Ancient Greece has had a tremendous influence on society, culture and philosophy of the Western world. Not just in the west, Greeks certainly have managed to make immense contributions to the entire world in a number of ways, more often than not, it has been most apparent in literature and philosophy. A lot of the earliest works of literature in the western world are highly influenced by the Greeks. Western thinkers, generation after generation, have acted upon what Greeks did in the past.
Everyone firmly believed in myths and miracles during the ancient days. The world around us wasn’t as it is now, in terms of science, technology and human development. Nevertheless, the ancient Greek philosophers didn’t believe so. They rather introduced a fresh new concept to the contemporary philosophical perspective. They chipped out all the traditional mythological conclusions that were prevalent at those times. Evidence and reasoning largely became the cornerstones of their interpretations. With the rise of a great many philosophers in Greece, conceptual ideas and groundbreaking works in philosophy started to show up. From human beings to cosmos and what not! Greek philosophers haven’t left out a single area of interest in philosophy.
Here I present to you the 20 most notable name of Greek Philosophers of all time.
1 Socrates (469 BCE – 399 BCE)
Socrates set out a completely new attitude to achieve pragmatic outcomes through implementation of philosophy in our day to day lives – a thing that had been primarily lacking in pre-Socratic approach. He publicly redirected from the unrelenting physical conjectures. The philosophers prior to him were busy assimilating and interpreting to ascertain a moral system founded on human intellect and reasoning.
But Socrates, rather than bringing up concepts strictly founded on his personal interpretations, he’d question everyone often regarding their values and beliefs. He grew into an important figure gathering countless supporters, while on the contrary he likewise made several enemies. In the course of time, his philosophy and practical way of thinking in philosophy resulted in his execution
2 Plato (427 BCE – 347 BCE)
Although Plato was a remarkable student of Socrates, he was mostly shaped by the philosophical school of thought of his master. Nonetheless, even when Socrates was insistently concerned with interpretation of philosophy established entirely on human reasons, Plato indulged himself in blending the two great concepts – Socratic honorable theology and the metaphysics before him. The principal foundation of Plato’s philosophy lies in ethics, dialects and physics – the fundamental point of agreement being the theory of forms. According to Plato, the greatest of forms was that of the ‘good’, that he accepted as what sets off knowledge and the being itself. While in physics, he agreed with Pythagoreans in a great deal.
3 Democritus (460 BC –370 BC)
There are several names in the ancient Greece that have stood out as instances of individuals who attained breakthroughs and made it easier for us to derive our modern understandings. Democritus is one amongst such persons. The ancient Greek philosopher is regarded by many historians as the father of modern science. Although he is normally seen as one of Greece’s natural philosophers before the Socrates, many still debate that he is more of a scientist rather than a philosopher. There’s already been considerable arguing – especially in Germany throughout the 19th century – if Democritus really is deserving of the credit for atomic theory. This discussion draws on the connection Democritus had with a then philosopher Leucippus, who on the other hand was known for revealing his concepts about atoms with Democritus. Having said that, their concepts came down to a new base, a variation that allowed Democritus to have credit for a theory that became an essential part of the modern scientific tradition.
4 Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE)
Of all the disciples of Plato, Aristotle of Stagira was the most influential one. His understanding of issues was mostly centered on the information discovered from personal experiences one gathers in life, a concept that contrasted with that of his master who favored an attitude that was past the handiness of actual physical sensory faculty. He turned out to be a creative writer and an equally innovative polymath, eventually re-inventing the pre-established ideas in just about all regions of expertise. Aristotle is really an essential figure in the ancient Greece whose impact continued to have a positive change way past the boundaries of ancient Greece also much further in time.
5 Anaximander (610 BCE – 546 BCE)
Anaximander of Miletus was a renowned student of Thales. He is acknowledged to be the first known philosophical writer in Greece – considering the fact that he stood out as the sole known philosopher to own the authorship of the earliest verses of the western philosophy. His contributions weren’t just limited to philosophy, he was also a celebrated figure in geography and biology. He came up with the very first world picture of an open universe, redirecting from former idea of a bolted universe. This led him to be the first inquisitive astronomer in the history of humankind. Farther along he stretched out the philosophical viewpoints of his master – proposing a concept which he regarded as the foundation of everything in this universe. A great deal of his efforts may perhaps continue to be abbreviated, particularly with the rise of more generations of philosophers, yet he is still considered to be one of the greatest creative thinkers in the ancient Greece.
6 Thales (620 BCE – 546 BCE)
Thales of Miletus is undoubtedly the Father of Ancient Greek Philosophy. A person that looked into the basic fundamentals like the origin of matter, Thales is considered to be the originator of school of natural philosophy. As a good philosopher, Thales hardly ever restricted his study to a confined field amongst accessible knowledge. He was truly indulged in learning about many facets of practical knowledge like mathematics, philosophy, geography science, etc. He is likewise believed to have designed a well-defined criterion to reason why changes happen everywhere. He has also suggested that water is the principle element of the entire world. His philosophical ideas have become a part of huge contributions to the ancient Greek philosophy from where the following generations of several distinguished theorists, meta-physicists, thinkers and philosophers got a chance to grow bigger.
7 Zeno (490 BCE – 430 BCE)
Zeno of Elea was the very first philosopher in the history of the world to demonstrate the theory of infinity. When the majority of Greek philosophers were using their knowledge and intellect to understand nature as it is, Zeno dedicated all his effort in interpreting various paradoxes and puzzles about plurality and motion. He made an effort to put an in depth depiction to contradicting ideas evident in the physical world that weren’t there for their logic. Amongst a couple of philosophers that defended Parmenides, Zeno was also the one. He propoundednumerous paradoxes himself, that grew to be the topics of debate among subsequent generations of Greek philosophers later on.
8 Diogenes (412 BC -323 BC)
Diogenes of Sinope was probably the most celebrated Cynic philosopher who served as a great example of the Cynic sage in the Ancient Greece. He was supposed to be a disciple of Antisthenes. Keeping up with his teacher’s doctrine and focus on ethical motive, Diogenes brought about a certain kind of sense of humor and dynamism in the history of philosophy.Even though he was originally from Sinope, most of his descriptions consisting of his life story take place in Athens. Yet, it is a debatable issue if Diogenes had left out anything on paper.Provided that if he did, the papers he wrote have already been lost. We know in Cynicism, living and writing are the two essential aspects of meaningful practice, however, Diogenes is a lot like Plato and Socrates, who prefers spoken discussions over the written accounts.
9 Parmenides (510 BCE – 560 BCE)
Parmenides was actually a renowned follower of Pythagoras. His thoughts and poems usually appeared to take a substantial influence from Xanophanes, who many of the historians think is his pupil.
Parmenides was one of the most significant philosophers prior to the time of Socrates. The Greek philosopher has aimed to decipher the greatest question of all time – is it or is it not? Actually, his endeavor in understanding this philosophical puzzle brought about a somewhat paradoxical assertion instead of a worthwhile answer. Parmenides has said that every little thing ‘that is’ should have always been there, since nothing can be derived from ‘nothing’ by itself. The philosophers that came after him worked on merely to this philosophical notion.
10 Pythagoras(570 BCE – 495 BCE)
One more incredible Greek philosopher, Pythagoras was known much more for his ideas and theories in mathematics compared to philosophy. As a matter of fact, he is most commonly known for a geometric theory named after him. No doubt that he is one of the significant names in Ancient Greek society, yet somehow we all actually know quite less about him. He is attributed with establishing a philosophical school that gained him a lot of supporters. Pythagoras, at this school, aimed to look for a mutual balance between the practical factors of philosophy and real life. Not only has he propounded mathematical and philosophical ideas, but also taught the rules of living. He focused his schooling for people in order to lead a harmonious life.
The creator of four element theory of matter – Empedocles was essentially the most significant philosopher in Greece before Socrates. With his philosophical points of interest and exceptional poems, he was able to make an incredible impact on subsequent poets and philosophers in the Ancient Greece. His four element theory of matter essentially consisted of four major elements – air, water, earth and fire. While many historians consider it to be a rushed effort to neutralize the non-dualism principle of Parmenides, the theory however turned out to be amongst the initial concepts in particle physics. Empedocles plainly disapproved the existence of nothingness or a vacant space, therefore contradicting the philosophy of Parmenides all the way through.
12 Anaxagoras (500 BCE – 428 BCE)
Anaxagoras of Clazomenae was a significant personality in the ancient Greece before the time of Socrates. He was a leading scientist and philosopher who stayed in Athens for around thirty years. His philosophical ideas revolved quite a lot around the nature itself. His concepts stood out like a sore thumb from the traditional beliefs and principles that eventually resulted in severe consequences. Anaxagoras is acknowledged to be the first philosopher ever to begin a different kind of school of thought from Athens which later on would influence the modern society for centuries into the future. He committed a lot of his time in describing nature as it is – deriving universe as an indistinguishable matter. He, in this physical world, thought that everything consists of a piece of every other thing.