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The 100 Greatest Philosophers

Provided their main branch of interest, nationality and primary contributions, guess the 100 greatest philosophers to have ever lived (according to philpapers.org).
Sources: https://philpapers.org/rec/DUITM#:~:text=Brian%20Duignan%20(ed.),-Britannica%20Educational%20Pub&text=Kuhn%20%2D%2D%20Michel%20Foucault%20%2D%2D,Peter%20(Albert%20David)%20Singer.
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Last updated: July 2, 2022
First submittedJuly 2, 2022
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Interest / Branch
Nationality
Main Contribution(s)
Philosopher
Mathematics
Greek
Theorem related to right-angled triangles
Pythagoras
Ethics
Chinese
Wanted to make education broadly available
Confucius
Metaphysics
Greek
Said that fire forms the basic material principle of the universe
Heracleitus
Ontology
Greek
Invented the method of reasoned proof for assertions
Parmenides
Metaphysics
Greek
His ingenious paradoxes related to the concepts of continuity and infinity
Zeno of Elea
Epistemology
Greek
His technique for arguing a point; and interest in ethics
Socrates
Metaphysics
Greek
The formulation of an atomic theory of the universe
Democritus
Metaphysics
Greek
Founded the Academy; helped people recognise what it means to be virtuous
Plato
Asceticism
Greek
Advocated complete truthfulness at all times, developed cynicism
Diogenes
Biology
Greek
Invented the field of formal logic
Aristotle
Ethics
Chinese
Advocated light taxes, free trade and conservation of natural resources
Mencius
Daoism
Chinese
Promoted and developed Daoist thought
Zhuang Zhou
Epistemology
Greek
Founded skepticism
Pyrrho
Metaphysics
Greek
Taught that the basic constituents of the world are atoms
Epicurus
Logic
Greek
Founded the Stoic school of philosophy
Zeno of Citium
Jewish Theology
Roman
Used philosophy to defend and justify religious teachings
Philo
Ethics
Roman
His 'Meditations' on Stoic philosophy
Marcus Aurelius
Buddhism
Indian
Articulated the doctrine of emptiness, founded the Madhyamika (“Middle Way”) school
Nagarjuna
Platonism
Roman
Developed a spiritual cosmology involving three elements: the One, the Intelligence, and the Soul
Plotinus
Epistemology
Greek
Stated that the ultimate goal of philosophical research is to achieve tranquility, or a state of ataraxia
Sextus Empiricus
Christian Theology
Roman
Adapted Classical thought to Christian teaching and created a powerful theological system
Augustine of Hippo
Mathematics
Roman
Was the leader of the Neoplatonist school of philosophy in Alexandria
Hypatia
Epistemology
Roman
Said that all things tend to the good, and also that things are by nature like what they desire
Boethius
Hinduism
Indian
Reforming the Vedanta tradition of Hinduism, making it one of India's most important "spiritual traditions"
Adi Shankara
Islamic Theology
Arab
Wrote books detailing on geometry, logic, physics and medicine
Al-Kindī
Metaphysics
(Asian)
Contributed heavily to the fields of logic, mathematics, music, psychology, sociology and medicine
Al-Fārābī
Medicine
Arab
Invented an instrument for observing the coordinates of a star
Avicenna
Hinduism
Indian
Developed the intellectual basis for the practice of bhakti (devotional worship) in three commentaries
Rāmānuja
Neoplatonism
Andalusian
Developed the doctrine that all things are comprised of matter and form
Solomon ibn Gabirol
Christian Theology
Italian
Known for discovering the “ontological argument;” and in theology for his doctrine of the atonement.
Anselm of Canterbury
Islamic Theology
Persian
Developed of a systematic view of Sufism and its integration and acceptance in mainstream Islam
Al-Ghazālī
Logic
French
Championed the use of reason in matters of faith; and his systematic treatment of religious doctrines
Peter Abelard
Islamic Theology
Andalusian
Influenced educational matters and promote harmony between philosophy and religion.
Averroës
Neo-Confucianism
Chinese
Contributed greatly to Chinese philosophy and fundamentally reshaped the Chinese worldview
Zhu Xi
Islamic Theology
Sephardic Jewish
Argued that Torah contained philosophical wisdom and that its complete understanding is philosophical
Moses Maimonides
Islamic Theology
Andalusian
Said that by self manifestation, one acquires divine knowledge: "the primordial spirit of Muhammad"
Ibn al-'Arabī
Buddhism
Japanese
Taught that Pure Land Buddhism was the most efficacious path in the present age of mappō
Shinran
Christian Theology
Italian
Primarily known for his five proofs of God's existence
Thomas Aquinas
Metaphysics
Scottish
Contributed to the development of a metaphysical system that was compatible with Christianity
John Duns Scotus
Natural Philosophy
English
Challenged scholasticism and the papacy, contributing to the end of the medieval period
William of Ockham
Political Philosophy
Italian
Argued that people in power should use deception, force, and manipulation to achieve their ends
Niccolò Machiavelli
Neo-Confucianism
Chinese
Stated that the difference between good and evil is intuitive knowledge, and not rational.
Wang Yangming
Natural Philosophy
English
Thought to be the father of empiricism; contributed to the development of the scientific method
Francis Bacon
Political Philosophy
English
Justified wide-ranging government powers on the basis that citizens consented to them
Thomas Hobbes
Epistemology
French
Invented analytical geometry, and made skepticism an essential part of the scientific method
René Descartes
Epistemology
English
Known as the 'father of liberalism'
John Locke
Epistemology
Dutch
Solved the mind-body dilemma by maintaining that God and Nature are one
Baruch Spinoza
Mathematics
German
Proposed that the universe is made of an infinite number of simple substances known as 'monads'
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
Epistemology
Italian
Invented the philosophy of history
Giambattista Vico
Metaphysics
Irish
Founded idealism, the doctrine that there is not a material world
George Berkeley
Political Philosophy
French
Promoted the separation of state powers: executive, legislative and judicial
Montesquieu
Epistemology
British
Conceived of philosophy as the experimental science of human nature
David Hume
Political Philosophy
Genevan
Formulated of social contract theory, which hugely influenced the French Revolution
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Aesthetics
German
Taught that without human freedom, moral responsibility would be impossible
Immanuel Kant
Jewish Theology
German
Combined Judaism with the rationalism of the Enlightenment
Moses Mendelssohn
Political Philosophy
French
Advocated economic freedom, religious toleration and legal and educational reform
Nicolas de Condorcet
Political Philosophy
British
Founded modern utilitarianism
Jeremy Bentham
Epistemology
German
Developed a dialectical scheme that emphasized the progress of history
Georg Hegel
Aesthetics
German
Developed an atheistic metaphysical and ethical system that rejected the ideas of German idealism.
Arthur Schopenhauer
Epistemology
French
One of the founders of sociology, and believed that it could unite all sciences
Auguste Comte
Political Philosophy
British
Believed that economic theory and philosophy should play a role in politics
John Stuart Mill
Epistemology
Danish
The first existential philosopher; criticised organised religion
Søren Kierkegaard
Political Philosophy
German
Founded communism
Karl Marx
Biology
British
Developed and applied evolutionary theory to philosophy
Herbert Spencer
Anthropology
German
His philosophy of life that perceived man in his historical contingency
Wilhelm Dilthey
Pragmatism
American
Known for greatly advancing the movement of pragmatism in philosophy
William James
Aesthetics
German
"God is dead"
Friedrich Nietzsche
Mathematics
German
Founded analytic philosophy; gave rise to the linguistic turn in philosophy
Gottlob Frege
Ontology
German
Established the school of phenomenology
Edmund Husserl
Metaphysics
French
His theory of “duration,” which he understands to be the ultimate and irreducible reality
Henri Bergson
Epistemology
American
Leading proponent of pragmatism, one that favoured a more naturalistic approach
John Dewey
Metaphysics
British
Argued that reality consists of processes rather than material objects
Alfred North Whitehead
History
Italian
Developed a theory of circularity among “moments” of the four aspects of spirit, which history captured
Benedetto Croce
Metaphysics
Japanese
Taught that the “Non-self ” is the ultimate reality where all subject–object cleavage is overcome
Kitarō Nishida
Logic
British
Championing logicism; and refining predictable calculus
Bertrand Russell
Epistemology
British
Led the turn from idealism and became known for advocating common-sense concepts
G.E. Moore
Ontology
Austrian
His thesis of dialogical existence
Martin Buber
Metaphysics
Austrian
He developed a metaphysical dualism that distinguishes radically between mind
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Metaphysics
German
Reinvigorated phenomenology; contributed to new movements such as postmodernism
Martin Heidegger
Logic
German
Made significant contributions to philosophy of science, philosophy of language and probability
Rudolf Carnap
Rationality
Austrian
His rejection of the inductive method in the empirical sciences
Karl Popper
Sociology
German
Argued that a capitalist society was a mass, consumer society
Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno
Epistemology
French
His system of existentialism, describing humans' freedom and responsibilities
Jean-Paul Sartre
Political Philosophy
German
Studied the tradition of philosophic thought from the vantage point of its self-conscious conclusion
Hannah Arendt
Political Philosophy
French
Pioneering figure of contemporary philosophical feminism
Simone de Beauvoir
Logic
American
His naturalistic, empiricist, and behaviourist philosophical outlook
Willard Van Orman Quine
Epistemology
British
Promoting logical positivism
A.J. Ayer
Philosophy of Mind
American
Developed critical realism
Wilfrid Sellars
Political Philosophy
American
His "justice as fairness" recommends equal basic liberties to eliminate inequality
John Rawls
Philosophy of Science
American
Argued that scientific fields undergo periodic "paradigm shifts"
Thomas S. Kuhn
History
French
Traced the development of Western civilization
Michel Foucault
Philosophy of Language
American
Aimed to understand the tools and means through which children acquire language
Noam Chomsky
Social Theory
German
Argued that technological transformations had morphed the public sphere for the better
Jürgeb Habermas
Ethics
British
Revivified moral philosophy; and pioneered the current debates on personal identity and the self
Bernard Williams
Epistemology
French
Developing a form of semiotic analysis known as 'deconstruction'
Jacques Derrida
Philosophy of Language
American
Blended expertise in philosophy and comparative literature into a perspective called 'neopragmatism'
Richard Rorty
Political Philosophy
American
His rigorous defense of libertarianism
Robert Nozick
Logic
American
Undermined the conventional assumption that all and only necessary propositions are a priori
Saul Kripke
Metaphysics
American
His foundational work in the metaphysics of modality
David Kellogg Lewis
Ethics
Australian
Teaches the application of morality to practical problems based on philosophical thinking
Peter Singer
+1
Level 73
Jul 3, 2022
Amazingly thorough, I learned about a few of these I didn't know. Nominated!
+3
Level 48
Jul 3, 2022
Much appreciated, I spent a lot of time on this quiz, and I enjoyed working on it. I also acquired quite a great deal of knowledge about philosophy whilst creating it.
+2
Level 57
Jul 8, 2022
Great one!