Major Ethical Philosophies

Timeline created by enjaysantolorin
In History
  • 470 BCE


    No one chooses evil; no one chooses to act in ignorance.No one would intentionally harm themselves. When harm comes to us, although we thought we were seeking the good, the good is not obtained in such a case since we lacked knowledge as to how best to achieve the good.
  • 428 BCE


    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.
  • 384 BCE


    The role of habit in conduct. It is commonly thought that virtues are habits and that the good life is a life of mindless routine.
  • 354 BCE

    Augustine of Hippo

    Augustine of Hippo
    Humans are essentially souls, using their bodies as a means to achieve their spiritual ends.
  • 341 BCE


    Happiness is based on two principles, the autarky (autonomy), and the ataraxia, the tranquility of the spirit. To achieve happiness, we must avoid certain behaviors and perform others.
  • 335 BCE

    Zeno of Citium

    Zeno of Citium
    Happiness lay in conforming the will to the divine reason, which governs the universe.
  • 1225

    Thomas Aquinas

    Thomas Aquinas
    For an action to be moral, the kind it belongs to must not be bad, the circumstances must be appropriate, and the intention must be virtuous. The particulars of the situation have to be considered in determining what course of action should be done.
  • Thomas Hobbes

    Thomas Hobbes
    The basis of materialism, believing that everything that happens is a result of the physical world and that the soul, as previous philosophers discussed it, does not exist.
  • Jeremy Bentham

    Jeremy Bentham
    Actions are morally right if they tend to promote happiness or pleasure (and morally wrong if they tend to promote unhappiness or pain) among all those affected by them.
  • Immanuel Kant

    Immanuel Kant
    One should always respect the humanity in others, and that one should only act in accordance with rules that could hold for everyone.
  • Jürgen Habermas

    It is a complex theoretical effort to reformulate the fundamental insights of Kantian deontological ethics in terms of the analysis of communicative structures.