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This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity through the Roman Empire marked the end of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy, whereas in Eastern philosophy, the spread of Islam through the Arab Empire marked the end of Old Iranian philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of early Islamic philosophy.

Western philosophy

Presocratic philosophers

Thales(624 BC–ca. 546 BC)
Anaximander (610-546 BC)
Anaximenes of Miletus (c. 585-c. 525 BC)

Pythagoras(582-496 BC)
Philolaus (470-380 BC)
Alcmaeon of Croton
Archytas (428-347 BC)

Xenophanes (570-470 BC)
Parmenides (510-440 BC)
Zeno of Elea (490-430 BC)
Melissus of Samos (c 470 BC - unknown)

Empedocles (490-430 BC)
Anaxagoras (500-428 BC)

Leucippus (first half of 5th century BC)
Democritus (460-370 BC)
Metrodorus of Chios (4th century BC)

Protagoras (490-420 BC)
Gorgias (487-376 BC)
Antiphon (480-411 BC)
Prodicus (465/450-after 399 BC)
Hippias (middle of the 5th century BC)
Thrasymachus (459-400 BC)

Classical Greek philosophers

Hellenistic philosophy

Hellenistic schools of thought

Philosophers during Roman times

Indian philosophy

The ancient Indian philosophy is a fusion of two ancient traditions : Sramana tradition and Vedic tradition.

Vedic philosophy

Indian philosophy begins with the Vedas where questions related to laws of nature, the origin of the universe and the place of man in it are asked. In the famous Rigvedic Hymn of Creation the poet says:

"Whence all creation had its origin,he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,he, who surveys it all from highest heaven,he knows--or maybe even he does not know."

In the Vedic view, creation is ascribed to the self-consciousness of the primeval being (Purusha). This leads to the inquiry into the one being that underlies the diversity of empirical phenomena and the origin of all things. Cosmic order is termed rta and causal law by karma. Nature (prakriti) is taken to have three qualities (sattva, rajas, and tamas).

Sramana Philosophy

Jainism and Buddhism are continuation of the Sramana school of thought. The Sramanas cultivated a pessimistic worldview of the samsara as full of suffering and advocated renunciation and austerities. They laid stress on philosophical concepts like Ahimsa, Karma, Jnana, Samsara and Moksa.

Classical Indian philosophy

In classical times, these inquiries were systematized in six schools of philosophy. Some of the questions asked were:

  • What is the ontological nature of consciousness?
  • How is cognition itself experienced?
  • Is mind (chit) intentional or not?
  • Does cognition have its own structure?

The Six schools of Indian philosophy are:

Other traditions of Indian philosophy include:

Ancient Indian philosophers

Old Iranian philosophy

While there are ancient relations between the Indian Vedas and the Iranian Avesta, the two main families of the Indo-Iranian philosophical traditions were characterized by fundamental differences in their implications for the human being's position in society and their view on the role of man in the universe. The first charter of human rights by Cyrus the Great is widely seen as a reflection of the questions and thoughts expressed by Zarathustra and developed in Zoroastrian schools of thought.

Chinese philosophy

In China, less emphasis was put upon materialism as a basis for reflecting upon the world and more emphasis was put on conduct, manners and social behaviour, as evidenced by Taoism and Confucianism.

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