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Great thinkers in the
history of western philosophy

Influential figures in western philosophy

...can we possibly refuse to admit that there exist in each of us the same generic parts and characteristics as are found in the state? For I presume the state has not received them from any other source. It would be ridiculous to imagine that the presence of the spirited element in cities is not to be traced to individuals, wherever this character is imputed to the people, as it is to the natives of Thrace, and Scythia, and generally speaking, of the northern countries; or the love of knowledge, which would be chiefly attributed to our own country; or the love of riches, which people would especially connect with the Phoenicians and the Egyptians.

from Book IV of Plato's "The Republic"
"Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are human actions, like every other natural event, are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment."

Immanuel Kant
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784)

In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain, and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him, and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.

From Emerson's famous Essay ~ History
This last excerpt is included, in expanded form, on our Human Nature - Tripartite Soul page, alongside other evidences in support of such a three-way action of what might be called "Human Existential Being" from World Faith sources, Plato, Pythagoras and Shakespeare.

Human Being seems
to be rather "Tripartite"

Diagram suggesting that Human Nature demonstrates a Spiritual, Materialistic and Tribal or Group-related 'Tripartism'

Philosophy and Social Change

Our shortlist of the most dramatically influential philosphers and greatest thinkers in history of western philosophy is comprised as follows

John Locke Voltaire
Kierkegaard Rousseau

Darwin
Adam Smith Karl Marx
Immanuel Kant



The links below bear some relationship to the dramatically influential figures and great thinkers and writers on our shortlist -


John Locke


John Locke
major works
John Locke
An outline biography
John Locke
mind as a tabula rasa
The text of the
Declaration of Independence
The background to the
Declaration of Independence
The Signatories to the
Declaration of Independence
The Declaration of the Rights
of Man and of the Citizen






Philosophy local menu



Karl Marx and
Communist Ideology


Karl Marx
quirky aspects
of his biography
The Communist Manifesto





Philosophy local menu



Adam Smith


Adam Smith
An outline biography
Adam Smith
Wealth of Nations





Philosophy local menu


Charles Darwin


Charles Darwin
biography
Charles Darwin quotes on
God & religious belief
Charles Darwin
autobiography intro
Charles Darwin
autobiography - full text
Alfred Russel Wallace Thomas Malthus
T H Huxley
An outline biography
Thomas Henry Huxley
Darwin's Bulldog
Charles Darwin's autobiography
The section on Religious Beliefs
The Science - God Darwin - Religion
Debate or Controversy
Charles Darwin's Faith
and Religious Beliefs





Philosophy local menu


Immanuel Kant


Kant - Copernican Revolution Kant - Transcendental Idealism
Immanuel Kant biography





Philosophy local menu


Soren Kierkegaard and
John Paul Sartre


Kierkegaard
An outline biography
Existentialism
Soren Kierkegaard
quotations and quotes
Jean Paul Sartre Albert Schweitzer



Friedrick Nietzsche and
Arthur Schopenhauer


Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Nietzsche
Major Works
Nietzsche quotation -
God is dead
Arthur Schopenhauer
An outline biography
Arthur Schopenhauer
Ideas on philosophy





Philosophy local menu