The word “philosophy” is taken from the Greek word “philosophia,” meaning “love of wisdom.” Ancient Greek philosophers have laid the foundations of philosophy for the modern world. They searched for meaning in daily life and shaped their musings into systematized thoughts documented in letters, plays, books and manuscripts, and other media.

Philosophy can be described as the abstract, rational, and methodical consideration of reality. It has been a central fixture in civilization, from ancient Greece to the modern day. In the past centuries, philosophers, both young and old, are credited for making contributions to all industries and disciplines such as mathematics, art, literature, and science.

Below are some of the famous philosophers and their schools of thought:

1.Socrates (c. 469–399 B.C.)

The Greek philosopher Socrates is considered the main source of Western thought. Did you know he could neither read nor write? Yes, much of what we know about him was recorded by his students Xenophon and Plato. His “Socratic method” was the groundwork for Western systems of philosophy and logic — it taught us that through the act of questioning, our mind could manage to find the truth.

Socrates firmly believed that philosophy must achieve practical results for the well-being of society. He emphasized that the more a man knows, the greater his ability to reason and make choices and investments that will bring him true happiness.

2.Confucius (551–479 B.C.)

Confucius was a Chinese philosopher, government figure, teacher, and considered the father of Eastern thought. His teachings focused on setting educational standards, creating ethical, social relationships, and promoting justice and honesty.

Confucius’s social philosophy was built on the principle of ren (humanity, benevolence, loving others). He believed this could be attained using the Golden Rule: “What you do not wish for yourself, do not impose on others.”

3.Plato (c. 428–348 B.C.)

As you probably know, the Greek philosopher Plato was one of Socrates’ students. He later became a mentor and teacher of another Greek philosopher named Aristotle. He was a rational philosopher and a prior who sought knowledge and wisdom logically instead of using the senses. He went on to put up investments in an institution of higher learning. It was called the Academy, and it was located in Athens. It was deemed the first college in history.

Plato’s philosophy explored beauty, equality, and justice and contained discussions in governance, aesthetics, cosmology, and language.

4.Aristotle (384–322 B.C.)

We’re not sure whether the early school back then had student loans, but Aristotle, at age seventeen, was insistent at studying at Plato’s Academy. He then became one of the world’s greatest thinkers in psychology, ethics, and governance. He is also known for tutoring Alexander the Great.

Aristotle’s intellect and knowledge spanned every field of arts and science, prompting him to create the Aristotelian syllogistic. This principle believes all logical argument applies deductive reasoning to conclude based on two or more concepts or propositions assumed to be true.

5.Pascal (1623–1662)

French mathematician Blaise Pascal was also a physicist and philosopher who laid the foundation for a branch of mathematics called the modern theory of probabilities,  which focused on the analysis of random phenomena.

Pascal also had investments in publishing Les Provinciales in 1657 under the pseudonym Louis de Montalte, which is a series of eighteen letters that defended Jansenist theologies from the Jesuits. He also propagated a doctrine that taught the experience of God by way of the heart instead of reason, which was in contrast to the beliefs of fellow French philosopher René Descartes.

6.John Locke (1632–1704)

English philosopher John Locke was an Enlightenment thinker who was called the Father of Classical Liberalism. He made contributions to modern theories of liberal government. The Essay Concerning a Human Understanding is his most notable work, which discusses the analysis of the mind and the acquisition of knowledge.

Locke’s philosophy emphasized that man should obtain ideas through experience of the world. His logic later brought a degree of impact on other philosophers like Voltaire and Rousseau.