(From A Fire That Burns but does not Consume, James P. Stobaugh)
Greek Mythology
The Greeks introduced the idea that the universe was orderly, that man’s senses were valid and, as a consequence, that man’s proper purpose was to live his own life to the fullest.

Ionian School
(500 B.C.)
The Ionian fascination with the physical world anticipated later discussions in Western philosophy.
The Phythagoreans
(530 B.C.)
Phythagoras was the first philosopher to require some standard of behavior from his followers. One can imagine what a novel and important step this was­ that a religion would require a commitment from its adherents.
The Eleatic School
(500 B.C.)
The Eleatic School argued that reality was indivisible and endless.
The Pluralists
(500 B.C.)
With no outside force in place, by chance the universe evolved from chaos to structure, and vice versa, in an eternal cycle.
The Sophists
(500 B.C.)
Ethical rules needed to be followed only when it was to one’s practical advantage to do so. Goodness, morality, and ethics were a reflection of culture rather than vice versa.
(469-399 B.C.)
For the first time, the importance of human language was advanced by a philosopher. Plato stressed the intellectual basis of virtue, identifying virtue with wisdom.
(428 B.C.-?)
“Love” to Plato was a “form” from which virtue flowed.
(350 B.C.-?)
Aristotle was the first agnostic. Aristotle argued that reality lay in empirical, measurable knowledge. Aristotle, for the first time discussed the gods as if they were quantified entities. He spoke about them as if they were not present.
(350 B.C.)
For the first time, philosophers began to talk about the individual in earnest, as if he were a subject to be studied.
(300 B. C.)
Skepticism maintained that human beings could know nothing of the real nature of things, and that consequently the wise person would give up trying to know anything.
(300 B. C.)
The aim of human life, Epicurus claimed, was to achieve maximum pleasure with the least effort and risk.
(300 B.C.)
Stoicism celebrated the human spirit and it became the measuring rod against which all social and religious institutions were measured.
(A.D. 50)
Neoplatonism dared to speak of a religious experience as a philosophical phenomenon
(A.D. 354-430)
Augustine effectively articulated a theology and world view for the Church as it journeyed into the inhospitable, post-Christian, barbarian era.
(A.D. 1100-1300)
Scholasticism, with varying degrees of success, attempted to use natural human reason–in particular, the philosophy and science of Aristotle–to understand the metaphysical content of Christian revelation.
Erasmus, for the first time, discussed things like happiness as being centered in the self or personhood of the man or woman. Happiness was based on some narcissist notions of self-love.
Michel de Montaigne
Montaigne reintroduced Greek skepticism to Western culture.
Frances Bacon
Bacon advanced vigorously the idea that reasoning must triumph over theology.
Thomas Hobbes
Hobbes was one of the first modern Western thinkers to provide a secular justification for political power.
Rene Descartes
After Descartes, mankind replaced God as the center of the universe in the midst of many. This was an ominous moment in Western culture.
Benedictus de Spinoza
Spinoza argued that human morality arose from self-interest.
John Locke
Locke believed in reasoning and common sense, rather than in metaphysics.
G. W. Leibniz
Leibniz believed in a God who created a world separate from His sovereignty.
George Berkeley
Berkeley called “intuition,” was the voice of God to mankind.
Davie Hume
Hume, for the first time in Western history, seriously suggested that there was no necessary connection between cause and effect.
Immanuel Kant
Kant argued that reality was experience. If one could not experience something with his senses, then it was not real.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau advocated one of the first “back-to-nature” movements.
William Godwin
The notion that there were individual rights, or a codex of governing laws, was anathema to Godwin.
Soren Kierkegaard
Kiergegaard explained life in terms of logical necessity, became a means of avoiding choice and responsibility.
G. W. F. Hegel
Truth had no application if there were not opposites warring for its reality.
Karl Marx
To the Hegelian Marx, Christianity was a fairy tale created to placate weak people.
Pierre Joseph Proudon
Proudon instituted the last serious philosophical attempt to undermine the human will as a determining factor in human decision-making.
Arthur Schopenhauer
The human will, with all its chauvinism and narcissism, was the most powerful human impulse.
Herbert Spencer
Spencer argued that in biological sciences and in the social sciences the fittest and the strongest survived
Frederich Nietzsche
Nietzsche believed that the collapse of the religious impulse has left a huge vacuum. The history of modern times is in great part the history of how that vacuum is filled.
Martin Heidegger
The meaning of the world must be discovered outside human experience.
Jean Paul Sartre
People exist in a world of their own making.
Simone De Beauvoir
Beauvoir was an advocate of “free love” and completely rejected the biblical understanding of marriage, which she saw as an oppressive institution.
John Dewey
Truth to Dewey was a reflection of circumstances and contingencies.
Bertrand Russell
If an actual event could not be quantified or repeated then it was not real.
John Stuart Mill
To Mill, the individual and his needs were paramount.
Max Weber
The notion that God was pleased with hard work and frugal living assured a healthy maturation of society
Ludwig Wittgenstein
If a person could not speak it, it was not real.
Richard Rorty
Truth to Rorty is what we all agree is truth and what we agree is truth is more a reflection of circumstances than it is any absolute or objective reality outside mankind’s experience.
Alfred North Whitehead
The agnostic Whitehead believed in God–if a decidedly anemic God.
Jacques Derrida
Derrida argued that most of us merely play language games. Every utterance is a move in a language game.

Jean Baudrillard
Reality to Baudrillard, is not necessarily defined by human language: it is defined by the public media.
Jurgen Habermas
Habermas has resurrected the works of Plato and other metaphysicists and has taken philosophy away from language and communication and has taken it back to a discussion of rationality.
Viktor E. Frankl
Man was now the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that did not have him in mind.

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