Russell, B. (1975). Geschiedenis der westerse filosofie in samenhang met politieke en sociale omstandigheden van de oudste tijden tot heden, vierde druk. Wassenaar: Servire.
Ancient Philosophy
Pre-Socratic Period
Milesian School
Philosophers from the city of Miletus.
6th century BCE.
First philosopher of the Greek tradition.

Believed that everything had its material origin in water. Is said to have discovered the height of a pyramid by the length of its shadow.
6th century BCE.
Believed that everything had its material origin in a single, yet unknown substance, which was infinite, eternal, timeless, and "encompassed all the worlds" -- believed that this world was one out of many. Since the known elements (air, water, earth, fire) were in opposition to each other, the others would have ceased to exist should one among them have been the primary substance. Anaximander's elementary substance was converted in the various known substances, and these could be converted in one another, according to the important philosophical principle of justice.

Also believed in a kind of evolution, where man, as other animals, originated from fish.
6th century BCE.
Believed the elementary substance to be air, the density of which determined which substance's form it took: fire < air < water < stone.
6th century BCE.
Considered himself to be a demigod, and founded a religion that among other things forbade eating beans, picking up something that had fallen, touching white roosters, stepping over a crossbeam, walking over main roads, et cetera.

In the community he founded, everyone was equal (women were also welcome), and there were no individual possessions. This included theorems and findings, making it hard to subscribe these to Pythagoras personally.

Said that "all things are numbers" and spoke of square numbers, cubic, long, et cetera. The Pythagoras theorem led to immeasurable numbers (e.g. decimals, root of 2), which led to the conclusion that calculation and measuring were to be practiced separate.

Sided with mysticism in the mysticism-rationalism opposition, although his was an intellectual mysticism.
Originally an Orphic word meaning "passionate, sympathetic contemplation", referring to identification with the suffering god in his death and rebirth. For Pythagoras, this contemplation was of an intellectual nature and lead to mathematical knowledge, which was certain, exact, applicable to the world and gotten through pure rational thought, and therefore possessed ideal value not present in empirical knowledge. Thinking was superior to measuring.
6th-5th century BCE.
Considered fire to be the elementary substance as, like the flame, everything originated from the death of something else. Appeared misanthropic, and believed people could be pushed to act for their wellbeing only through violence.

Believed the soul to be a mixture of fire and water, where fire was the noble substance making people wise. Explained how "souls love to get wet", i.e. drunk.

Believed in eternal change ("panta rhei" likely apocryphal), and in the unity of opposing elements.
Socrates, Plato, Aristoteles
5th century BCE.
Hard to say whether much, or little is known about him as the authenticity of what is handed down (mostly by Plato) cannot be ascertained. Plato's Apology is generally considered to be historic: Socrates' oral defense in 399 during his trial for not recognising state gods and substituting his own, and in doing such, spoiling the youth. In reality, this trial was likely politically motivated as many of his pupils were from the aristocratic party.

In the Apology, Socrates explain that the Oracle of Delphi was once asked if a wiser man existed than Socrates, the reply to which had been negative. Socrates assumed it as his duty to prove the Oracle right. To this end, he met with people said to be wise, but concluded that they were not, and finally that only god is wise. The god would have wanted to demonstrate through the oracle's answer that human wisdom is worth nothing. This conviction did not bring Socrates many friends.

Dialectics appears to have first been methodically applied by Zeno, pupil of Parmenides, but it is reasonable to assume Socrates used and expanded this technique.
Sparta's Influence
The origin of Plato's views
Plato was born in 428 or 427 BCE as a wealthy aristocrat. He was still young when Athens suffered its defeat, which he, as he had to in his position, blamed on democracy. He was a pupil and admirer of Socrates, whom democracy sentenced to death. He turned to Sparta for his views of an ideal society.

His main influences were from
  • Pythagoras (religious tendency, belief in immortality),
  • Parmenides (belief of an eternal and timeless reality, change is logically illusory),
  • Heraclites ("panta rhei" in the world of the senses) and
  • Socrates (preference for ethical questions, and for teleological rather than mechanical explanations).
Catholic Philosophy
Christianity in the first four centuries
Three Church Fathers
Pope Gregorius the Great
The philosophy and theology of Augustinus
Pure philosophy
City of God
Modern Philosophy
Renaissance to Hume
General characteristics
Italian Renaissance
Erasmus and More
Rousseau to present