Philosophy is a complex subject, with many ways of organising a list such as this. It could be organised on geographical lines, with an obvious division between Western and Asian traditions. It could also be organised according to areas of philosophical discussion, as Ethics, Logic, Epistemology and so on. However, this page opts for a simple chronological organisation.
Ancient Greek philosophy is typically divided into the pre-Socratic Period, the philosophy of Plato, and the philosophy of Aristotle. Important pre-Socratic philosophers include Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Parmenides, and Heraclitus. Socrates and his pupil Plato revolutionized philosophy. While Socrates wrote nothing, his influence survives through that of his pupil. Plato defined the issues with which philosophy still wrestles.
One of the greatest synthesizers of Christian and Aristotelian thought was Thomas Aquinas. His synthesis of Aristotelian metaphysics and practical reasoning with Christian teaching became characteristic of medieval philosophy.
Descartes, who is often called the father of modern philosophy, proposed that philosophy should begin with a radical skepticism about the possibility of obtaining reliable knowledge. In his Meditations, he systematically destroys all the foundations of knowledge except one (I am thinking, therefore I am), and then uses this single indubitable fact to rebuild a system of knowledge.
The British Empiricists, John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume, developed a form of Scepticism and naturalism on roughly scientific principles.
Immanuel Kant wrote his Critique of Pure Reason in an attempt to reconcile the conflicting views and establish a new groundwork for studying metaphysics rooted in the analysis of the conditions for the possibility of knowledge.
By the late 19th Century, however, several important philosophers argued against the Kantians' skeptical attitude. One of the most influential was Edmund Husserl, who founded the philosophical mode known as phenomenology.
Philosophical thinking also developed elsewhere, and can be seen in many ancient texts. In China, the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tze and the Analects of Confucius both appeared around 600 BC, about the same time as the Greek pre-Socratics were writing. In India, major philosophical texts include the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, from circa 500 BC. In Iran, Zarathustra's teachings which were a new basis for the Iranian branch of Indo-Iranian philosophy appeared around 900 BC. Islamic civilization also produced many philosophical geniuses (see Islamic philosophy).
Though often seen as a wholly abstract field, philosophy is not without practical applications. The most obvious applications are those in ethics — applied ethics in particular — and in political philosophy. The political philosophies of Confucius, Kautilya, Sun Tzu, Immanuel Kant, John Locke,Thomas Hobbes, Niccolo Machiavelli, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Karl Marx,John Stuart Mill, Mahatma Gandhi, Robert Nozick, and John Rawls have shaped and been used to justify governments and their actions.
Other important applications can be found in epistemology, which might help one to regulate one's notions of what knowledge, evidence, and justified belief are. Philosophy of science discusses the underpinnings of the scientific method. Aesthetics can help to interpret discussions of art. Even ontology, surely the most abstract and least practical-seeming branch of philosophy, has had important consequences for logic and computer science.
The Classical Age
Metrodorus of Chios (4th century BC)
Theano (fl. 6th cent. BC)
Aspasia (fl. 5th cent. BC)
Cynics and Stoics
Classical Greek philosophers
Arete of Cyrene (fl. 4th cent. BC)
Aristo (fl. 3rd cent. BC)
Timon (320-230 BC)
Diogenes of Babylon (240-152 BC)
Panaetius (185-109 BC)
Philo of Larissa (160-80 BC)
Posidonius (135-51 BC)
Antiochus of Ascalon (130-68 BC)
Philodemus (110-40 BC)
Cicero (106-43 BC)
Aenesidemus (fl. 1st cent. BC)
Philo of Alexandria (30 BC - 45 AD)
Musonius Rufus (30-100)
Demonax (fl. 2nd cent.)
Diogenes of Oenoanda (fl. 2nd cent.)
Alcinous (fl. 2nd cent.)
Galen of Pergamum (129-199)
Clement of Alexandria (150-215)
Sextus Empiricus (fl. 200)
Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. 200)
Julia Domna (170-217)
Diogenes Laertius (fl. 3rd cent.)
Calcidius (fl. 4th cent.)
The Middle Ages
Simplicius of Cilicia, 490-560
John Philoponus, 490-570
Johannes Scotus Eriugena, 810-877
Anselm (11th century)
Pierre Abélard, 1079-1142
Duns Scotus, 1266-1308
William of Ockham, 1285-1347
Tycho Brahe, 1546-1601
Pierre Gassendi, 1592-1655
The Age of Enlightenment
Anne Conway, 1631–1679
Nicolas Malebranche, 1638–1715
Denis Diderot (1713-1784 AD)
Revolution & Romanticism
Dugald Stewart, 1753-1828
Gottlieb Fichte, 1762-1814
The Age of Uncertainty
Bertrand Russell, 1872-1970
G. E. Moore
Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980
Georg Henrik von Wright
W. V. O. Quine
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1881-1955