socrates' paradox: no man does evil


               Platonic School (300s BC)

                              Plato - student of Socrates; recorded Socrates' teachings in his dialogues; virtue =

                                             wisdom; proposed theory of Ideas, doctrine of Forms, the intelligible and sensible

                                             realms, and the Absolute Idea of the Good; wrote the Republic (discussion of justice),

                                             Meno (Socrates shows innate knowledge of all people by teaching a slave the

                                             Pythagorean theorem), Apology (Socrates' trial defense), Crito (Socrates' defense of

                                             obedience to the state), Phaedo (death of Socrates), Symposium (a drama), Parmenides

                                              (theory of Forms), Laws (political discussions), Timaeus (thoughts on cosmology and


               Aristotelian School (300s BC)

                              Aristotle - student of Plato; tutor to Alexander the Great; founded Lyceum and

                                             Peripatetic ("walking") school; founded logic, syllogism, scientific method; forms

                                             contained in objects; natural hierarchical order of inanimate, vegetative, animal, rational,

                                             and heavenly ether; emphasized happiness; wise king best government but limited

                                             democracy a good compromise; wrote Organon ("instrument" logic), Physics, Metaphysics,

                                             Poetics (literary criticism, definitions of drama)

Hellenistic and Roman

               Cynics (300s BC)

                              Diogenes of Sinope - held civilization in contempt as artificial; advocated self-sufficient

                                             simple life; called "Kyon" (dog)

               Epicureanism (200s BC)

                              Epicurus - "philosopher of the garden"; proposed atomic theory with uniform downward

                                             motion; emphasized free will and attaining maximum pleasure

                              Lucretius - wrote On the Nature of Things

               Stoicism (200s BC)

                              Zeno of Citium - insensitive to material comforts; adopted Heraclitean ideas of fire and

                                             Logos; each person is part of God; natural law


                              Marcus Aurelius - emperor; wrote Meditations

               Skepticism (200s BC)

                              Pyrrho - humans can't obtain knowledge; happiness only obtained by suspending

                                             judgment; wouldn't change directions as he approached a cliff

                              Carneades - beliefs gained from experience are probable but not certain

               Jewish-Hellenistic (0s AD)

                              Philo Judaeus - proposed a transcendent God and advocated theocracy; matter is source

                                             of all evil

Neoplatonism (200s AD)

                              Anmonius Saccus

                              Plotinus - student of Anmonius; become one with God in ecstasy; trinity of the One,

                                             Logos, and World Soul; the One is beyond rational thought

                              Porphyry - student of Plotinus; wrote the Enneads


               Augustinian (300s AD)

                              St. Augustine - saw philosophy and religion as complementary; combined Christianity

                                             and Platonic ideas; earthly happiness not possible; wrote The City of God

               Miscellaneous (400s - 600s)

                              Boethius - revived Aristotelian thought; wrote The Consolation of Philosophy

                              John Erigena (Irish) - pantheistic Christianity; advocated trinity of the One, Logos, and

                                             the World Soul like Plotinus

               Scholasticism (1100s - 1400s)

                              Avicenna (Arab) - united Neoplatonism, Aristotelian, and Islam

                              Solomon ben Yehuda Ibn Gabirol - united Jewish and Greek philosophy

                              Anselm of Canterbury - proposed logical realism

                              Roscelin - proposed nominalism (only concrete objects exist, universals are intangible);

                                             declared a heretic for saying there are three separate beings in the Trinity

                              Peter Abelard (French) - proposed conceptualism (compromise of realism and

                                             nominalism); had tragic love affair with Heloise

                              Averroes (Spanish-Arab) - known as "the Commentator" for commentaries on Aristotle;

                                             proposed double-truth doctrine with separate realms of faith and reason

                              Moses Maimonides (Jewish) - rabbi; gave rational explanations for Jewish doctrine;

                                             wrote Guide for the Perplexed

                              Alexander of Hales (English) - substantial form accounts for soul's immortality

                              St. Bonaventure (Italian) - advocated pantheistic mysticism with goal of ecstatic union

                                             with God

                              St. Albertus Magnus (German) - endorsed all Aristotelian thought

                              Roger Bacon (English) - monk; advocated learning by experimentation

                              St. Thomas Aquinas - Dominican monk; learn scientific truths from experimentation and

                                             religious truths by faith, but the two are not inconsistent; gave five proofs of God's

                                             existence; wrote Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles; followers called Thomists

                              John Dun Scotus (Scottish) - advocated double-truth doctrine except that God's existence

                                             is provable; divine will controls nature (not vice versa); Duns came to mean dumb (dunce)

                                             because of some of his irrational followers who opposed Thomists

                              William of Ockham (English) - Ockham's Razor: don't assume existence of more than is

                                             logically necessary

                              Nicholas of Cusa and Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish) - earth revolves around sun

                              Giordano Bruno (Italian) - worked on philosophical implications of Copernicus's ideas


               Mechanism and Materialism (1400s - 1600s)

                              Francis Bacon (English) - denounced authority and Aristotelian logic; advocated

                                             inductive inference and experimentation; wrote Novum Organum, the Advancement of

                                             Learning, the New Atlantis (advocating scientific academies)

                              Galileo (Italian) - applied geometry to study of motion; showed nature obeys mechanical laws

                              Rene Descartes (French) - math is model for all science; "I think therefore I am" became

                                             the basic fact from which all others are deduced; dualism separates mind and body; wrote

                                             Philosophical Essays and Discourse on Method

                              Thomas Hobbes (English) - reduced all to physical relations and mechanics; justified

                                             egoism as natural; supported absolute monarchy; wrote De Cive and Leviathan

                              Baruch Spinoza (Dutch) - al nature is based on a few basic axioms (like geometry);

                                             banished by Jews in Amsterdam; all things are modes of God; psychophysical parallelism

                                             explains interaction between mind and body; advocated rational self-interest

                              John Locke (English) - focus on epistemology and empiricism; supported constitutional

                                             government; led to utilitarianism; wrote Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Two

                                             Treatises of Government

               Humanism (1500s)

                              Desiderius Erasmus (Dutch) - emphasized dignity and worth of the individual; wrote On

                                             the Freedom of the Will

                              Philipp Melanchthon (German) - participated in Reformation

               Idealism and Skepticism (1600s - 1700s)

                              Gottfreid Wilhelm Leibniz (German) - infinitely small force units called monads are

                                             closed worlds but mirror each other; God is Monad of Monads; founded idealism

                              George Berkeley (Irish) - advocated idealism; to exist means to be perceived;

                                             epistemological view of phenomenalism (matter analyzed in terms of sensations); wrote

                                             Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge and The Three Dialogues

                                             Between Hylas and Philoneus

                              David Hume (Scottish) - said there is no evidence for mind, spirit, or God; no

                                             justification for cause and effect relationships; wrote A Treatise of Human Nature and

                                             An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding

                              Immanuel Kant (German) - combined empiricism (knowledge gained by experience) and

                                             rationalism (knowledge gained by deduction); limited knowledge to the phenomenal

                                             world; moral principles are categorical imperatives with no exceptions; emphasized

                                             individual conscience; wrote Critique of Pure Reason

                              Voltaire (French, Francois Marie Arouet) - advocated Deism; reduced religion to beliefs

                                             justified by rational inference from nature

                              Blaise Pascal (French) - wrote Pensees

                              Emanuel Swedenborg (Swedish) - mystic

                              Jean Jacques Rosseau (French) - state is based on a social contract with its citizens;

                                             civilization is a corruption of human nature; wrote Confessions and the Social Contract

               Absolute Idealism (1800s)

                              Johann Gottlieb Fichte (German) - will is the ultimate reality; world created by absolute

                                             ego; called an atheist

                              Friedrich von Schelling (German) - reduced everything to self-realizing activities of the

                                             absolute spirit; romanticism


                                             Ralph Waldo Emerson (US) - oversoul, self-reliance; wrote Self-Reliance,

                                                            American Scholar, Nature

                                             Henry David Thoreau (US) - wrote Walden and Civil Disobedience

                              Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (German) - truth is a process not a state; source of

                                             reality is the absolute spirit that becomes concrete by dialectrical triadic states with thesis,

                                             antithesis, and synthesis; history is more real than science; the state is the highest absolute

                                             spirit; wrote Phenomenology of Mind

                              Arthur Scholpenhauser (German) - nature and reality are products of irrational will; only

                                             escape is through art; wrote The World as Will and Idea

                              Auguste Comte (French) - advocated positivism; all knowledge is in positive (factual)

                                             science; arranged sciences with sociology at top

                              John Stuart Mill (British) - wrote Utilitarianism, advocating greatest good for greatest


                              Jeremy Bentham (British) - enunciated utilitarianism

                              Soren Kierkegaard (Danish) - defended felling; subjective problem solving methods;

                                             wrote Fear and Trembling

               Evolutionary (1800s)

                              Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (German) - advocated dialectrical materialism; matter is

                                             the ultimate reality; historical materialism; wrote Communist Manifesto

                              Herbert Spencer (British) - "survival of the fittest" philosophy

                              Friedrich Nietzsche (German) - "will to power" is source of all value; called for return

                                             from religious values to primitive and natural values of courage and strength; called

                                             Christianity "slave morality"; wrote Thus Spake Zarathustra

                              Pragmatism (1800s)

                                             Charles Sanders Pierce (US) - formulated pragmatic theory defining concept as

                                                            the predictions it makes

                                             William James (US) - formulated pragmatic theory of truth; all beliefs are

                                                            evaluated by their usefulness

                                             Francis Bradley (British) - no relationships exist because there is only one real

                                                            subject, the real itself; all else is contradictory

                              Pragmatic Idealism (1900s)

                                             Josiah Royce (US) - human life is the effort of finite self to expand into absolute self

                                             John Dewey (US) - advocated experimental naturalism and instrumentalism;

                                                            advocated education to prepare children for a creative life

                                             Henri Bergson (French) - proposed evolutionary vitalism

                                             Edmund Husserl (German) - founded school of phenomenology; studied

                                                            structures of consciousness

                              Alfred North Whitehead (British) - developed highly technical system of concepts; 1900s

                                             show failures of mechanistic science; things are living processes; wrote

                                             Principia Mathematica with Russell

                              George Santayana (US) - combined pragmatism, Platonism, and materialism; stressed


                              Beredetto Croce (Italian) - idealist

               Logical empiricism (logical positivism; analytical philosophy)

                              Bertrand Russell (British) - advocated empiricism and utilitarianism; applied

                                             math to philosophy; developed logical empiricism (established at Vienna; combination

                                             of Hume's positivism and Cartesian rigor; metaphysics and theology are inadequate;


                              GE Moore (British) - realist revolt against idealism; applied common sense

                              AJ Ayer (British) - wrote Language Truth and Logic

                              Rudolph Carnap (US)

                              Gilbert Ryle (British) - wrote The Concept of Mind

                              Ludwig Wittgenstein (German) - wrote Tractatus Logicus philosophicus;

                                             linguistic analysis

               Existential Philosophy (1900s) - based on existence, freedom, and choice

                              Martin Heidegger (German) - substitute Nothingness for God as source of values;

                                             combines work of Husserl and Kierkegaard; wrote Being and Time

                              Karl Jaspers (German) - finds God (Transcendence) in human emotions

                              Jose Ortega y Gasset (Spanish) - defended intuition

                              Martin Buber (Austrian) - combined Jewish mysticism with existential thought

                              Karl Barth (Swiss) - knowledge is more emotional than science

                              Reinhold Niebuhr (US)

                              Paul Tillich (US) - brought depth psychology to Protestantism

                              Maurice Merleau-Ponty (French)

                              Jean Paul Sartre (French) - humans project themselves out of nothingness by asserting

                                             values and assuming moral responsibility; wrote Being and Nothingness


                              JL Austin (British) - ordinary-language philosopher

                              Jacques Maritain (French) - Neo-Thomist




Religious Leaders


Based on lists in The World Almanac


Lao-Tzu (Chinese, 500s BC) - founded Taoism

Confucius (Chinese, 500s-400s BC) - founder of Confucianism

Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama, Indian, 500s-400s BC) - founded Buddhism

St. Paul (Roman, 0s) - Christian missionary and epistle writer

St. Patrick (Irish, 400s) - brought Christianity to Ireland

St. Benedict (Italian, 500s) - founded Benedictines

Muhammad (Arab, 600s) - prophet of Islam

Thomas a Becket (English, 1100s) - archbishop of Canterbury; murdered by Henry II's men

St. Francis of Assisi (Italian, 1200s) - founded Franciscans

John Wycliffe (English, 1300s) - reformer; Bible translator

Jan Hus (Bohemian, 1300s-1400s) - religious reformer; burned at stake

Thomas a Kempis (German, 1400s) - wrote Imitation of Christ

Ignatius of Loyola (Spanish, 1500s) - founded Jesuits

Martin Luther (German, 1500s) - leader in Protestant Reformation; posted 95 theses 1517

John Calvin (French, 1500s) - leader in Protestant Reformation

John Knox (Scottish, 1500s) - leader in Protestant Reformation

Huldrych Zwingli (Swedish, 1500s) - leader of Protestant Reformation in Switzerland

Thomas Cranmer (English, 1500s) - wrote Book of Common Prayer; worked for Henry VIII

John Biddle (English, 1600s) - founder of English Unitarianism

John Cotton (English, 1600s) - Puritan theologian

William Brewster (English, 1600s) - headed Pilgrims

George Fox (British, 1600s) - founded Society of Friends (Quakers)

Roger Williams (US, 1600s) - championed separation of church and state; founded Rhode Island

Jonathan Edwards (US, 1700s) - preacher in Great Awakening

Cotton Mather (US, 1700s) - orthodox Puritan; founded Yale

Heinrich Muhlenberg (German, 1700s) - organized Lutheran Church in America

Friedrich Schleiermacher (German, 1700s-1800s) - Protestant theologian

Bahaullah (Mirza Husayn Ali, Persian, 1800s) - founded Baha'i

William Ellery Channing (US, 1800s) - spokesman for Unitarianism

Mary Baker Eddy (US, 1800s) - founded Christian Science; wrote Science and Health

Dwight Moody (US, 1800s) - evangelist

John H Newman (British, 1800s) - Catholic cardinal; led Oxford Movement; wrote Apologia pro Vita Sua

Joseph Smith (US, 1800s) - founder of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)

Brigham Young (US, 1800s) - led Mormons to Utah

Lyman Abbot (US, 1800s-1900s) - advocate of Christian Socialism

Felix Adler (US, 1800s-1900s) - founded Ethical Culture Society

William Inge (British, 1800s-1900s) - explored mystic aspects of Christianity

Charles T. Russell (US, 1800s-1900s) - founded Jehovah's Witnesses

Karl Barth (Swiss, 1900s) - Protestant theologian

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German, 1900s) - Lutheran theologian executed by Nazis

Emil Brunner (Swiss, 1900s) - Protestant theologian

Thomas Merton (US, 1900s) - Trappist monk; wrote The Seven Storey Mountain

Elijah Muhammad (US, 1900s) - leader of Black Muslims

Norman Vincent Peale (US, 1900s) - wrote The Power of Positive Thinking

Albert Schweitzer (German, 1900s) - medical missionary

Billy Sunday (US, 1900s) - evangelist

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (French, 1900s) - Catholic priest; paleontologist; wrote The Divine Milieu

Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (Japanese, 1900s) - Buddhist scholar