Top 10 Greatest Philosophers of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Aristotle Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece.

He puts a distinct idea into play that Philosophy could not purely be speculative. This idea would go on to influence rationalism, nihilism, atheism and so many more schools of thought.

Not number 1 wow!

2 Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history.

Nietzsche is the ultimate in deconstruction. As a historian, Nietzsche studied the flow and logic of history and analyzed it through philosophy. As such, he showed that no truths exist, all truths are situated in whatever historical context one lives in.

Amazing ideas, he deserves the number 1 spot more than anyone for the controversial things he said. (he was also the main inspiration for existentialism)

If you haven't read his work, it's like you haven't kissed a girl yet but once you do you inadvertently fall in love with her...

Niestzsche, father of our era's philosophy, everyone should (try at least to) read "thus spoke Zarathustra" philosophy and poetry by the hand of Nietzsche.. A point of no return.

3 Socrates Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, and as being the first moral philosopher, of the Western ethical tradition of thought.

Socrates, and NOT Plato, set up what philosophy as a whole became... the elenchus and the apoeria remain two philosophical tools a philosopher gets cleaned up in, still.

Socrates never wrote anything. All the Socratic theories are in fact the theories of his pupil Plato.

For someone who may not have even be real, be sure was influential

4 Plato Plato was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.

Although Plato is not my favorite philosopher (because his writings lack the qualities that a philosopher should pursue most of all: clarity and being concise) and hardly any of his ideas can be considered indisputable, in terms of influence on the whole subject of philosophy he has no match. The modern philosophical disciplines, such as ontology, epistemology, and ethics, can be traced back to his dialogues; and virtually any philosophical problem which philosophers have been trying to solve for the last two thousand years was initially formulated by Plato.

It's very difficult to explain Plato's philosophy because it treats about many things ( ethics, politics, love, justice... ) but a great part of Plato's philosophy is based on the ideas of ideal forms. The world that we're experience is an illusion because only what's unvariable and eternal can be reality ( a theory by Parmenides ). There must be something that has eternal and unvariable forms who are the " blueprints " for the factual things we see trough our senses and our experience. Plato says that there are different individual horses, dogs, cats etc.. but they all made of one universal idea or form of a horse, a dog, a cat and so on. To understand the concept of Plato's theory of ideas, we can explain it trough an example ( the idea of a car that didn't exist in Plato's time ). The blueprint of the " idea of a car " was there. After someone experienced the idea he made out of his experience of the idea of the form a car. Once this idea is put in practice in " this " material ...more

Plato had the right ideas, and it's a shame they weren't executed. According to him, philosophers should be kings, as they'd make the best rulers, to which I agree for the most part. He deserves to be 1st.

As whitehead said the entire western philosophical tradition is a series of footnotes to plato... It seems though that in this poll the footnotes take precedence over the main text

5 René Descartes René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist who invented analytical geometry, linking the previously separate fields of geometry and algebra.

After analysed every radical doubt, he came to the conclusion that one thing is sure; that he exist.
His saying "I think, therefore I am" was true even if he was dreaming, even when his senses played tricks with his mind. It was even necessarily true because it's impossible to deny it without being in contradiction with yourself (if you're saying that you have doubts about your existence it proves in fact that you exist otherwise you wouldn't have a doubt to begin with). You also can't ignore the existence of your thoughts because it's with your thinking that you're able to get doubts. Therefore, thinking and I (my existence) are the same. A proven self-identity that has a body and mind.

I think, therefore I am.

6 Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx ( 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, critic of political economy, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the four-volume Das Kapital (1867–1883). Marx's political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic, and political history. His name has been used as an adjective, a noun, and a school of social theory.

Marx fundamentally changes every century after him. Within a few decades of his death several countries had already officially subscribed to his philosophy. Even if you disagree heavily, on old teacher used to tell me "You can't deny his influence, he is a philosopher with an army behind him"

Karl Marx philosophy is based on dialectic materialism as opposed to Hegel's dialectic absolute idealism. According to dialectic materialism there are conflicts between economic classes. After feodalism we came in a new these. The Industrial employers of capitalism. The new these of capitalism will generate the antithese of the proletarian or working class. The synthese that will come out of this conflict is in Karl Marx's view socialism. To stop the conflicts that capitalism is generating it is necessary to maintain the productivity of economy trough socialism. Because capitalism will strive only to make benefits and therefore take advantage of the working class for producing more and more things that society really doesn't need. The unequality between the two classes will grow till there will be only rich and poor classes. Capitalism VS work. Only socialism who will maintain the equality can stop the unhuman conditions that will come if capitalism can do whatever it wants to do.

He showed the world the problems of modern ideology and the exploitation of the working class from the rich, he paved the way for famous revolutionary such as Vladimir lenin, Mao zedog, ho chi min, Kim il song, Fidel castro, and the most famous, che guevara, he changed the world.

I think he didn't fully understood the real nature of mankind. The good and the bad (a ethic question) in each one of us and our individuality that can make us sometimes egoistic.
His view of society is because of that utopic. In practic it would be without a doubt a totalirian society.

7 Immanuel Kant

Single-handedly saved the philosophy of science and the scientific method.

One of the best

8 Carl Jung
9 Confucius Confucius was a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. He is the founder of the religion with the same name as him. Confucius believed he was doing the Will of Ti'en (God or 'Heaven') by preaching ethics.

Inventor of the golden rule and promoter of respect...
To live a full life you must respect each other and treat them the way you want to be treated. Most philosophers think of knowledge and of god and the way the world works, but Confucius thinks of human morals and respect. Greatest philosopher to have ever lived.

10 David Hume

Hume is easily the most revolutionary philosopher of all time. He shook the foundations of what people knew to be true and philosophers will never stop struggling over his questions. He pointed out that inductive and probablistic reasoning are not based on logic because there is no logical reason to believe that nature is universal. He also pointed out that our belief that some things "cause" other things or that there is a necessary connection between them is flawed as well. Similarly, he rejected the idea that moral principles can be logically derived from facts about the world. Hume also discussed the contradictions in the ideas of God relating to the finite and infinite. Hume's skeptical questions cleared out millennia of BS to help us at get at the true reasons why we believe the things we do.

The Contenders
11 Baruch Spinoza

This man should be number one. He has a unique way of explained the universe don't mind he grew up Jewish and have always explained things as clean as possible.

12 Jean-Jacques Rousseau
13 John Locke
14 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

He was a great influence for Marx, and yet Proudhon's ideas were even better.

15 Thomas Hobbes
16 Max Stirner

I think his book "The unique and his property" is one of the best books about individualism. Very extreme in his approach but there's certainly a truth in what he is thinking and writing. Many people think that is approach is close to egoism but if you read it closely he makes the difference between that thin line.
One of the few thinkers who understood the real nature of mankind and therefor one who rejected many ethic-theories. His writing and thinking was of a great influence for anarchists like Proudhon, Bakoenin, Malatesta and many others.

He taught me to value myself.

17 Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and the putative founder of the movement called Pythagoreanism.

More a cultleader than a philosopher although Plato was for a part influenced by his thinking. But we can call him the godfather of modern mathematic philosophy if you will. Egyptians before him were also great practicers of mathematics but they didn't make a cult or philosophy of it.

18 Niccolo Machiavelli
19 Søren Kierkegaard

Is considered as the "father of existentialism" even if Soren Kierkegaard would not accepted that notion. Existentialism would be nothing more than a label in his point of view. But the "label" of being an existentialist has its origin because he said that many philosophies before him never said anything about fundamental human conditions like for instance choice. He said: "What I'm really missing is a clear image in my mind about what I have to do, not of what I have to known... It's all about finding a truth that's true for me, the idea for a purpose with my life and what to do with it..." His answer to finding his own truth is passion because the conclusions of passions are the only ones you can trust in his point of view. What the present time (according to him) is missing, is not reflection but passion. We are in a non-stop confrontation of taking decisions. Choice is therefore always with us and that is a companion and a burden at the same time. Hence his search for "what's ...more

Existentialism is becoming more relevant in our times, and perhaps more than it has been ever. Kierkegaard provides interesting and unique views.

This guy´s just downright brilliant. While philosophers before him were all about giving answers, he recognized the importance of doubt and humanity´s limitations of understanding. Flipped everything on it´s head. One of the most influential philosophers to modern thought of all time. As Einstein is to Newton, this guy is to his predecessors.

20 Thomas Aquinas

Most underrated but the best. The 5 ways are greatly misunderstood and always disregarded with strawmen. Aquinas was eons beyond the majority of philosophers. The more you study the Thomist and Aristotelian traditions the more it'll reveal its self, it takes time to fully grasp them.

21 Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation more.

Advocate of religious freedom and made us question religion more.

22 Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father who was principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and served as the 3rd President of the United States from 1801-1809. He was born on April 13, 1743, and died on July 4, 1826, on the same day 2nd United States President John Adams died.
23 Ayn Rand

God no. Objectivism is awful.

24 Epicurus

One of the most practical and relevant philosophers to a person's life. He teaches us to appreciate and not overlook the mundane aspects of life. Instead of relying on some grandiose ambition, relationship, indulgence, or meaning to make you live a good life, we ought strive to achieve ataraxia and aponia. From the absence of suffering we allow enjoyment to creep into our life

The Epicurean Paradox shows how a god can't be benevolent and omnipotent, but still allow evil in the world.

Read the Principal Doctrines. Live by them and live a happy life. The rest is just over-analysis.

25 Arthur Schopenhauer

This dude is way too underrated, need more recognition for his spectacular works!

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