Math   Science   Chemistry   Economics   Biology   News   Search

> History of philosophy Issue: 2005-3 Section: Other



René Descarte

René Descartes was one of the greatest thinkers in modern western history. As the inventor of the Cartesian coordinate system, he formulated the basis of modern geometry (analytic geometry), which in turn influenced the development of modern calculus. He is often regarded as one of the first modern thinkers to provide philosophical framework for natural sciences. He gives the example of dreaming: in a dream, one's senses perceive stimuli that seem real, but do not actually exist. Thus, one cannot rely on the data of the senses as necessarily true. Or, perhaps an evil demon exists: a supremely powerful and cunning being who sets out to try to deceive Descartes from knowing the true nature of reality.

One of the brightest philosophers is Aristotle.

Greek philosophy was the major formative influence on the later philosophical traditions of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, which was from about 1200 B.C to the first century AD. In the Islamic tradition the starting point were the work of Plato and Aristotle. The 9th-century Neoplatonist Al-Kindi was followed as well by Al-Farabi, who both drew on Plato and Aristotle to create a universal Islamic philosophy. The most important of the medieval Muslim philosophers, however, was Avicenna/980 A.D. (Ibn Sina). Starting from the distinction between essence and existence, Avicenna developed a system of metaphysics in which God, the necessary being, is the source of created nature through emanation. Both his metaphysics and his intuitionist theory of knowledge were influential in the later Middle Ages as well as in the later history of Islamic thought. Christian philosophy was the greatest and probably is the most reliable philosophy which occurred during the years between 100 a.D. till now. It was the most followed and shared thinking in the middle ages.


(551 b.C.–479 b.C.) is a famous thinker and social philosopher of China, whose teachings have deeply influenced East Asia for centuries. He was convinced of his ability to restore the world's order, and failed. After much traveling around China to promote his ideas among rulers, he eventually became involved in teaching disciples. His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, and justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China after being chosen among other doctrines. Used since then as the imperial orthodoxy, Confucius' thoughts have been developed into a vast and complete philosophical system known in the west as Confucianism. They were introduced to Europe by the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who was the first to Latinizes the name as Confucius.

The first systematic Christian philosophy was that of ORIGEN, but for the European Middle Ages no authority could rival Saint Augustine’s. Augustine elaborated a Neoplatonist vision combining the metaphysics of PLOTINUS with an elaboration of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. To this he added an epistemology in which knowledge is achieved through illumination by grace. No substantial movement arose beyond Augustine until the 12th century, when new interest in logic and theory of knowledge arose. In this connection the most important figures are Saint Anselm and Thomas Aquinas. In China there is a very important teaching philosophy. It’s called Yin & Yáng. Yin means shady, secret, dark, mysterious, cold and Yáng - clear, bright, the sun, heat.So it is light and darkness. Yin represents everything about the world that is dark, hidden, passive, receptive, yielding, cool, soft, and feminine. Yang represents everything about the world that is illuminated, evident, active, aggressive, controlling, hot, hard, and masculine. Everything in the world can be identified with either yin or yang. Earth is the ultimate yin object. Heaven is the ultimate yang object. Of the two basic Chinese ways, Confucianism is identified with the Yang aspect, Taoism with the Yin aspect. Although it is divided into female and male, the world is actually a mixture of both. This is seen in the way it is shown: The most important consent in this teaching is idea that in the world there is an equality between both powers.



  • Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D,, Department of Philosophy, last update 2005
  • Jimmy Wales,, last modified 5 January 2006



  • ~iutaichi/, May 17, 2004
  • Jimmy Wales, last modified 5 January 2006
  • Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D.,, Department of Philosophy, last update 2005
  • Geoff Haselhurst,, January, 2005


Go to page 1