Philosophy Timeline

The following list is a work in progress, and includes only Western thinkers. The Project Gutenberg text collection also has a good timeline of Eastern philosophy.

CLASSICAL PHILOSOPHERS 

600-500 BCE
  • Thales of Miletus (c. 624 – 546 BCE). Of the Milesian school. Believed that all was made of water.
  • Anaximander of Miletus (c. 610 – 546 BCE). Of the Milesian school. Famous for the concept of Apeiron, or “the boundless”.
  • Anaximenes of Miletus (c. 585 – 525 BCE). Of the Milesian school. Believed that all was made of air.
  • Pythagoras of Samos (c. 580 – c. 500 BCE). Of the Ionian School. Understood the deepest reality to be composed of numbers; believed that souls are immortal.
  • Xenophanes of Colophon (c. 570 – 480 BCE). Sometimes associated with the Eleatic school. Politically anti-militant, and epistemically skeptical.
500-400 BCE
  • Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535 – c. 475 BCE). Of the Ionians. Emphasized the mutability of the world, which he understood to be analogous to fire.
  • Parmenides of Elea (c. 515 – 450 BCE). Of the Eleatics.
  • Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (c. 500 – 428 BCE). Of the Ionians. Atomist.
  • Protagoras of Abdera (c. 481 – 420 BCE). Sophist. Early advocate of relativism.
  • Hippias (middle of the 5th century BCE). Sophist.
  • Gorgias. (c. 483 – 375 BCE). Sophist.
  • Socrates of Athens (c. 470 – 399 BCE). Emphasized virtue ethics. In epistemology, understood dialectic to be central to the pursuit of truth.
  • Leucippus of Miletus (First half of 5th century BCE). Atomist, Determinist.
  • Democritus of Abdera (c. 450 – 370 BCE). Atomist.
  • Archelaus. A pupil of Anaxagoras.
  • Melissus of Samos. Eleatic.
  • Cratylus.
  • Ion of Chios.
  • Echecrates.
  • Timaeus of Locri.
400-300 BCE
  • Antisthenes (c. 444 – 365 BCE). Founder of Cynicism. Maintained that the wise cannot be fooled. Pupil of Socrates.
  • Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435 – 366 BCE). A Cyrenaic. Advocate of ethical hedonism.
  • Xenophon (c. 427 – 355 BCE). Philosopher of history.
  • Plato (c. 427 – 347 BCE). Famed for view of the transcendental forms. Advocated polity governed by philosophers.
  • Diogenes of Sinope (c. 399 – 323 BCE). Cynic.
  • Xenocrates (c. 396 – 314 BCE). Disciple of Plato.
  • Aristotle (c. 384 – 322 BCE). A polymath whose works ranged across all philosophical fields.
  • Pyrrho of Elis (c. 360 – 270 BCE). Skeptic.
  • Strato of Lampsacus (c. 340 BCE–c. 268 BCE). Atheist, Materialist.
  • Euclid (c. 325 – 265 BCE). Founder of Euclidean geometry.
300-200 BCE
  • Epicurus (c. 341 – 270 BCE). Materialist Atomist, hedonist.
  • Zeno of Citium (c. 333 – 264 BCE). Founder of Stoicism. Anarchist. Held that the acceptance of objectivity allows the overcoming of passions.
  • Timon (c. 320 – 230 BCE). Pyrrhonist, skeptic.
  • Chrysippus of Soli (c. 280 – 207 BCE). Major figure in Stoicism.
200-100 BCE
  • Carneades (c. 214 – 129 BCE). Academic skeptic. Understood probability as the purveyor of truth.
100-0 BCE
  • Lucretius (c. 99 – 55 BCE). Epicurean.

ROMAN ERA PHILOSOPHERS

0-100 CE

Cicero (c. 106 BCE – 43 BCE)
Philo (c. 20 BCE – 40 CE). Believed in the allegorical method of reading texts.
Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BCE – 65 CE). Stoic.

100-200 CE

Epictetus (c. 55 – 135). Stoic. Emphasized ethics of self-determination.
Marcus Aurelius (121–180). Stoic.

200-400 CE

Sextus Empiricus (fl. during the 2nd and possibly the 3rd centuries CE). Skeptic, Pyrrhonist.
Plotinus (c. 205 – 270). Neoplatonist. Had a holistic metaphysics.
Porphyry (c. 232 – 304). Student of Plotinus.
Iamblichus of Syria (c. 245 – 325). Late neoplatonist. Espoused theurgy.
Augustine of Hippo (c. 354 – 430). Original Sin. Church father.
Proclus (c. 412 – 485). Neoplatonist.

WESTERN MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHERS

500-800 CE

Boethius (c. 480–524).
John Philoponus (c. 490–570).

800-900 CE

Al-Kindi (c. 801 – 873). Major figure at Islamic philosophy. Influenced by Neoplatonism.
John the Scot (c. 815 – 877). neoplatonist, pantheist.

900-1000 CE

al-Faràbi (c. 870 – 950). Major Islamic philosopher. Neoplatonist.
Saadia Gaon (c. 882 – 942).
al-Razi (c. 865 – 925). Rationalist. Major Islamic philosopher. Held that God creates universe by rearranging pre-existing laws.

1000-1100 CE

Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (c. 980 – 1037). Major Islamic philosopher.
Ibn Gabirol (Avicebron) (c. 1021–1058). Jewish philosopher.
Anselm (c. 1034–1109). Christian philosopher. Produced ontological argument for the existence of God.
al-Ghazali (c. 1058–1111). Islamic philosopher. Mystic.

1100-1200 CE

Peter Abelard (c. 1079–1142). Scholastic philosopher. Dealt with problem of universals.
Abraham ibn Daud (c. 1110–1180). Jewish philosophy.
Peter Lombard (c. 1100–1160). Scholastic.
Averroes (Ibn Rushd, “The Commentator”) (c. 1126-December 10, 1198). Islamic philosopher.
Maimonides (c. 1135–1204). Jewish philosophy.
St Francis of Assisi (c. 1182–1226). Ascetic.

1200-1300 CE

Robert Grosseteste (c. 1175–1253).
Albert the Great (c. 1193–1280). Early Empiricist.
Roger Bacon (c. 1214–1294). Empiricist, mathematician.
Thomas Aquinas (c. 1221–1274). Christian philosopher.
Bonaventure (c. 1225–1274). Franciscan.
Siger (c. 1240 – c. 1280). Averroist.
Boetius of Dacia. Averroist, Aristotelian.

1300-1400 CE

Ramon Llull (c. 1232–1315) Catalan philosopher
Duns Scotus (c. 1266–1308). Franciscan, Scholastic.
Meister Eckhart (c. 1260–1328). mystic.
John Wycliffe (c. 1320–1384).
Nicole Oresme (c. 1320-5 – 1382). Made contributions to economics, science, mathematics, theology and philosophy.
Marsilius of Padua (c. 1270–1342). Understood chief function of state as mediator.
William of Ockham (c. 1288–1348). Franciscan. Scholastic. Nominalist, creator of Ockham’s razor.
Gersonides (c. 1288–1344). Jewish philosopher.
Jean Buridan (c. 1300–1358). Nominalist.
Hasdai Crescas (c. 1340 – c. 1411). Jewish philosopher.

1400-1500 CE

Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464). Christian philosopher.
Lorenzo Valla (1407–1457). Humanist, critic of scholastic logic.
Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494). Renaissance humanist.

EARLY MODERN PHILOSOPHERS

1500-1550 CE

Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536). Humanist, advocate of free will.
Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527). Political realism.
Copernicus (1473–1543).
Sir Thomas More (1478–1535). Humanist, created term “utopia”.
Petrus Ramus (1515–1572).
Martin Luther (1483–1546). Major Western Christian theologian.

1550-1600 CE

Teresa of Avila (1515–1582). Spanish mystic.
Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592). Humanist, skeptic.
Giordano Bruno (1548–1600). Advocate of heliocentrism.
Francisco Suarez (1548–1617). Politically proto-liberal.
John Calvin (1509–1564). Major Western Christian theologian.
Pierre Charron (1541–1603).

1600-1650 CE

John Milton(1608-1674)
Francis Bacon (1561–1626). Empiricist.
Hugo Grotius (1583–1645). Natural law theorist.
Galileo Galilei (1564–1642). Heliocentrist.
Herbert of Cherbury. Nativist.
René Descartes (1596–1650). Heliocentrism, dualism, rationalism.
Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655). Mechanicism. Empiricist.
Marin Mersenne (1588–1648). Cartesian.
Baltasar Gracián (1601–1658). Spanish catholic philosopher
Queen Kristina (1626–1689).
Pierre de Fermat (c. 1601–1665). Probability theorist.
Robert Filmer (1588–1653).

1650-1700 CE

Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679). Political realist.
Joseph Glanvill (1636–1680).
Arnold Geulincx (1624–1669). Important occasionalist theorist.
Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). Physicist, scientist. Noted for Pascal’s wager.
Henry More (1614–1687).
Geraud Cordemoy (1626-1684). Dualist.
Pierre Nicole (1625–1695).
Ralph Cudworth (1617–1688). Cambridge Platonist.
Margaret Cavendish (1623–1673). Materialist, feminist.
Antoine Arnauld (1612–1694).
Richard Cumberland (1631–1718). Early proponent of utilitarianism.
Jacques Rohault. (1617–1672) Cartesian.
Simon Foucher (1644–1696). Skeptic.
Robert Boyle (1627–1691).
Nicolas Malebranche (1638–1715). Cartesian.
Samuel von Pufendorf (1632–1694). Social contract theorist.
Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677).
Isaac Newton (1643–1727).
Anne Conway, Viscountess Conway (1631–1679).
John Locke (1632–1704). Major Empiricist. Political philosopher.
Damaris Masham (1659–1708).
John Toland (1670–1722).
Pierre Bayle ( 1647–1706). Pyrrhonist.

1700-1750 CE

Samuel Clarke (1675–1729).
Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671–1713).
John Norris (1657–1711). Malebranchian.
Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716). Co-inventor of the calculus.
George Berkeley (1685–1753). Idealist, empiricist.
Catherine Cockburn (1679–1749).
Giambattista Vico (1668–1744).
Bernard Mandeville (1670–1733).
Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746). Proto-utilitarian.
Joseph Butler (1692–1752).
Christian Wolff (1679–1754). Determinist, rationalist.
John Gay (philosopher) (1699–1745).
David Hume (1711–1776). Empiricist, skeptic.
Julien La Mettrie (1709–1751). Materialist, genetic determinist.
David Hartley (1705–1757).
Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689–1755). Skeptic, humanist.

1750-1800 CE

Etienne de Condillac (1715-1780).
Richard Price (1723–1791). Political liberal.
Jean d’Alembert (1717–1783).
Voltaire (1694–1778).
Denis Diderot (1713–1784).
John Wesley (1703–1791).
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778). Social contract political philosopher.
Baron d’Holbach (1723–1789). Materialist, atheist.
Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715–1771). Utilitarian.
Adam Smith (1723–1790). Economic theorist, member of Scottish Enlightenment.
Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826). Liberal political philosopher.
Thomas Reid (1710–1796). Member of Scottish Enlightenment, founder of Scottish Common Sense philosophy.
G.E. Lessing (1729–1781).
Edmund Burke (1729–1797). Conservative political philosopher.
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804). Deontologist, proponent of synthetic a priori truths.
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797). Feminist.
Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832). Utilitarian, hedonist.
Moses Mendelssohn (1729–1786). Member of the Jewish Enlightenment.
Sylvain Maréchal (1750–1803) Anarcho-communist, Deist
Dugald Stewart (1753–1828).
William Godwin (1756–1836). Anarchist, utilitarian.
Friedrich Schiller (1759–1805).
William Paley (1743–1805).
Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762–1814).

MODERN PHILOSOPHERS

1800-1850 CE

Joseph de Maistre (1753–1821) Conservative
Madame de Staël (1766–1817).
F.W.J. von Schelling (1775–1854). German idealist.
Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834). Malthusianist.
Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834). Hermeneutician.
P.S. de Laplace (1749–1827). Determinist.
G.W.F. Hegel (1770–1831). German idealist.
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829). Early evolutionary theorist.
Comte de Saint-Simon (1760–1825). Socialist.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860). Pessimist.
Richard Whately (1787–1863).
Charles Babbage (1791–1871).
John Austin (1790–1859). Legal positivist, utilitarian.
Auguste Comte (1798–1857). Social philosopher, positivist.
William Whewell (1794–1866).
James Mill (1773–1836). Utilitarian.
P.J. Proudhon (1809–1865). Anarchist.
Bernard Bolzano (1781–1848).
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). Trancendentalist, abolitionist, egalitarian, humanist.
Ludwig Feuerbach (1804–1872).
Max Stirner (1806-1856). Anarchist.
Augustus De Morgan (1806–1871). Logician.
John Stuart Mill (1806–1873). Utilitarian.
Charles Darwin (1809–1882).
Margaret Fuller (1810–1850). Egalitarian.
Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855). Existentialist.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862). Trancendentalist, pacifist.

1850-1900 CE

Sojourner Truth (c. 1797–1883). Egalitarian.
Karl Marx (1818–1883). Socialist, formulated historical materialism.
Harriet Taylor Mill (1807–1858). Egalitarian, utilitarian.
Friedrich Engels (1820–1895). Egalitarian, dialectical materialist.
Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet (1788–1856).
J. S. Mill (1806–1873). Utilitarian.
Hermann Lotze (1817–1881).
Herbert Spencer (1820–1903). Nativism, libertarianism, social Darwinism.
John Venn (1834–1923).
Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906). Feminist.
Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876). Revolutionary anarchist.
Franz Brentano (1838–1917). Phenomenologist.
Henry Sidgwick (1838–1900). Rationalism, utilitarianism.
Richard Dedekind (1831–1916).
W. K. Clifford (1845–1879). Evidentialist.
Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914). Pragmatist.
Edward Caird (1835–1908). Idealist.
Ernst Mach (1838–1916). Philosopher of science, influence on logical positivism.
T.H. Green (1836–1882). British idealist.
Gottlob Frege (1848–1925). Influential analytic philosopher.
Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911).
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900). Naturalistic philosopher, influence on Existentialism.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) (1832–1898).
Bernard Bosanquet (1848–1923). Idealist.
Giuseppe Peano (1858–1932).
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902). Egalitarian.
David George Ritchie (1853–1903). Idealist.
Émile Durkheim (1858–1917). Social philosopher.
William James (1842–1910). Pragmatist.
Josiah Royce (1855–1916). Idealist.
F.H. Bradley (1846–1924). Idealist.
Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923). Social philosopher.
Thorstein Veblen (1857–1929). Social philosopher.
Sigmund Freud (1856–1939). Creator of psychodynamic philosophy of mind.
Max Weber (1864–1920). Social philosopher.
Henri Bergson (1859–1941).
John Dewey (1859–1952). PragmatistTemplate:Dn.
Alexius Meinong (1853–1920). Logical realist.
Cook Wilson (1849–1915).
Henri Poincaré (1854–1912).
Pierre Duhem (1861–1916).
Edmund Husserl (1859–1938). Founder of phenomenology.
Samuel Alexander (1859–1938). Perceptual realist.
Jane Addams (1860–1935). Pragmatist.
Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison (1856–1931).
G.E. Moore (1873–1958). Common sense theorist, ethical non-naturalist.
Benedetto Croce (1866–1952).
Carl Jung (1875–1961). Founded analytical psychology.
Emma Goldman (1869–1940). Anarchist.
Hans Vaihinger (1852–1933). Specialist in counterfactuals.
Rosa Luxemburg (1870–1919). Marxist political philosopher.
Miguel de Unamuno (1864–1936).
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913). Linguistic structuralist.
J. M. E. McTaggart (1866–1925). Idealist.
George Herbert Mead (1863–1931). PragmatistTemplate:Dn, symbolic interactionist.
Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947). Logician.
Martin Buber (1878–1965). Jewish philosopher, existentialist.

1900-2000 CE

George Santayana (1863–1952). PragmatistTemplate:Dn, naturalist; known for many aphorisms.
Bertrand Russell (1872–1970). Analytic philosopher, Atheist, influential.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951). Analytic philosopher, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, influential.
Giovanni Gentile (1875–1944). Idealist and Fascist philosopher.
Georg Lukács (1885–1971). Marxist philosopher.
C. D. Broad (1887–1971).
A.O. Lovejoy (1873–1962).
W.D. Ross (1877–1971). Deontologist.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955). Christian evolutionist.
Nikolai Berdyaev (1874–1948). Existentialist.
Hans Kelsen (1881–1973). Legal positivist.
Moritz Schlick (1882–1936). Founder of Vienna Circle, logical positivism.
Otto Neurath (1882–1945). Member of Vienna Circle.
Frank P. Ramsey (1903–1930). Proposed redundancy theory of truth.
Ernst Cassirer (1874–1945).
Nicolai Hartmann (1882–1950).
Karl Barth (1886–1968).
Walter Terence Stace (1886–1967)
Martin Heidegger (1889–1976). Phenomenologist.
Jacques Lacan (1901–1981). Structuralism.
Kurt Gödel (1906–1978). Vienna Circle.
Ralph Barton Perry (1876–1957).
Antonio Gramsci (1891–1937). Marxist philosopher.
Roman Ingarden (1893–1970). Perceptual realist, phenomenalist.
C.I. Lewis (1883–1964). Conceptual pragmatist.
Gaston Bachelard (1884–1962).
A.J. Ayer (1910–1989). Logical positivist, emotivist.
Friedrich Waismann (1896–1959). Vienna Circle. Logical positivist.
Jacques Maritain (1882–1973). Human rights theorist.
José Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955). Philosopher of History.
Xavier Zubiri (1898-1983). Materialist open realism.
Alfred Tarski (1901–1983). Created T-Convention in semantics.
Rudolf Carnap (1891–1970). Vienna Circle. Logical positivist.
H.L.A. Hart (1907–1992). Legal positivism.
Willard van Orman Quine (1908–2000).
Brand Blanshard (1892–1987).
E. Nagel (1901–1985). Logical positivist.
Karl Popper (1902–1994). Falsificationist.
Ernest Addison Moody (1903–1975).
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980). Humanism, existentialism.
Gilbert Ryle (1900–1976).
H.H. Price (1899–1984).
Susanne Langer (1895–1985).
J.L. Austin (1911–1960).
Albert Camus (1913–1960). Absurdist.
Mortimer Adler (1902–2001).
Karl Jaspers (1905–1982). Existentialist.
Ayn Rand (1905–1982). Objectivist, Individualist.
C.L. Stevenson (1908–1979).
Theodor Adorno (1903–1969). Frankfurt School.
Alan Turing (1912–1954). Functionalist in philosophy of mind.
H.A. Prichard (1871–1947). Moral intuitionist.
Gabriel Marcel (1889–1973). Christian existentialist.
Leo Strauss (1899–1973). Political Philosopher.
Herbert Marcuse (1898–1979). Frankfurt School.
Simone Weil (1909–1943).
Simone de Beauvoir (1908–1986). Existentialist, feminist.
J. L. Mackie (1917–1981). Moral skeptic.
Allan Bloom (1930–1992). Political Philosopher.
Donald Davidson (1917–2003).
P. F. Strawson (1919–2006).
R. M. Hare (1919–2002).
John Rawls (1921–2002). Liberal.
Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995). Post-structuralism
Frantz Fanon (1925–1961). Post-colonialism
Michel Foucault (1926–1984). Structuralism, Post-structuralism, Postmodernism, Queer theory.
Hilary Putnam (born 1926).
David Malet Armstrong (born 1926).
John Howard Yoder (1927–1997). Pacifist.
Noam Chomsky (born 1928).
Jürgen Habermas (born 1929).
Jaakko Hintikka (born 1929).
Alasdair MacIntyre (born 1929). Aristotelian.
Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995).
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004). Deconstruction.
Richard Rorty (1931–2007). Pragmatism, Postanalytic philosophy.
Robert Nozick (1938–2002). Libertarian.
John Searle (born 1932).
Alvin Plantinga (born 1932). Reformed epistemology, Philosophy of Religion.
Jerry Fodor (born 1935).
Thomas Nagel (born 1937).
Alain Badiou (born 1937).
Saul Kripke (born 1940).
David K. Lewis (1941–2001). Modal realism.
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (born 1942). Post-colonialism, Feminism, Literary theory
Derek Parfit (born 1942).
Slavoj Žižek (born 1949). Hegelianism, Marxism and Lacanian psychoanalysis
Judith Butler (born 1956). Poststructuralist, feminist, queer theory
Joxe Azurmendi (born 1941). Basque Philosopher

References for further research

The history of philosophy timeline gives us a perspective of the movement as a whole. This is the backbone of Western civilization; it creates a conversation that reaches across 3000 years. The ideas of these thinkers develop in relation to the philosophers that they are responding to. Books that reflect on the history of philosophy can give us further insights into the larger themes that run through the centuries. The following recommendations are just starting points: