Free «Philosophers» Essay
Socrates (469- 399 BC) was an ancient philosopher and the first philosopher in Athens. Р Born in Athens in 470 BC to the family of a stonemason, who taught young Socrates to make him a sculptor, and a midwife, he used to say that absorbed mother’s art as a philosophical method. The philosopher said that he was a midwife of men’s thoughts and souls. Moreover, Socrates studied at one of the most famous philosophers of antiquity - Anaxagoras from Clazomen, who was also a teacher of Pericles. Unfortunately, Socrates almost never left Athens and traveled a little. As a young man, he visited only Delphi, Corinth and the island of Samos, along with the philosopher Archelaus. Socrates took part in a few battles such as the Battle of Potidaea in 432 BC and Amifipole in 422 BC. Besides, he was an impressive orator and considered his audience as friends. He impacted people’s minds because of his inherent charm, which cased envy and hostility against him. Although he was accused of unrespectable behavior with gods and corruption of youth, he considered philosophy as his mission and continued his study. He did not want to be prisoned and took the poison surrounded by his students. More by token, one of the main points of Socrates’ study was the realization of own ignorance. Nevertheless, he stated that the only thing he knew exactly was that there was no thing that he knew. The philosopher believed that people should investigate themselves to acquire the more knowledge possible. Additionally, a person for Socrates means a soul, which in its turn, includes people’s minds, ability to think, morality, and conscience. According to the philosopher, the main task of the teacher is to teach his students how to educate their souls. Goodness, which is connected with cognition, is the major attribute, which makes the soul perfect. As a result, according to Socrates, a person is happy only if his or her internal world is ordered.
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Diogenes (412 – 323 BC) was born in Sinop, to the family of the prominent banker, Gicesius. He had to leave the city when he was young because its citizens accused him of making the artificial money with his father. According to one of the legends, hesitating Diogenes was looking for oracle Apollo to know what to do and went to Delphi. The oracles advised him to reconsider all of his life values, which he perceived as an inspiration to continue his business of the production of artificial money. On the other hand, it is also said that Diogenes went to Delphi after he had been accused as a forger, and that he was looking for advice on how to become famous. After he had received the advice, he went wandering across the country. In 355-350 BC, he arrived at the capital, where he became a student of Antisthenes, who founded cynics’ school. He is considered as seven ancient tragedies’ author. It should be noted that he had unusual manners and behavior, which influenced the surrounding people. Namely, one of the most important points of his study was to copy the nature to develop people’s souls. He believed that it was the primary and only people’s goal, and to achieve it, a person had to work, exercise, and think a lot. He was a free citizen of the world and said that wives and children had to be common for all the people, and claimed that there was no stable authority in philosophy. He considered primitive societies as the most ideal with all their simple and natural moralities, mentality and state of minds. Nevertheless, he said that philosophy could treat people as a doctor. The philosopher remained indifferent to the norms of morality and wealth. He lived in a barrel and almost did not wear any clothes and communicated with people roughly and straightly. Therefore, the citizens called him a dog.
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Plato (423 BC – 348 BC) was a Greek mathematician, philosopher, a student of Socrates, and Athens’ Academy founder, the first institution of higher education for the Europeans. Socrates, his student Aristotle, and Plato founded the philosophy and science in the ancient world. Therefore, philosophy, math, logic, and ethics were impacted by him. He was born in an aristocratic family in Athens, where he showed good results in studies and impressed others by his abilities to absorb knowledge quickly and accurately and express his thoughts. He was permanently referencing to Socrates, whose name appears in the majority of Plato’s writings. These notes helped to investigate Socrates’ life and thoughts. However, he used his interpretation of the teacher’s words adding and commenting them. Plato investigated almost all the existing subjects, but he created his unique philosophy. He differed soul from the body (corporeal world), a material world’s imperfection and transcended material imperfections’ highest ideals. His philosophy operated between the mental and material world and contributed to higher ideas’ aspiration. He believed in incarnation, which means that current people’s lives are based on their previous choices. Pythagoras’ transmigration viewpoints impacted Plato’s philosophy, as well. A ruler, according to Plato, should be a wise and powerful leader must be able to represent justice and wisdom, was the key principle of Plato’s politics. Plato critiqued democracy system of Athens. He claimed that until philosophers, who can rule people adequately and genuinely, do not become rulers, all the citizens in the world would suffer from evils. Plato did not write any treatises but inspired people to ask themselves important questions and answer these questions by themselves. These methods are integral in leading to change and development, which highlights the fact that Plato, as his teacher, Socrates, was an observer, not a preacher.
Pythagoras (570–495 BC) was a Greek religious leader, philosopher, and mathematician. He was the first to define himself as a philosopher, or a wisdom lover. His study impacted Plato, and, through Plato Western philosophy was founded. Pythagorean right-angled triangle theorem is the most well-known result of his activity. There is not much information about Pythagoras life. He was born on Samos, a Greek island, was influenced by Egyptian and Greek teachers and learned Babylonian mathematical study. Moreover, he played the lyre, was interested in poetry, geometry, and astronomy, and in 530 BC he became an important person in Croton, Italy. Pythagoras absorbed different religions and created his own, which was based on self-control, being a vegetarian, simple lifestyle, and temperance. The philosopher was also a mystic, and, as a result, taught people various mystical practices. Self-introspection, meditation, and silence were inherent practices of the study. The students had to pass a test of equanimity’s and character calmness. Furthermore, he believed in reincarnation (soul transmigration) and possible transmigration between people and animals, although his study was focused on the indication of people’s mystical elements and their souls. However, only initiated people, who were chosen by teachers of esoteric religiouns, could receive the secret knowledge. Freemasons and Rosicrucians were significantly influenced by these secret mystical traditions and practices. Pythagoras was able to create a powerful movement and a strong sense of friendship and brotherhood in all of his groups using his charisma and fellowship bonds. Nevertheless, there appeared many opponents of his theory due to the influence his teachings had, and, as a result, his study had to become underground because of a few attacks. The philosopher emphasized the importance of simple living and pointed to others’ indulgences, which caused the unpopularity of other approaches. Moreover, Pythagoras did not approve Croton’s citizens’ immoral style of life, which contributed to the appearance of ill-wishers.
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Confucius was a person, who taught moral principles of ancient wisdom. He was born in 551 BC in a family of an ordinary couple. His mother showed him the ancient courts’ etiquette, music, poetry, and ceremonies, and his father was a soldier. In his philosophy, Li ment the cultural and moral principles to be followed although he was born when religion and culture had significantly declined. Unfortunately, there were many fiefdoms, which fought for leadership, because Chou, a great Chinese dynasty, had already declined. The philosopher had to spend approximately three years of bereavement and seclusion because of his mother’s death, which inspired him to concentrate on philosophic thoughts. At the end of this period, he became a teacher, and his main goal of teaching was to teach people Li’s ancient art. In a few years Confucius became a skilled professional in Li art, and, as a result, was hired as the chief sage of duke Lu. Unfortunately, the duke was expelled as a consequence of ministers’ revolution. Conduct and morality ancient codes had been perfected by Confucius for 14 year of exile because he followed duke Lu after the city ministers expelled the duke. Confucius taught his pupils to learn his study depending on their desires and features of characters. Moreover, he broke the traditions and became a good friend for all his students. Nevertheless, there was a lot of envy towards the philosopher because of his impact’s and reputation’s permanent growing. The philosopher was not successful in his time, and his philosophy had to complete a long way of 300 years to become a significant teaching, which has impacted many Chinese generations and philosophies. He did not believe in any miracles or divinity, but he believed in education’s great power, respectful attitude to the past, and wanted to get rid of corruption.
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Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) was a polymath, natural scientist, and philosopher of Ancient Greece, who thoroughly investigated the environment. His researches and ideas became a basis for the intellectual studies of the Western world. The first Millennium knowledge and science were impacted by his writings and works. A high variety of scientific and intellectual studies helped Western civilization to develop. The most prominent of the philosopher’s contemporaries were Alexander the Great and Plato. He based his own study on Plato’s and Socrates’s philosophic traditions, and he was the most renowned polymath at that time. Although the philosophic schools, which experience he absorbed, were very great and unique, and he was a good student, he had his own point of view. For example, he asked a plethora of difficult and unsolved questions and tried to solve the most challenging and, sometimes, even unsolvable problems. He made a breakthrough in various branches of study such as logic, philosophy, physics, and botany, and also was known as an impressive debater and lecturer, as well as compassionate man. His physics investigations had an impact on Medieval and European Renaissance science, which were later replaced by Isaac Newton’s investigations. According to the philosopher, the major way to eliminate all the people’s problems was to use reason’s power, and he was convinced that study and self-inquiry would help the humanity to become enlightened. Moreover, he believed that rational thought was the basis of goodness, and jealousy, anger, and pride were the main human weaknesses, which led people to degradation. Furthermore, he was Alexander the Great’s teacher, whom he taught of ethics, history, and political philosophy. Freedom and justice were the fundamental concepts of the philosopher’s political model. These concepts were seen as those enabling to pursue noble ideas and live a harmonious life. Ethics, optics, medicine, logic, and zoology were developed by this prominent philosopher.
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Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 AD) was a representative of five Great Roman Emperors, whose practices were the basic model for the Ancient Roman rules. He absorbed stoic philosophy knowledge along with the wise statesmanship. Self-improvement and self-inquiry were the most important aspects of his study. His family was aristocratic and had close ties with the current emperor’s family. Hadrian picked him to become his successor in 138 AD. He constantly studied classical Greek and Latin writings. Epictetus’ works of stoic philosophy were his favorite, and he read them with great pleasure. Calm detachment philosophy and stoic philosophy of detachment of calm to the life’s vagaries were developed by their founder, Epictetus. After Hadrian’s death in 161 AD, the future emperor received a great power, which was legitimately seized. Notwithstanding, he determined his government in unity with Lucius Verus who became the East’s joint emperor. Furthermore, the position of women and slaves was greatly impacted by this prominent emperor, whose policy was very progressive in domestic and social spheres. What is more, the bulk of his works were written under the impression of permanent attacks of Germans and Syrians and expressed claims against deaths and wars. His study highlighted how important it was not to be afraid of death and that life had a transitory nature.
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The other four Great Emperors were defined by a famous historian, Edward Gibbon, and they are Antonius Pius, Hadrian, Trajan, and Nerva. They are called Great because they ruled their countries and societies based on moral principles and wisdom regardless the unlimited power in their hands. Marcus Aurelius claimed that it was important to develop people’s souls through thorough and accurate self-investigation and understanding who they were. He considered the internal world of people as a source of power, which always had a high mortality rate. He said that everything could be easily changed, the time was passing by, and everything would vanish away.
Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) was a French mathematician and philosopher. Considered as a modern philosophy founder, he overcame standards of Aristotelian scholastic traditions of medieval period. To find the truth he used the reason of human, which was important for English mentality and formation of the principles of modern philosophy. Isaac Newton was influenced by his mathematical researches. In 1619, living in Neuburg an der Donau, he founded his new philosophy. It was innovative for those times because he based his works on his own observations rather than used others’ opinions. He applied a metaphysical approach to everything and, as he said, he was not sure about anything when looking for what the truth was. After the determination of these aspects, he understood that his own thoughts were the only things he was able to be sure about. As a result, he believed that if he doubted, there might be something causing his doubt, which was the basis of his thought, and thus, he existed because he thought. Moreover, the philosopher relied on his own senses more than on anything from the surrounding world, which supported his claim about his ability to think. God’s benevolence was proved by his way of thinking through the ontological proof of God’s existence. He was convinced that existence of a supreme, clear and perfect being was supposed from the distinct and clear idea of its existence. More by token, the dualism of personality is one of the major parts of his study stating that the body differed from the soul (mind) of a person, and described in his works how body could control mind, and how mind could control body. He also influenced the development of moral philosophy, which consisted of obeisance of the customs and laws, allowing clear justifications and absorbing practices of everyone, who surrounded him. The final method of his thoughts was in the ability to control people’s desires and minds.
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Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) systematized philosophical ethics based on the morality of secular post-religious era. He created a term of the categorical imperative, which expands our view and helps us to understand the way we behave immediately. He was convinced that it would soon become the law, common for the whole universe. Moreover, he stated that people should behave in the way they expected others to act. Kant lived in a structured world and did not have any doubts about the surrounding practices because his life was very predictable. Nevertheless, his categorical imperative is acceptable for the modern living because people should act as if they want others to interact with them. Unfortunately, a decline of traditional systems of religion took place, which had led, as Kant said, to the age of growing secularism. He considered this phenomenon as the major feature of his era. Additionally, the most interesting fact is that Kant expressed pessimism in accordance with characters of human beings because he thought that the human nature is disposed to corruption. Nevertheless, the philosopher proposed a way to eliminate this problem, namely to have a religious authority t replaced with reason’s authority. For instance, Critique of Pure Judgment was one of the most prominent works of Kant, which considers political philosophy’s issues from the aesthetics’ approach. Besides, his works and research are one of the most eminent in the whole Western philosophy and, as a result, had a great impact on people’s minds of those ages. More by token, Kant believed that human reason is an inevitable part of happy existence. The central place of his work belongs to the claim that it is important to understand how the reasoning works. Finally, it works by comprehending of a great number of limitations’ existence.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a German philosopher famous for investigating the concepts of evil and good, religion’s end, and super-man concept. He was born on October 15, 1844, in Germany, in a small village, in a family of a Lutheran preacher. He suffered from insanity approximately from 1890, which caused his early death. Furthermore, he is known for researching the morality and individuality. He finished a famous Schulpforta’s school, where he acquired prestigious education. In 1864 Nietzsche attended Bonn’s University for a year but was a transferred to Leipzig’s University, where he studied history, linguistics, literature, and philology, and where Schopenhauer’s works impacted his outlook. Moreover, he and Richard Wagner, a famous composer, became friends there. Nietzsche became a classical philology professor in Basel’s University, where he published his first works, in 1869. Besides, he started teaching Schopenhauer’s philosophy and paid particular attention to modern lifestyle having abandoned classical studies. Beginning from 1879, he suffered from insanity, left his professorship, and began moving from place to place (Switzerland, France, and Italy).