Philosophy is defined as the study of general and fundamental questions surrounding human existence. This seemingly basic idea encapsulates complex ideologies such as knowledge, reason, values, and language. It is a very abstract discipline that examines our relationship with the world, the universe, and society, and it is often studied in question format. It is a deeper search for meaning, beyond just ourselves. Throughout history, numerous philosophers have made us think in ways previously unexplored, and they are recognized for their teachings.
While we now know there have been over 3,000 ancient philosophers on record, the first ones were documented around 600 B.C. are were called the Seven Sages of Greece. Each one is remembered for their unique contribution to the world of philosophy. Cleobulus of Lindos was known for his strength, charm and wisdom. Solon of Athens fought against political, economic, and moral decline in Athens. Chilon of Sparta helped form what became the military. Bias of Priene was a politician, poet, and philosopher who had a strong sense of justice. Thales of Miletus was the first truly well-known philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician. Pittacus of Mytilene believed in the power of the masses, rather than nobility, and he was a beloved general. Periander of Corinth was the tyrant of the group, causing ore bloodshed than wisdom.
Plato lived around 400 B.C.E. and his most notable work is the Republic, in which he discusses society and politics in great depth. He is also famous for his metaphysical theory of forms that claimed ideas themselves are truer than the real world. He also founded the first Western university, stressing science and mathematics. Aristotle was a student of Plato who lived around 300 B.C.E. He is just as famous as his mentor due to his contributions to a variety of disciplines, such as physics, politics, biology, psychology, ethics, mathematics, and metaphysics. He ultimately rejected Plato’s famous theory of forms.
Saint Thomas Aquinas lived in the 13th century. He was a theologian, Dominican friar, and a doctor. His contribution to modern-day philosophy is the idea that the existence of God can be verified through reason and rational explanation, as opposed to rhetoric and religion. This approach is one of the central premises used today by modern Catholic philosophy, and his writings are cited in the process of pursuing a Catholic priesthood.
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