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IN OUR TIME'S PHILOSOPHY RESOURCE
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GREATEST PHILOSOPHER

A list of eminent philosophers which may help you when considering a candidate for nomination.

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Ancient World | Medieval and Renaissance | Enlightenment | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | View All Philosophers

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) "Man was born free but everywhere he is in chains". Philosopher of the French Enlightenment

Ibn-Rushd (Averroes) (1126-98) - Introduced much of Aristotle to Medieval Europe; magisterial commentator on both Aristotle and Plato; also defended philosophy's role in Islam

Parmenides (c.510-450 BC) - Nothing changes, change and motion are illusions of the senses

Simone De Beauvoir (1908-86) Feminist existentialist; tried to make women subjects of their own lives; not objects of men's lives.

Confucius (6th / 5th century BC) - Founder of Confucianism; the highest moral ideal is jen (humanity or goodness) which is achievable by all; the rites and traditions of society are to be followed but not without question.

John Locke (1632-1704) Founder of British Empiricism; the mind is a tabula rasa (a blank canvas) in which knowledge arises from sensation and is perfected by reflection. Science is possible because the senses faithfully represent reality.

Democritus (460-370 BC) - Conceived the atomic theory of matter

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55) - Suffering is necessary; the individual must stand alone against the crowd.

Epicurius (341-271 BC) - All sensations are true; pleasure is our natural goal.

Hildegaard of Bingen (1098-1179) - Medieval theologian who wrote Scivias, 'Know the Way' interpreting her own visions. Also a poet and musician.

Georg Hegel (1770-1831) Thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis - the inevitable dialectic of history.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) - people are inherently selfish and need strong governance, otherwise anarchy will reign and life become "nasty brutish and short". Such social contract thinking influenced Rousseau, Spinoza and Locke.
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Ancient World | Medieval and Renaissance | Enlightenment | Nineteenth Century | Twentieth Century | View All Philosophers
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IN OUR TIME HOMEPAGE
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TIMELINE
Not sure who to choose? Read our Philosopher Timeline.
TOP 20 NOMINATIONS
Find out more about the philosophers who were short listed in the 2005 vote.
QUIZ
Play our philosophy quotes quiz
PHILOSOPHER VOTE RESULT
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Find out who won the vote and who made it into the top ten.
DON'T MISS
In Our Time
Thursday 9.00-9.45am, rpt 9.30-10.00pm. Melvyn Bragg explores the history of ideas. Listen again online or download the latest programme as an mp3 file.
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The Reith lectures

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