Various Ethical Philosophers and their Famous Philosophies

Timeline created by chris john ellado
In History
  • 469 BCE


    The first feature of Socratic teaching is its heroic quality. In the Apology, Socrates says that a man worth anything at all does not reckon whether his course of action endangers his life or threatens death. He looks only at one thing — whether what he does is just or not, the work of a good or of a bad man (28b-c). Said in the context of his trial, this statement is both about himself and a fundamental claim of his moral teaching. Socrates puts moral considerations above all others.
  • 428 BCE


    Plato maintains a virtue-based eudaemonistic conception of ethics. That is to say, happiness or well-being (eudaimonia) is the highest aim of moral thought and conduct, and the virtues (aretê: ‘excellence’) are the requisite skills and dispositions needed to attain it. If Plato’s conception of happiness is elusive and his support for a morality of happiness seems somewhat subdued, there are several reasons.
  • 384 BCE


    Aristotle’s “The Golden Mean Principle” states that to be happy, live a life of moderation. In everything that we do, we must avoid extremes (Roa, 2007). For example,in taking food, we must eat accordingly with the proper amount of food proportional to our
    bodies’ needs. Any excess or deficit in the food intake would cause problems to our health too much food, equals gluttony, no food – starvation.
  • Rene Descartes

    Rene Descartes
    Rene Descartes is often called the father of modern philosophy. Together with Spinoza and Leibniz, he is considered one of the three great continental rationalists. He is also known for espousing a dualism.Descartes made many important contributions to the field of mathematics but is perhaps most famous for his saying “Cogito ergo sum” (Latin for “I think, therefore I am“).
  • Baruch Spinoza

    Baruch Spinoza
    Baruch Spinoza rejected the mind-body dualism of Descartes and is often considered to have held a more pantheistic worldview, arguing that all things are ultimately one. He believed in an impersonal God and took a critical approach to the Bible and this led to his writings being strongly condemned by religious leaders.
  • George Berkeley

    George Berkeley
    George Berkeley was an Anglican bishop and stands out because of his extreme idealism. He believed that our thoughts and sense perceptions are the only things that really exist. According to Berkeley, the material world is not really real — “we” are all actually just thoughts existing inside the mind of God!
  • David Hume

    David Hume
    David Hume’s empiricism was materialist (as opposed to idealist, like Berkeley’s) in that he mostly focused on what can be directly observed and experienced in the material world. He believed that every idea in our mind can be traced to real things that we have experienced. For example, we might have an idea of an “angel” (without having ever experienced one) but that is simply a combination of the idea of a “man” and the idea of “wings”.