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


                                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


                                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


                                                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


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

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

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

Karl Barth (Swiss, 1900s) - Protestant theologian

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

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

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

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

William Brewster (English, 1600s) - headed Pilgrims

Emil Brunner (Swiss, 1900s) - Protestant theologian

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

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

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

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

John Cotton (English, 1600s) - Puritan theologian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Muhammad (Arab, 600s) - prophet of Islam

Dwight Moody (US, 1800s) - evangelist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Albert Schweitzer (German, 1900s) - medical missionary

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

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

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

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

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

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