History of Western Philosophy

History of Western Philosophy

Garth Kemerling.


The pages of this section offer a narrative survey of the historical development of Western philosophy. Although some sections are nearly complete, this remains a work in progress; please be patient. For a different approach to the work of individual thinkers, please consult Assembled Philosophers, the Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names, or the Philosophy Timeline.

Please note that references to the on-line editions of philosophical texts will open in a second browser window, while the narrative (and other Philosophy Pages material) remains here. Some users find it helpful to resize the two windows so that they appear side-by-side on the screen.

Ancient and Medieval Philosophy

  • Speculation and Dispute:   The Presocratics ]|[ Socrates
  • Plato:   Soul and Forms ]|[ Society and Virtue ]|[ Education and Justice ]|[ Love
  • Aristotle:   Logic and Physics ]|[ Reality and Knowledge ]|[ Ethics ]|[ Politics
  • Hellenistic Thought:   Cosmos and Morality
  • Philosophy and Religion:    Augustine ]|[ Scholasticism ]|[ Arab and Jewish Thought
  • Late Scholasticism:   Bonaventure and Aquinas ]|[ Scotus and Ockham

Early Modern Philosophy

  • The Renaissance:   Humanism and Science ]|[ Machiavelli ]|[ Hobbes
  • Descartes:    Method ]|[ Doubt and Existence ]|[ Mind and Body ]|[ Cartesianism
  • Variations:    Spinoza and Unity ]|[ Leibniz and Plurality
  • Locke:    Origin of Ideas ]|[ Human Knowledge ]|[ Government
  • Extensions:    Moralists and Bayle ]|[ Berkeley and Immaterialism
  • Hume:    Mitigated Skepticism ]|[ Self and Morality ]|[ Religion

Recent Modern Philosophy

  • The Enlightenment:    British ]|[ Continental
  • Kant:    Synthetic A Priori ]|[ Experience and Reality ]|[ The Moral Law
  • Absolute Idealism:    Fichte and Hegel ]|[ Later Idealists
  • Social Concerns:    Bentham and Mill ]|[ Marx and Engels
  • Other Reactions:    Kierkegaard ]|[ Nietzsche
  • Pragmatism:    Peirce ]|[ James ]|[ Dewey, Mead, & Addams

Contemporary Philosophy

  • Beginnings:    Logic and Mathematics ]|[ Phenomenology
  • Philosophical Analysis:    Moore ]|[ Russell
  • Alternatives:    Realism ]|[ Logical Positivism
  • Linguistic Analysis:    Wittgenstein ]|[ Ryle and Austin ]|[ American Analysis
  • Existentialism:    Heidegger ]|[ Sartre ]|[ de Beauvoir
  • Postmodernism:    Critical Theory ]|[ Deconstruction
  • Feminism:    Theory ]|[ Ethics ]|[ MacKinnon

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Last modified 12 November 2011.
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