Famous Greek Philosophers

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Imagine the genre of philosophy without Aristotle, Socrates, Thales, Pythagoras or even Epicurus? Greek philosophers and their contribution to philosophy have been immeasurable. They laid down some of the primary fundamentals of philosophy which the world today rests on. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that they were the creators of the genre of philosophy and science who through their theories created the modern civilization that we know of today. While some profoundly shaped much of the medieval scholarship through their influential work, there were many other Greek philosophers whose works were recognized only years after their death. Credit for the Western philosophy and culture that we study today needs to be given Greek philosophers whose ideologies and approach served as a strong foundation for the same. Interestingly, Greek philosophers spanned their works covering various genres and subjects such as physics, biology, metaphysics, zoology, astronomy, mathematics, music, ethics, politics, epistemology, ontology, rhetoric and aesthetics. Till date, their works form the object of active academic study and has brought about a revolution in philosophy. Dig into this section and brief yourself with life, works and philosophies of Greek philosophers.
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 1 
Aristotle
(One of the Greatest Philosophers and the First Genuine Scientist in History)
Aristotle
39
Birthdate: 0384 AD
Birthplace: Stagira, Greece
Died: 0322 AD

Famous Greek philosopher and scientist, Aristotle, made significant contributions to various fields of science and arts of his era–logic, biology, politics, economics, ethics and aesthetics. Along with Socrates and Plato, he laid much of the foundation of Western philosophy. Student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, he founded Lyceum, the school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition.

 2 
Plato
(Greek Philosopher and Founder of Platonist School)
Plato
24
Birthdate: May 21, 0428
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Classical Athens, Greece
Died: 0348 AD

Plato was one of the most important Ancient Greek philosophers, who contributed greatly to the fields of mathematics, metaphysics, politics, art, and poetry. Along with his famous student Aristotle and equally famous teacher Socrates, Plato is considered one of the founders of spirituality and Western religion. Platonism remains one of his important contributions.

 3 
Socrates
(Greek Philosopher Who is Credited as the Founder of Western Philosophy)
Socrates
13
Birthdate: 0470 AD
Birthplace: Alopece, Greek
Died: 0399 AD

A famous Greek philosopher, Socrates is credited with founding Western philosophy along with other popular philosophers of his time. An enigmatic figure, most of his work is documented by his famous student Plato. Socrates is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of all time as he had a strong influence on the philosophers of the modern era.

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 4 
Diogenes Of Sinope
(Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy)
Diogenes Of Sinope
8
Birthdate: 0412 BC
Birthplace: Sinop, Turkey
Died: 0323 BC

Diogenes Of Sinope was a pioneer of Cynic philosophy. It is believed he had expressed his wish to be thrown out of the city after his death, so that animals could eat his corpse. He believed humans needed to learn how to live without fuss and with honesty like dogs.

 5 
Pythagoras
(Greek Philosopher, Mathematician and Founder of Pythagoreanism)
Pythagoras
6
Birthdate: 0570 BC
Birthplace: Samos, Greece
Died: 0495 BC

Pythagoras was an Ionian Greek philosopher. He is credited with many scientific and mathematical discoveries, including the Sphericity of the Earth, the Theory of Proportions, the five regular solids, Pythagorean tuning, and the Pythagorean Theorem. Pythagoras influenced other philosophers like Plato and Aristotle. His philosophy also had a major impact on personalities like Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and Nicolaus Copernicus.

 6 
Heraclitus
(Ancient Greek Philosopher)
Heraclitus
4
Birthdate: 0535 BC
Birthplace: Ephesus, Turkey
Died: 0475 BC
Greek philosopher Heraclitus belonged to the city of Ephesus, then part of the Persian Empire. He earned the nickname The Obscure for his use of paradoxical wordplay. His only available work, On Nature, survives in fragments. Also known as the Weeping Philosopher, he influenced later philosophers such as Plato.
 7 
Epicurus
(Ancient Greek Philosopher Who Founded 'Epicureanism;, a Highly Influential School of Philosophy)
Epicurus
5
Birthdate: 0341
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Samos, Greece
Died: 0270 BC

Greek philosopher Epicurus is remembered for establishing a school of philosophy known as Epicureanism. He believed that people could achieve ataraxia and aponia, freedom from fear and pain, unless they indulged in amoral behavior. He established a school named The Garden in Athens, where students could discuss philosophical ideas.

 8 
Democritus
(Ancient Greek Pre-Socratic Philosopher)
Democritus
4
Birthdate: 0460 AD
Birthplace: Abdera, Greece
Died: 0370 AD

Democritus was an Ancient Greek philosopher whose philosophies predated Socratic philosophies. He is credited with formulating one of the earliest atomic theories of the universe. Best known for his work on subjects like biology, anthropology, and cosmology, Democritus is considered by many to be the father of modern science. He was also a pioneer of geometry.

 9 
Plutarch
(Greek Middle Platonist Philosopher, Historian, Biographer and Priest)
Plutarch
4
Birthdate: 0046 AD
Birthplace: Chaeronea, Greece
Died: 0119 AD

Plutarch was a Greek philosopher, essayist, biographer, and historian. He also served as the priest at the Temple of Apollo. He is best remembered for his work Parallel Lives, a series of 48 biographies of noteworthy men. His writings had a huge influence on French and English literature. Writers like Shakespeare were influenced by his works.

 10 
Galen
(Physician)
Galen
4
Birthdate: 0130 AD
Birthplace: Pergamon, Turkey
Died: 0200 AD

Galen was a Greek physician, philosopher, and surgeon in the Roman Empire. Regarded as one of the most proficient medical researchers in ancient history, Galen influenced the growth of several scientific disciplines, such as neurology, pharmacology, pathology, physiology, and anatomy. Thanks to the translation of his works into Arabic, Galen's approach to medicine remains influential in the Islamic world.

 11 
Thales
(Philosopher)
Thales
4
Birthdate: 0624 BC
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0546 BC

One of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, Thales was a 6th-century mathematician who believed that the Earth was a flat disk floating on a huge ocean. Legend has it that he had predicted a solar eclipse that stopped a major battle and had also laid down several geometrical theorems.

 12 
Epictetus
(Greek Stoic Philosopher)
Epictetus
4
Birthdate: 0050 AD
Birthplace: Hierapolis Ancient City, Turkey
Died: 0135 AD

Epictetus was a Greek philosopher who viewed philosophy as a way of life rather than a theoretical discipline. He taught philosophy vehemently and founded a school of philosophy in Nicopolis. Arrian, his most famous pupil, is credited with publishing Discourses, a series of informal lectures given by Epictetus. Today, the philosophy of Epictetus is being applied in various fields.

 13 
Parmenides
(Philosopher)
Parmenides
4
Birthdate: 0515 BC
Birthplace: Elea, Magna Graecia
Died: 0450 BC
Parmenides, founder of the Greek school of thought known as Eleaticism, is also remembered for his poem On Nature, only fragments of which remain now. Known for his iconic phrases such as “Out of nothing nothing comes,” he is also referred to as one of the pioneers of metaphysics. 
 14 
Xenophon
(Greek Historian and Philosopher)
Xenophon
5
Birthdate: 0430 BC
Birthplace: Athens
Died: 0354 BC

Remembered as both an Athenian military leader and an author, Xenophon, a friend of Socrates, remains a major link between historians and the Greek philosopher, with his works such as Symposium and Memorabilia. He also led the Ten Thousand, in a Persian expedition under Cyrus the Younger.

 15 
Zeno of Citium
(Philosopher)
Zeno of Citium
3
Birthdate: 0334 BC
Birthplace: Kition
Died: 0262 BC

Zeno of Citium was a Hellenistic philosopher. He is credited with founding the Stoic school of philosophy, which became famous as one of the most important schools of philosophy throughout the Hellenistic period and the Roman era. Stoicism has been revived in the current era and is referred to as Modern Stoicism.  

 16 
Anaximander
(Philosopher)
Anaximander
4
Birthdate: 0610 BC
Birthplace: Miletus Ancient Theater, Turkey
Died: 0546 BC

Greek philosopher Anaximander is remembered as the first philosopher who penned down his studies. He was a pioneer in the field of cosmology and was the first to draw a model of the Earth, describing it as a cylinder. Among his other works is his very own world map.

 17 
Hesiod
(Ancient Greek Poet and Philosopher)
Hesiod
4
Birthdate: 0750 AD
Birthplace: Aliağa, İzmir, Turkey

Hesiod was an ancient Greek poet who was credited by ancient authors with establishing Greek religious customs. Modern scholars often cite his work as an important source for early economic thought, Greek mythology, archaic Greek astronomy, farming techniques, and ancient time-keeping.

 18 
Strabo
(Geographer, Philosopher, Historian)
Strabo
3
Birthdate: 0064 BC
Birthplace: Amaseia, Pontus , (modern-day Amasya; Turkey)
Died: 0024 AD

Strabo was a Greek philosopher, geographer, and historian. He is best remembered for his work Geographica, an encyclopedia of geographical knowledge. Written in Greek during Strabo's time, Geographica holds great historical significance as it houses a descriptive history of places and people from different regions. Among his descriptions were places like the city of Alexandria and India.

 19 
Chrysippus
(Greek Stoic Philosopher)
Chrysippus
3
Birthdate: 0279 BC
Birthplace: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Chrysippus
Died: 0206 BC

Chrysippus was a Greek Stoic philosopher. A pupil of Cleanthes, Chrysippus became the head of the Stoic school after the former's death around 230 BC. Chrysippus is credited with expanding the fundamental doctrines of the school's founder, Zeno of Citium. Thanks to his expansion of the doctrines, Chrysippus is widely regarded as the Second Founder of Stoicism.

 20 
Empedocles
(Greek Philosopher)
Empedocles
3
Birthdate: 0494 AD
Birthplace: Agrigento, Italy
Died: 0443 AD

Empedocles of Acragas was the man behind the proposition that there are four elements, or roots, that make up all structures of the world: air, water, earth, and fire. He also introduced the concepts of Love and Strife. His work has been summarized in the poems Purifications and On Nature.

 21 
Protagoras
(Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher and Rhetorical Theorist)
Protagoras
3
Birthdate: 0490 BC
Birthplace: Abdera, Greece
Died: 0420 BC
Best known for the saying “Man is the measure of all things,” Greek philosopher Protagoras gained immense fame and respect as a teacher and a Sophist based in Athens. Ancient legends claim he was accused of impiety, following which his books were destroyed and he was exiled.
 22 
Anaxagoras
(Pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher)
Anaxagoras
3
Birthdate: 0500 AD
Birthplace: Klazomenai, Turkey
Died: 0428 AD

Greek philosopher Anaxagoras discovered the real cause of eclipses. A Greek from the Persian empire, he might have been part of the Persian army that invaded Greece in the Greco-Persian Wars. He later settled in Athens but was forced out for not believing in the sun and moon gods.

 23 
Apollonius of Tyana
(1st-Century Greek Neopythagorean Philosopher)
Apollonius of Tyana
3
Birthdate: 0003 AD
Birthplace: Tyana, Turkey
Died: 0097 AD

Apollonius of Tyana was a Greek Neopythagorean philosopher best remembered through Philostratus' work, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, which was written more than a century after his death. Apollonius is said to have had extra-sensory perception and is even compared with Pythagoras and Jesus Christ. Apollonius of Tyana has even influenced contemporary literature and films among other works of art.

 24 
Clement of Alexandria
3
Birthdate: 0150 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0215 AD
 25 
Theophrastus
(Plant biologist)
Theophrastus
3
Birthdate: 0371 BC
Birthplace: Eresos
Died: 0287 BC

Best known for his works Historia Plantarum, or Enquiry into Plants, and Plant Explanations, botanist Theophrastus hailed from Lesbos in Greece. Acquainted with Plato and Aristotle, he ruled the Peripatetic school for over 3 decades. He has also penned works on metaphysics, history, grammar, ethics, and physics.

 26 
Gorgias
(Philosopher)
Gorgias
3
Birthdate: 0483 BC
Birthplace: Lentini, Italy
Died: 0375 BC
 27 
Antisthenes
(Philosopher)
Antisthenes
3
Birthdate: 0445 AD
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
Died: 0365 AD
 28 
Anna Comnena
(Greek Princess & Scholar)
Anna Comnena
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1083
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Porphyra Chamber, Great Palace of Constantinople, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire
Died: 1153 AD
Daughter of Byzantine emperor Alexius I Comnenus, Anna Komnene is best remembered for writing Alexiad, a genuine treatise of the life and times of her father. She had written the book while imprisoned at the Kecharitomene Monastery, after a failed attempt to depose her brother, John II Komnenos.
 29 
Sextus Empiricus
(Philosopher Who Produced the Only Extant Comprehensive Account of Greek Skepticism)
Sextus Empiricus
3
Birthplace: Unknown
 30 
Dionysius the Areopagite
3
Birthplace: Athens, Greece
 31 
Leucippus
(Philosopher)
Leucippus
3
Birthplace: Greek
 32 
Pyrrho
(Greek Philosopher Who the First Greek Skeptic Philosopher and Founder of 'Pyrrhonism')
Pyrrho
3
Birthdate: 0360 AD
Birthplace: Elis, Greece
Died: 0270 AD

Pyrrho was a Greek philosopher best remembered for being the first skeptic philosopher from Greece. He is also credited with founding Pyrrhonism, a school of philosophical skepticism. His pupils went on to become famous, some of them being Nausiphanes, Hecataeus of Abdera, and Arcesilaus, to name a few.

 33 
Valentinus
(Theologian)
Valentinus
3
Birthdate: 0100 AD
Birthplace: Egypt
Died: 0160 AD
 34 
Diotima of Mantinea
(Philosopher)
Diotima of Mantinea
2
Birthplace: Mantineia, Greece
 35 
Posidonius
(Greek Astronomer, Mathematician, Geographer and Philosopher)
Posidonius
2
Birthdate: 0135 BC
Birthplace: Apamea, Syria
Died: 0051 BC

Posidonius was a Greek astronomer, astrologer, politician, historian, mathematician, geographer, and teacher. Widely regarded as the most learned man of his generation, Posidonius took genuine interest in natural history and natural science. He worked towards spreading Stoicism to the Roman world through his personal lectures and writings. Also a philosopher, Posidonius’ works have influenced the works of several subsequent writers.     

 36 
Cornelius Castoriadis
(Greek-French Philosopher and Social Critic Known for Co-founding the Group 'Socialisme ou Barbarie')
Cornelius Castoriadis
3
Birthdate: March 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Istanbul, Turkey
Died: December 26, 1997

Cornelius Castoriadis was a Greek-French philosopher, economist, social critic, and psychoanalyst. He is known as a co-founder of the Socialisme ou Barbarie group. An influential author in both academic and activist circles, he was the author of The Imaginary Institution of Society. Later in life, he joined the faculty of the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS).

 37 
Aristippus
(Philosopher)
Aristippus
2
Birthdate: 0435 BC
Birthplace: Cyrene, Libya
Died: 0356 BC
 38 
Cleopatra the Alchemist
2
Birthplace: Unknown
 39 
Epimenides
(Philosopher)
Epimenides
2
Birthplace: Knossos, Greece

Epimenides of Cnossos was a 7th-6th century BC semi-mythical Greek seer, a philosopher and an author of various religious and poetical work including a Theogony and Cretica. It is said that he fell asleep for 57 years and also lived up to an advanced age of 300. He is also given the credit for the invention of the Epimenides paradox.

 40 
Archytas
(Greek Philosopher, Mathematician and Astronomer)
Archytas
2
Birthdate: 0428 AD
Birthplace: Taranto, Italy
Died: 0347 AD

Archytas was an Ancient Greek astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, strategist, statesman, and music theorist. One of the most important and popular scientists of the Pythagorean school, Archytas is famous for founding mathematical mechanics. Also remembered as a dear friend of Plato, Archytas is also credited by Aulus Gellius with building the first self-propelled flying device which supposedly flew some 200 meters.

 41 
Philolaus
(Philosopher)
Philolaus
2
Birthdate: 0470 AD
Birthplace: Metaponto
Died: 0385 AD

Greek philosopher Philolaus is considered one of the pillars of the Pythagorean school. He promoted the number theory of Pythagoras and dismissed the theory of geocentrism, supporting the thought that the center of the universe consisted of an unseen Central Fire, around which the Sun, the Earth, and all other planets revolve.

 42 
Crates of Thebes
(Philosopher)
Crates of Thebes
2
Birthdate: 0365 AD
Birthplace: Thiva, Greece
Died: 0285 AD
 43 
Prodicus
(Philosopher)
Prodicus
2
Birthdate: 0465 BC
Birthplace: Ioulis
Died: 0380 BC
 44 
Xenocrates
(Philosopher)
Xenocrates
2
Birthdate: 0396 BC
Birthplace: Chalcedon
Died: 0314 BC
 45 
Dio Chrysostom
2
Birthdate: 0040 AD
Birthplace: Bursa, Turkey
Died: 0115 AD

Greek orator and philosopher Dio Chrysostom is best remembered for his political discourses. Exiled from Bithynia and Italy for political differences, he lived the life of a vagrant for 14 years, and got back to be a philosopher after emperor Domitian’s murder. His works contain orations for Trajan and essays on slavery.

 46 
Pherecydes of Syros
2
Birthdate: 0580 BC
Birthplace: Syros
Died: 0520 BC
 47 
Cleanthes
(Philosopher)
Cleanthes
2
Birthdate: 0330 BC
Birthplace: Assos
Died: 0230 BC
 48 
Hipparchia of Maroneia
2
Birthdate: 0350 AD
Birthplace: Maroneia, Thrace
 49 
Michael Psellos
(Byzantine Philosopher, Historian, Theologian, and Statesman)
Michael Psellos
2
Birthdate: 1018 AD
Birthplace: Turkey
Died: April 30, 1078

Byzantine philosopher, historian, monk, and statesman Michael Psellos merged Platonic philosophy and Christian beliefs in his teachings. He also headed the philosophy faculty in the imperial university of Constantine IX. His best-known work was Chronographia, which charted history from the reign of emperor Basil II to that of Nicephorus III.

 50 
Heraclides Ponticus
(Philosopher)
Heraclides Ponticus
2
Birthdate: 0390 AD
Birthplace: Ereğli, Turkey
Died: 0310 AD

Greek philosopher and astronomer Heraclides Ponticus was the first to suggest the phenomenon of the rotation of the Earth, a concept that didn’t become a part of mainstream astronomy until after 1,800 years. Only fragments of his original writings have survived. He studied under Plato, and managed his academy in his absence.