Mindmap of Western Philosophy by Jason Buberel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Started around 450BC in Athens
First attempt at a full-fledged philosophical doctrine
Protagoras, Considered the first sophist
Despised by Plato, Because they charged fees, Because they used rhetorical sleight-of-hand
Believed in reincarnation
Heavily influenced by mathematics and mysticism
Transmigration of the Soul was a core belief
"No man steps in the same river twice."
Diogenes primary biographer
Only known work was "On Nature" - a poem
Claimed that truth cannot be know through sensory perception, only through logos.
Reducto ad Absurdum
Zeno's Paradox, Arhilles and the Tortoise
First known writer to collect and document his ideas systematically.
The Pelopomnesian War - his greatest contribution to history.
"The Father of Scientific History"
"The Father of the school of political realism"
Ethical truth was absolute
"To Know the Good is to Do the Good"
The Socratic Method
Republic, Shadows on the Cave Wall, Women should hold political power, Political leaders chosen from among best & brightest, Anti-democratic, What is Justice?, Give each man his due, Might makes right, Reason, No nuclear family, No private property, Philosopher "guardians" of Reason will rule
Asked the question "What is virtue?"
Invented Dualism of Mind and Body
Invented term "physics", Greek for "Nature"
Criticism of The Republic/Plato, Family is rooted in human nature, Idea of private property is 'natural', Rejected concentration of power, Supported rule by middle class
Ethics, Defined ethics as "What is the good goal of human life?", Happiness is the life lived by the virtuous person, Happiness is the goal of human life, Happiness originally meant "success", Happiness means good at being human, Four Primary Virtues, Courage, Temperance, Justice, Wisdom
Epistomology, We acquire our knowledge of the world via our senses
We are made of atoms
Abstain from Political Life
Abstain from sexual involvement
Take nothing to excess
Zeno, Realist/Materialist, Best know for his Paradoxes
Critical response to epicureanism
Freedom from suffering through discipline
Duty to community
Considered philosophy a way of life
Actions more important than beliefs
Brought Greek philosophy to the Romans
Combined Skeptics, Epicureanism
Virtue is happiness from Aristotle
Epicurean principle of refined and disciplined pleasure
Raised the question "How do we know what we know?"
Can we trust any of our own knowledge?
Explores the relationship between God and the people of Jerusalem
Central them is the Covenant
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Isreal)
Book of Job, Asks the question "Why do the righteous suffer?", Satan challenges Lord, Lord inflicts cruelty on Job, Job does not forsake his Lord
Paul, Early author, The Gospels, Baptism as the means by which Jews become Christians, Rejects circumcision as a necessary rite to become Christian
Combined christian with platonic
The Grace of God
Is grace a gift of god, or must it be earned?
Predestination - God knows from the start who will receive The Grace
Argues that the eternity of the world cannot be demonstrated by pure logic.
Wrote the "Summa Theologica"
Truth could be achieved through natural or divine reason
Four Cardinal Virtues, Prudence, Temperance, Justice, Fortitude
Five Ways on the Nature of God, God is simple, without composition of parts, God is perfect, lacking nothing, God is infinite, God is immutable, God is one
Realism, Words have meaning in and of themselves
Nominalism, Words have no inherit meaning
Disagreed with Augustine's automatic granting of grace by god
Wrote the 95 Theses, In response to Indulgences sold by the Pope, Strongly believed that freedom from God's punishment could not be purchased with money.
Earned grace through belief in Jesus, Salvation is not earned by good deeds, Faith in Jesus brings salvation
Once justified, you can be condemned through the commission of sin.
Grace was given by god
Knowledge of God not attainable through experience, only through studying of scripture
Rejected catholic doctrine of merit
Supported the notion of predestination
Once justified, always justified
Justification comes through having a conversion experience
Proponent of the concept of the original sin
Inventor of Political Science
The Prince, "It is better to be feared than to be loved, because love is fickle but fear is constant., Reputation for honesty, integrity is important, But not the practice of it.
Wrote "Utopia", Mocked modern English society, All property is communal, Marriage is by love, not arranged, Elected parliament, Price elected for life, War for 3 Reasons, Defend Territory, Defend Ally Territory, Liberate oppressed people, Moral Theory focused on happiness
Opposed strong enthusiasms
Sought to separate religion from natural philosophy
Stressed Induction and Experimetnal Methods
"Cogito ergo sum", The most basic of all ideas, the existence of which cannot be disputed
Two Proofs of God, A perfect being could only come from a perfect being., From necessity: a perfect being must have existence to be perfect.
Dualist (Mind/Body Dualism)
We are guided by passions, not reason
Passions, Desire for Power, Fear of Death
Government is a means of escaping struggle between power and fear
Governments derive their power from the subjects in exchange for peace and security
The Social Contract
Brutish, solitary and short.
Freewill is a logical impossibility because all causes have precedents
Rejected dualism of Descartes
What do we know with any certainty?
God cannot be known via reason, only faith
Law of Gravity
Laws of Motion
The Wealth of Nations: The Division of Labor, Specialization of job function leads to massive gains in efficiency., Coordination and cooperation between specialists is done out of self-interest., We get what we need from others out of their self-interest, not their charity.
The Theory of Moral Sentiment, Offers an explanation and basis for the cooperation and coordination that are required for the division of labor described in Wealth of Nations., Why?, We want the approval of others, The reactions of others to us and our behaviors is important to us., We generally seek to behave as if there were an impartial spectator observing our behaviors. Would they approve of them?, Our conscience is a product of these factors., Obeying the law, We do so because of the utility of doing so. In general, we derive benefit when we do so.
He was aware of the dangers and problems that could arise from too much specialization of labor and the social isolation that could result.
He worried about the moral impact on someone who shifted from a village-centric social context to that of a large city and the anonymity that could result.
Smith is also concerned about class and wealth disparity and that impacts that would have on society.
Critiqued the progress of modern society, Moral decadence always accompanies cultural progress, American Indians in their simplistic life compare favorably to Europeans in their levels of happiness and virtue.
Claimed that enlightenment beliefs led to eventual collapse of civilizations
Called for a return to nature
Social Contract, All power is given to the state, Your happiness is calculated as your share of the overall societal happiness
Epistemology, Ideas are copies of our sense impressions, Three relations among ideas, Resemblance, Spatio-temporal, Cause-effect, Reason alone cannot justify our belief in experience, Belief in our experiences as representing the external world accurately is based on our instinct or custom, and cannot be proven with reason.
Morality, Scientific theory of morality, Moral judgment cannot be based on rational deliberation, because simpletons and infants are also capable of making more judgments., There is no evidence that indicates that the most intellectually capable members of our species are the most moral., Therefore, our sense of morality is based in part on our biology and in part by our social context., What makes a moral rule a universal more rule?, Primarily, its utility, All government and political institutions have their basis in utility to society., We have a natural appreciation for virtuous behavior, and are thus naturally moral at least in part.
Religion, Basing religious belief on inference from experience has four flaws, It means that religion is probable at best, because all ideas are derived from experience, not reason., In all scientific inquiries, negative evidence counts more than positive evidence. So we would require positive evidence with zero negative evidence in order to justify our belief in god through experience., Effects do not prove a cause., In the end, Hume is dismissive of both religion in general and in the ability to base religious belief on experience.
Objected to Locke's Epistemological Relativism
The laws of nature are demonstrable across cultures, therefore not all knowledge is relative
Believed that democratic republics are the most morally desirable but least stable forms of association
Greatly influenced American Revolution, Must limit the ability of government to grow in power
Affluence eventually leads to despotism
There is no existence independent of perception
To exist is to be perceived
Disagreed with Locke's argument that human knowledge depends on the existence of material objects independent of minds.
Claimed that materialism was dogmatic superstition.
All of our ideas are derived from our experiences
The Fable of the Bees
Central Human Traits, Selfishness, Egocentrism
Philosophy of history
Human societies are cyclical, Worship of gods, Emergence of Heroes and kings, Age of man, Inherently unstable, Leads to collapse
Disagreed with social contract theory, Society is not a contract but the natural progression from customs and mores
Co-inventory of Infinitesimal Calculus
Asserted "The best of all possible worlds"
Metaphyics - La Monadologie, An attempt to resolve the problem of mind/body dualism, Nothing arises from nothing, Everything that exists has a reason to exist, Everything which exists is better than anything non-existent
Théodicée, Reason and faith are gifts from God, Sin and Suffering are the result of metaphysical imperfections, Although God has unlimited reason and willpower, humans do not which makes sin and suffering possible.
Early developer of formal/algebraic logic
Politics, A man is free when he is subject only to political authority to which he has consented., Natural liberty is freedom from the arbitrary power of others, Beginning of modern democratic political theory., Denies need for authoritarian power, which leads to despotism and tyranny, Denies that fear is the primary motivator of men, Natural Rights, Life, Liberty, Property, Men are governed by laws from a legislature, Opposed monarchies, Modern social contract theory, An agreement among free and equal men to exit the state of nature and by forming a limited polity., Stressed that equality was legal equality, not equality of material possessions.
Knowledge/Epistomology, Empericist, Ideas are acquired via experience, Two forms of experience, The external world, Reflection on the mind's own operations, There are no innate ideas, The mind is a Tabula Rasa
Ethics, Ethics are learned, not innate, Ethics are derived from experience, and thus relative to our experience of the world
The Critique of Pure Reason, Science is the study of the world as perceived by our senses, To experience that world, we impose upon it forms and categories that make our experience of the world possible and coherent., Space and Time, Object Persistence, Causality, Existence, Plurality, Unity, Metaphysics goes beyond our experience, and thus outside of pure reason, Disagreed with Locke and Hume and their empericism - the idea that all ideas and truths come from experience, Without his 'categories of understanding' none of our experiences would make any sense.
The Critique of Practical Reason, Maxim: Act only that that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law., Practical Reason is concerned with how we ought to live., A moral law cannot consist primarily of hypothetical imperatives, Ex: If you want to stay healthy, you should eat right and exercise., Ex: If you want to become a doctor, than you should study., Hypothetical imperatives fail because they only apply to those who want the outcome they describe., Categorical Imperatives have no qualification clause, Instead of saying "Do not lie if you want to be trusted" (hypothetical), instead it should be "Do not lie"., Categorical Imperatives must not depend on circumstance, desire or on the consequences of their actions, The notion of Free Will is justified by our ability to self-legislate - to create rules that we should follow, and then to follow them.
Strongly condemned the French Revolution
Strongly supported of the American Revolution, Because it did not proposal a social upheaval or overturn, only a political one., He believed that is used as its basis the notion of traditional rights - no taxation without representation - derived from English common law.
Believed that individual rights were not derived from abstract principles but were instead based on traditions and conventions of the population.
These are 'conventional' rights that could not be derived from theory.
Founder of Modern Historicism
Opposed the Enlightenment concepts of materialism and that the unfolding of history was purely mechanical.
Division of Labor
There will always be a scarcity of the goods needed to satisfy the cultural wants of all of society., A consequence of this is that one part of society establishes itself as a ruling class in order to secure a dispropotionate share. This is inevitable as human nature
Modes of Production, Communism is the answer to the problems inherit in the Capitalist Mode of Production., It addresses the problem of disparate incomes., It addresses the problem of scarcity on a global basis.
Felt that the downfall of Capitalism was inevitable. And that Communism was its logical successor.
Felt that Capitalism would lead to alienation., Capitalism and Private Property would alienate man from other men and from himself.
Capitalism leads to exploitation and inequality, especially for women.
Wrote "On Liberty" - classical defense of freedom from intrusive government AND from majority rule.
Main defender of Utilitarianism, The idea that one ought do what brings about the most benefits and causes the least amount of harm., The greatest good for the greatest number.
Founding figure of Existentialism
Felt that true Christian faith required one to make a "Leap of Faith"
Was concerned with Reason usurping the role and need for Faith.
Felt that Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his only son Isaac when requested by God was a great "Leap of Faith", Abraham's faith was justified when he raised up the knife to sacrifice his own son only to have his hand staid by God., This is true belief, true faith.
Three States to Human Life, Aesthetic - the pursuit of immediate pleasures., Ethical - Through repentance and marriage., Religious - Faith in the incarnation of God in Christ.
First to bring eastern Buddhist philosophy into western circles.
Very pessimistic view of human existence.
Buddha's Four Noble Truths, Life involves suffering, Desire causes suffering, Suffering will cease when desire ceases, The solution to suffering is the renunciation of the will.
Believed that experiences of aesthetic beauty were as close as one could come to the true nature of existence.
Perspectivism, Strongly rejected the Aristotelean notion of an objective real world., There is no true metaphysics., The world of appearances if the only world that we have access to., We have no access to knowledge about an objective world. We have only our perceptions, conceptions and interpretations., There is no 'Gods Eye View' of the real world., This led to his proclomaition that 'God is Dead', His epistemology was practical, pragmatic.
The Will to Power, Morality is an expression of The Will to Power, Stressed master and slave morality, strength over weakness.
Morality is Subjective, Values are relative to the time, place, circumstances and customs.
"Become who you are!", Ethics becomes an aesthetic pursuit of becoming a beautiful person - Give Style to your Character., We should not contradict our character, but instead cultivate our strengths and virtues., "Thus Spake Zarathustra", We should not follow the herd
Saw his approach to philosophy as empowering the individual.
There is no notion of absolute truth.
Id, Represents the Self, More powerful than ego, superego, Seeks to gain pleasure, avoid pain, Knows no moral judgements, Produces frustration by making demands that cannot be fulfilled.
Ego, Represents Reality, Rational, cautious, Weakest element of our personality, Attempts to negotiate between Id and Superego, Source of anxiety
Superego, Represents Morality, Imposes standards of moral perfection that cannot be sustained., It produces guilt.
Conflict among these three factions leads to unhappiness.
"Civilization and Its Discontents"
Philosophy should abandon the pursuit of an absolute metaphysics.
All talk about the world was a "logical construct" of our phenomenal and sensual experience.
Considered philosophy the handmaiden of science - to help explain scientific meaning.
Positivism was partly a response against the complete relativism of Kant. Positive = Pro-science
Positivism was also built on the progress in symbolic logic and related mathematics.
Language does not have a deterministic meaning or external provable correspondence.
Believed that statements of ethical judgements were meaningless.
Founder of modern sociology
Focused on how authority is legitimated in societies.
Legitimacy has three forms, Legal, Traditional, Charismatic
Gave pragmatism a historical context -
Pragmatism stats that the meaning of a statement was the practical results in experience that we would expect if that statement were true.
Rejects the notion of truth and replaces it with "warranted assertability"
Greatly influenced by Bertrand Russell.
Believed that metaphysics was flawed, because it was based on the mistaken use of language.
recent nytimes discussion, traditional philosophy was inherently scientific, purely theoretic philosophy is in conflict with a scientistic approach, traditional philosophy over analogizes and over simplifies in the name of theoretical consistency, modern philosophy must therefore avoid theory creation and should be primarily therapeutic
Criticized the relativism of Nietzsche, who believed that absolute truth cannot exist apart from our perspectives of it.
Rejected skepticism for stating that even if there were absolute truths, we would have no way to know them.
Rejected historicism for insisting that all truth is relative to the historical context in which it originates.
Rejected positivism for insisting that only truths that are based on empirical phenomena are possible - partly because it leaves to room for mathematical axioms/truths which are not empirical.
Husserl believed that philosophy should seek certainty, not facts.
Socialism and central planning is incompatible with individual freedom
Argued that there is a social division/dispersion of knowledge that leads to an efficient determination of prices.
Prices do not necessarily represent merit.
Therefore, rewards and social justice will not always be dispersed according to merit.
Wrote the "Road to Serfdom", People have incompatible preferences which central planning cannot possibly account for., Planned economies lead to concentrations of power., Therefore, central planning inevitably leads to a loss of freedom.
Was strongly influenced by how Einstein challenged the thoroughly confirmed and widely held confidence in Newton.
Argued that science can strive for truth, but will never be 100% sure if/when it has achieved it.
Our best form of knowledge is science, but that cannot be taken as justified truth.
Insisted on the testability of scientific ideas.
The objectivity of any scientific idea could only be established through critique.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Most scientific work is spent filling out the details of the prevailing paradigm, not in divergent or critical investigation.
Over time anomalies accumulate in the prevailing paradigm, eventually building into a 'paradigm shift', Aristotle (earth is center of universe), Copernicus (sun is center of universe), Newton, Einstein, ???
A field of study is NOT a science until it has a single, unifying paradigm within which most of its practitioners work.
Kuhn characterized progress in science as a highly social, and not necessarily rational, mechanism.
Effective critic of logical positivism
Attacked Empiricism, There is no real distinction between synthetic truths and analytic truths., The principle of reductionism - that every high level statement could ultimately be reduced to simpler statements of sense experience - does not work., This is because our ability to reason about sensory experience is constrained by the symbol language we use to reason about it. These language impose their own boundary conditions to what can be reasoned.
Stressed the importance of the 'public sphere' of communications and how it enabled democracy.
These social institutions enabled groups of individuals to discuss and openly debate and ultimately impact their political institutions.
Wrote "Theory of Communivative Action", Argued against the subject/object foundations of Marx and others., Instead, ethics and politics should be analyzed from a social perspective of self/other.
Wrote "A Theory of Justice", The task of any theory of social justice is the legitimate the inequalities that emerge in the basic structure of society., To assess any system, you must do so from the 'original position', Veil of Ignorance: You must not know your place in the social structure of society, or what your natural talents may be., All participants must be disinterested in the outcome of the debate., Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty that is compatible with a similar liberty held by all others., If there are any inequalities in the system, they can only be justified if first - they are to everyone's advantage - and second - they be attached to positions or offices that are open to all.
Questioned the entire western tradition of trying to define a 'true logos' behind our empirical view of the world., This began with Plato's forms, and has been carried forward ever since.
Follower of Nietzsche, Freud and Heidegger, Nietzsche did away with the concept of absolute truth., Freud did away with the concept that the subjective self or consciousness has any special access to the 'logos' or true forms., Heidegger did away with the notion of an 'I am' that precedes existence., He argued (from Sartre) that you must exist in order to have an essence. There is no essence without existence.
Deconstructionism directly opposes the Christian belief that Jesus/God embodies the perfect 'form' of man.
Like Sartre (existentialism) - the absence of a higher plan or purpose to life does NOT render life meaningless.
He wants to free us from the guilt over the absence of absolute meaning or purpose in life. There can be none, so get over it.
Absolute truth cannot be found in language - it is merely a statement that we approve of.
Modern philosophers should give up the pursuit of absolute truth, and instead should seek to eliminate the cruelties of everyday life that these historical social norms have placed upon us.
His basic critique of western philosophy centers on the refutation of the existence of a "God's eye-view" of the world
Pragmatism is the ultimate anti-philosophy, Rejects the goal of defining truth as the level of correspondence with an objective reality., Truth should be approached pragmatically: Does the statement work for us?, Also rejects absolute realism. Our experience of reality will always be influenced by the conceptual framework in which we analyze it. And that framework is constantly changing.
Argues that many aspects of our language and are beliefs are contingent - not necessarily true or false.
But it is important for our overall system of beliefs to 'hand together' and to be free of inconsistencies.
Critic of the Marxist attempt to define society in terms of who owns the means of physical production, and the class distinctions that such a model result in.
The succession of modern ideologies owes its existence to the American and French revolutions, which made it possible to be an intellectual dissident.
Each ideology seeks to destroy competing ideologies while itself claiming to be disinterested.
Class struggle in the modern west occur between old money and new intelligentsia (engineers, doctors, lawyers, scientists), The struggle is not, as Marx described it, between those who controlled the means of production and the serfs below them.
Rejects the moral relativism that began with the Enlightenment thinkers (Locke, Hume, Kant).
Admits that an absolute proof of any particular moral theory is beyond reach, but that our social traditions are a valid basis by which to evaluate our moral theories.
Claims that social tradition is a necessary precondition for rationality. Without those traditions, there can be no rationality.
The moral relativism of 'modern philosophy' is itself yet another tradition.
He sees 'modern philosophy' as a tradition that is hostile to the very notion of traditions, and is thus self-contradictory.
The 'is-ought' gap, This is the fundamental problem for all moral philosophy., If you believe in a fundamental difference between statements of fact vs. statements of value, it becomes impossible to to move from 'what is' to 'what ought to be'., This inability to find a rational justification to any given set of moral rules is a pervasive feature of modern philosophical endeavors., Thus modern philosophy leads to moral skepticism.
What is a tradition?, The entire history of its world view over time., The community of people who are its bearers., The social practices of that community., They are like Kuhn's Scientific Paradigms., However, it must be possible for one tradition to judge other traditions based on rational criteria., Example (Margaret Med): A primitive New Guinean tribe will have a tradition of beliefs, including truths about the world, that directly contradict most modern western traditions., But we should not conclude that their belief system is un-judge-able, or equal to our traditional system of beliefs - there MUST be a basic by which to critique., Nazi-ism, for example, is a tradition. We should be able to rationally argue why it is a bad tradition. Why it is wrong. Relativism would make this judgement impossible., The criteria: One tradition is more rational than another if, It can explain both the success and failures of the other tradition better than the other tradition itself can explain., If it can understand the other tradition well enough to explain its failures to it in the other tradition's own terms.
Limited Governement, Wrote "Anarchy, State, and Utopia", Starts with the basic principle that a lone individual has certain rights that no other person may infringe upon., Then asks the question: With that as the basis, is there a form of government that can adhere to that principle? If so, what would it look like?, The starting point is an individual who has the right to personal property. That is the state of nature., Nozick does not attempt to justify this starting point - where does that initial right derive from and can it be proven. He simply takes it 'as-is'., This is a weakness that others have used to refute much of his arguments., He then argues that only a very limited state may exist that would not infringe upon that fundamental right., Involuntary redistribution of the wealth for even a single individual would be illegitimate., Nozick argues that a minimalist government is possible that does not infringe upon this basic right, and that it can be achieved without gaining the consent or participation of ALL individuals (which would necessarily entail some amount of coercion)., The only role of this minimal government is to enforce protection rights (police and judicial).
Redistribution of Wealth, Taxes mean that others have a claim of ownership in you, and are therefore morally equivalent to forced labor and slavery., However, charitable redistribution is fine - only forced redistribution is wrong.
How do we assess a just society, The means: The individual steps that led to the current distribution of wealth were each fair, just and entered into freely by both participants., The ends: The resulting distribution of wealth is equal among all participants, regardless of whether coercion was used to move some wealth from one to another.
Proponent of psychological nativism
mental states are relations between individuals and mental representations
mental states are expressed in a Language of Thought
Believes that the notions of Free Will and Determinism can be reconciled
Focused on establishing a philosophy of mind that is firmly empirical
Has argued that natural selection can account for the emergence of morality
Proponent of Eliminative Materialism
Every day mental concepts will eventually be eliminated by a fully mature neuroscience
We value our lives and existence
But our mortality makes our lives meaningless
To embrace that paradox is absurdism
There is no creator
We are condemned to be free
Existence precedes essence
Authenticity and individuality are earned, not learned
Best known for his "incompleteness theorems"
For any computable axiomatic system, If the system is consistent, it cannot be complete, The consistency of the axiums cannot be proven by the system itself
Developed Analytic Philosophy
Co-authored Principia Mathematica
Established the logical underpinnings of mathematics
Member of the Vienna Circle
Supporter of Logical Positivism
Developed a formal version of empericism