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The Philosophers Who Changed The World With Their Ideas

Home Articles The Philosophers Who Changed The World With Their Ideas

The Philosophy is a word whose root meaning is literally "love of wisdom", is a branch of knowledge that is responsible for accounting for the diversity of conflicts and fundamental issues of rationality, reality and aspects of the human being as the own existence, truth, learning and knowledge, beauty or morals.


427 BC - 347 BC

Plato was one of the most prominent figures of Greek philosophy. He was a disciple of Socrates and founded the Academy in 387 a. C. (approx.), Giving rise to an institution that would stand as an intellectual reference for more than nine hundred years. Aristotle was one of the great students of Plato in the Academy.

Political philosophy, as well as ethics and morality,  were some of the issues that most concerned the philosopher. He wrote about these and other matters, always through dialogues.

No doubt his research and thoughts, transmitted thanks to the medium conservation of his works, set a precedent that many thinkers have drunk over time.



384 BC - 322 BC

The trajectory of Western thought and knowledge largely owes its development to the disciple of Plato: Aristotle.

Aristotle, after entering the Academy of Athens, began a detailed study of the many issues that troubled him. Thus, she gave birth to more than 200 treatises on subjects as varied as philosophy applied to science, logic, metaphysics, rhetoric or astronomy.

However, few have been the works that have been able to keep the author, greatly hampering the task of investigating their line of thought.

One of his great occupations in life was to become a teacher of Alexander the Great, to whom he contributed meticulous training.


354 AD - 430 AD

Saint Augustine of Hippo was the greatest thinker of Christianity of the first millennium. Considered at present a saint and doctor of the Catholic Church.

He devoted much of his life to his writings, giving rise to a productive work that accounts for the issues that concerned him: philosophy and theology.

St. Augustine, of restless personality and alert mind, went through several critical stages throughout his life. Influenced by Platonic writings, among others, he spent his youth hand in hand with rationalism.

However, time led him back to faith, until he found an intermediate point in which reason and faith coexisted in his thoughts. This is the basis on which the thinker cemented his theories and works.


1225 - 1274

Thomas Aquinas is one of the philosophers in which the different influences of authors before him converge.

He devoted his life to philosophical and theological study, thus becoming a benchmark of the knowledge of the time.

His faith led him to join the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), where he was the greatest representative of scholastic teaching.

Systematic Theology was another of the subjects on which he worked tirelessly, coming to generate an influence on the dominant thought of the time that earned him the name of two schools of thought:



1595 - 1650

There were many branches of knowledge in which this thinker worked. René Descartes studied philosophy, mathematics and physics, giving rise to a rational and systematic thought. In addition, their rationalistic concerns ended up leading to the creation of analytical geometry. At present, he is considered the father of modern philosophy, and it is known that he played an important role in the Scientific Revolution. The basic principle of Western rationalism: cogito ergo sum (I think, therefore I am), bears his signature.

Another of his great contributions to science was the development of the philosophical and scientific method, in which he develops the "Rules for the direction of the mind".


1632 - 1704

Locke was a doctor and philosopher of British origin. Considered at the present time as the father of the Classic Liberalism and one of the precursory figures that impelled the development of the thought of the Illustration in the period of the Century of the Lights, that he did not get to live.

Strongly influenced by authors such as Francis Bacon, he had a high participation in the development of the theoretical-political idea of the social contract. It is one of the most preponderant figures of English empiricism.

Later authors such as Voltaire and Rousseau were highly influenced by the thought of John Locke, particularly by his theory of knowledge and his political theory. One of the topics that most concerned the philosopher was the study of identity and self, which later served philosophers like Hume for the construction of his works.


1711 - 1776

Historian, economist, sociologist and philosopher are especially relevant in the evolution of the Enlightenment in Scotland. The scepticism and naturalism are two of the ideas in which he unfolded his theories. Authors such as Locke and Berkeley were a great influence on the thinking of Hume, as well as international scientists such as Isaac Newton.

One of the thoughts that Hume most affirmed in life is that the essence of knowledge lies in the sensory experience, the primary source of knowledge.


1712 - 1778

Rousseau, the thinker of Swiss origin, worked on many issues that are currently considered a polymath of the time.

Although he has gone down in history as a key figure in the Enlightenment, there are several issues that make him differentiate from his enlightened contemporaries. His contradiction to enlightened thought earned him conflicts with thinkers like Voltaire. He devoted himself to writing, music, philosophy, pedagogy, naturalism and botany. His style of writing and thinking categorizes him as a pre-romantic.

His political ideas supposed a before and after in the development of the French Revolution. He incorporated concepts such as general will and alienation into the political and social study.


1724 - 1804

Kant, through the development of his theories, became the precursor of German idealism. At present, the philosopher is considered one of the most influential thinkers of modern Europe and universal philosophy.

The critical Kantian project is a turning point in the history of philosophy and is one of the heights of modern thought. His most recognized works are Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason and Critique of Judgment. He proposed philosophy beyond the struggle between empiricism and rationalism, becoming a huge influence on the thinking of Germany at the time.


1818 - 1883

Of the Jewish and natural origin of Prussia, Marx was an economist, journalist, philosopher, sociologist and historian. His militancy in the communist side decisively influenced the development of his work. However, his theories were not exclusively political, despite being the subject for which he is most known. He worked in common with Friedrich Engels, giving birth to scientific socialism. The development of his theories led to modern communism and Marxism. Two of the works in which Marx's thought can be analyzed are the "Manifesto of the Communist Party" and "The Capital".

Along with other authors, Karl Marx was constituted as one of the fathers of modern social science.


1844 - 1900

One of the key figures of contemporary thought. Nietzsche was a philologist, poet, musician and philosopher. His line of thought is based on the analysis of man's moral attitudes towards life. He also fervently criticizes religion and culture.

One of his greatest concerns was the triumph of the secularism of the Enlightenment. This led to the statement: "God is dead." There were many later thinkers who made use of their approach to their theories. The worldview with which he dealt with his theories directly impacted hegemonic thinking, radically changing the direction of the philosophy of the future 20th century.


1889 - 1951

Wittgenstein worked in the field of logic and mathematics, as well as linguistics and philosophy. His influence reached the Vienna Circle and the logical positivists, although he never recognized himself as part of it. His work has to be divided into different stages, because not only did his thinking change; rather, Wittgenstein himself strongly criticized his line of primary research in his later works. The study of language was one of his main concerns, dedicating great efforts in all his works.

The concept of truth was also a great inspiration. About him, Wittgenstein affirmed that, as with any other word, the isomorphic relation between language and the world is what determines the correspondence between the sense of a proposition and the fact itself.


1883 - 1955

Of Spanish nationality, Ortega developed his philosophical theories in the current Noucentista, becoming the father of the theory of perspectivism and the vital reason. His work, written in essay form, has been an enormous influence on the development of Spanish thought. He was the central figure of Spanish culture at the beginning of the 20th century.

The context of political and ideological crisis that took place in the Spain of 1900 served him as a breeding ground to house his thoughts and theories. The author's thought is divided into three different stages: The first, objectivism, the second, perspectivism, and the third, with a clear inclination towards the maturity of the thought, expressed through rationalism.

His quote is "I am me and my circumstance, and if I do not save them I do not save myself", gives an account of Ortega's concern for man and the context in which he develops.

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