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Big Names in the Ancient Game of Philosophy

Part of the Philosophy For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you’re into philosophy, it’s important to become acquainted with some of the early founding philosophers. This list contains the big names and big thinkers of ancient times:

  • Presocratics: Anaximines, Anaxamander, Anaxagoras. Strange and famous names. Among the earliest philosophers on record. Costarring such luminaries as Thales, who believed that everything is made of water, once almost drowned, and got rich from getting a corner on the olive oil market. The Presocratics did speculative protoscience. Of course, they didn’t know they were Presocratics. But we do.

  • Socrates: Did philosophy using The Socratic Method (duh). Hit the streets in search of wisdom. Executed by popular demand. Taught Plato.

  • Plato: Hung around with Socrates. Wrote dialogues featuring his teacher. Maybe the most famous philosopher of all time. Taught the other contender for this accolade, Aristotle.

  • Aristotle: Student of Plato. Codified logic. Said everyone seeks happiness. Taught Alexander the Great. Plato emphasized the next world; Aristotle concentrated on this one.

  • The Stoics: Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius were the best known of the Roman Stoics. Main advice for handling any difficult thing in life: Put it in perspective and get over it.

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