Welcome back aboard the Train! It’s Tuesday so you know we have to look at some tips!
History notes that there have been a great many philosophers. At the end of this post we can look at a list of what some historians would say are ten of the greatest.
As I wrote this piece I quickly realized that most would not proceed to the end of the article to see what history will note as “THE GREATEST” philosopher of ALL time, CHUCK-KRA!! …uh…that would be me. Wait! Keep reading (and stop laughing! ). When I die I want some historians, say one hundred years from now to find this blog and say…”WOW!” what a great mind this negroid Homo sapien had! He truly was one of the great thinkers of his time!
Even as a child I held court to many on Tuesday’s espousing my deep thinking, one of a kind philosophy. Sometimes I lectured in beautiful settings provided by nature as seen here. On this day I left the audience with this “DEEP” thought:
“He who hath itchy booty…will soon have stinky finger!” …Chuck-Kra
What some historians say are the top ten (…until they read my stuff)!
- John Locke – The most important thinker of modern politics is the most directly responsible for Thomas Jefferson’s rhetoric in the Declaration of Independence, and the rhetoric in the U. S. Constitution.
- Epicurus – Epicurus has gotten a bit of an unfair reputation over the centuries as a teacher of self-indulgence and excess delight. He was soundly criticized by a lot of Christian polemicists (those who make war against all thought but Christian thought), especially during the Middle Ages, because he was thought to be an atheist, whose principles for a happy life were passed down to this famous set of statements: “Don’t fear god; don’t worry about death; what is good is easy to get; what is terrible is easy to endure.”
- Zeno of Citium – You may not be as familiar with him as with most of the others on this list, but Zeno founded the school of Stoicism. Stoicism comes from the Greek “stoa,” which is a roofed colonnade, especially that of the Poikile, which was a cloistered piazza on the north side of the Athenian marketplace, in the 3rd Century BC. Stoicism is based on the idea that anything which causes us to suffer in life is actually an error in our judgment, and that we should always have absolute control over our emotions. Rage, elation, depression are all simple flaws in a person’s reason, and thus, we are only emotionally weak when we allow ourselves to be. Put another way, the world is what we make of it.
- Avicenna – His full name is Ab? ?Al? al-?usayn ibn ?Abd All?h ibn S?n?, the last two words of which were Latinized into the more common form in Western history. He lived in the Persian Empire from c. 980 AD to 1037. The Dark Ages were not so dark. Aside from his stature as a philosopher, he was also the world’s preeminent physician during his life. His two most well known works today are The Book of Healing (which has nothing to do with physical medicine) and The Canon of Medicine, which was his compilation of all known medical knowledge at that time.
- Thomas Aquinas – Thomas will forever be remembered as the guy who supposedly proved the existence of God by arguing that the Universe had to have been created by something, since everything in existence has a beginning and an end. This is now referred to as the “First Cause” argument, and all philosophers after Thomas have wrestled with proving or disproving the theory. He actually based it on the notion of “?? ?????????? ?????,” of #1. The Greek means “one who moves while not moving” – or “the unmoved mover”.
- Confucius – Master Kong Qiu, as his name translates from Chinese, lived from 551 to 479 BC, and remains the most important single philosopher in Eastern history. He espoused significant principles of ethics and politics, in a time when the Greeks were espousing the same things. We think of democracy as a Greek invention, a Western idea, but Confucius wrote in his Analects that “the best government is one that rules through ‘rites’ and the people’s natural morality, rather than by using bribery and coercion. This may sound obvious to us today, but he wrote it in the early 500s to late 400s BC. It is the same principle of democracy that the Greeks argued for and developed: the people’s morality is in charge; therefore, rule by the people.
- Rene Descartes – Descartes lived from 1596 to 1650, and today he is referred to as “the Father of Modern Philosophy.” He created analytical geometry, based on his now immortal Cartesian coordinate system, immortal in the sense that we are all taught it in school, and that it is still perfectly up-to-date in almost all branches of mathematics. Analytical geometry is the study of geometry using algebra and the Cartesian coordinate system. He discovered the laws of refraction and reflection. He also invented the superscript notation still used today to indicate the powers of exponents.
- Paul of Tarsus – The wild card of this list, but give him fair consideration. Paul accomplished more with the few letters we have of his, to various churches in Asia Minor, Israel and Rome, than any other mortal person in the Bible, except Jesus himself. Jesus founded Christianity. But without Paul, the religion would have died in a few hundred years at best, or remained too insular to invite the entire world into its faith, as Jesus wanted.
- Plato – Plato lived from c. 428 to c. 348 BC, and founded the Western world’s first school of higher education, the Academy of Athens. Almost all of Western philosophy can be traced back to Plato, who was taught by Socrates, and preserved through his own writings, some of Socrates’s ideas. If Socrates wrote anything down, it has not survived directly. Plato and Xenophon, another of his students, recounted a lot of his teachings, as did the playwright Aristophanes.
- Aristotle – Aristotle topped another of this lister’s lists, heading the category of philosophy, so his rank on this one is not entirely surprising. But consider that Aristotle is the first to have written systems by which to understand and criticize everything from pure logic to ethics, politics, literature, even science. He theorized that there are four “causes”, or qualities, of any thing in existence: the material cause, which is what the subject is made of; the formal cause, or the arrangement of the subject’s material; the effective cause, the creator of the thing; and the final cause, which is the purpose for which a subject exists.
Here they are…
Thanks for joining me on the Train today!
Come back soon…
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