Timeline of Major Ethical Philosophers and Their Ethical Phiosophies

Timeline created by DianaAlcaraz
In History
  • Period: 469 BCE to 399 BCE


    According to Socrates, “no one commits an evil act knowingly and doing wrong arises out of ignorance.” A person will commit only moral evil if he lacks moral knowledge. The ultimate aim of Socrates' philosophical method is always ethical. Socrates believed that if one knows what the good is, one will always do what is good. Thus if one truly understands the meaning of courage, self-control, or justice, one will act in a courageous, self-controlled and just manner.
  • Period: 428 BCE to 348 BCE


    Plato maintains a virtue-based conception of ethics.That is, happiness or well-being is the highest aim of moral thought and conduct, and the virtues are the requisite skills and dispositions needed to attain it. He developed the view that the good life requires not just a certain kind of knowledge. He held that they are absolute,or eternal, in that they never change, and also that
    they are universal insofar as they apply to all rational
    creatures around the world and throughout time.
  • Period: 384 BCE to 322 BCE


    Aristotle argued that virtues are good habits that we acquire, which regulate our emotions. For example, in response to a natural feeling of fear, one should develop the virtue of courage, which allows a person to be firm when facing danger or fear. Aristotle further argued that most virtues fall at a mean between extreme character traits. (Fieser, 2003).
  • Period: to

    Thomas Hobbes

    Hobbes believes that the morals derived from natural law, do not permit individuals to challenge the laws of the sovereign; law of the commonwealth supersedes natural law, and obeying the laws of nature does not make you exempt from disobeying those of the government.
  • Period: to

    Jeremy Bentham

    Utilitarianism is a principle which evaluates actions based upon their consequences. The relevant consequences, in particular, are the overall happiness created for everyone affected by the action. Bentham famously held a hedonistic account of both motivation and value according to which what is fundamentally valuable and what ultimately motivates us is pleasure and pain. Happiness, according to Bentham, is thus a matter of experiencing pleasure and lack of pain.
  • Period: to

    John Stuart Mill

    Mill defines utilitarianism as a theory based on the principle that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness." Mill defines happiness as pleasure and the absence of pain.