General Introduction of Western Philosophy


Western philosophies have their root in the ancient European civilizations of Greece and Rome. The introduction of the terms ‘philosopher’ and ‘philosophy’ has been ascribed (associated with) to the Greek thinker Pythagoras. The history of western philosophy is divided into six-period;

  1. Ancient philosophy
  2. Medieval philosophy
  3. Renaissance philosophy
  4. Early modern philosophy
  5. Late modern philosophy
  6. Contemporary philosophy

1. Ancient philosophy ( 600 B.C. – 500 A.D)

Ancient philosophy is the philosophy of the Greco-Roman world from the sixth century B.C. to the fourth century A.D. It is divided into three periods;

  1. Socratic period
  2. The periods of Plato and Aristotle
  3. The post-Aristotelian period

The themes of ancient philosophy are understanding the fundamental causes and principles of the universe,  explaining it in a uniform way, the change of the natural universe, etc.

2. Medieval philosophy ( 500 A.D. -1350)

Medieval philosophy is the philosophy of western Europe and the Middle East during what is now known as the medieval era or the middle ages.

Philosophers from the Middle ages included Augustine of Hippo, Boethius, Peter Abelard, Roger Bacon, and Thomas Aquinas, etc.

3. Renaissance (1350 A.D. to 1600 A.D)

The Renaissance ( rebirth) was a period of transition between the theological philosophy of the Middle age and modern thought, in which Latin began to lose its role of the standard language for philosophical discussion. The concept of man became the central object of philosophical reflection.

4. Early modern philosophy (1600 A.D-1800 A.D)

It begins with the revival of skepticism and the rise of modern physical science. Philosophy in this period centers on the relationship between experience and reality, the ultimate origin of knowledge, the nature of mind and its relation to the body, etc.

5. Late modern philosophy (19th century)

Late modern philosophy is usually considered to begin after the philosophy of Immanuel Kant at the beginning of the 19th

6. Contemporary philosophy

Within the last century, philosophy has increasingly become an activity practiced within the university, and accordingly, it has grown more specialized and more distinct from the natural sciences.

Much of philosophy in this period concerns itself with explaining the relation between the theories of the natural sciences and the ideas of the humanities. These philosophies give a complete account of western philosophy.

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