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Philosophy Schools of Thought

When considering a field as profound as philosophy, there are several key schools of thought to examine in your research paper. Such a focus can take various forms, seeing various philosophical interpretations from a thematic or a chronological approach. When using the latter, several key schools of thought emerge and you will want to break your writing down into smaller topics so that you do not have to tackle too vast a philosophical topic or concept.

Early Philosophic Schools of Thought

Philosophy Schools of Thought
  • The Early Naturalists believed that reality was simple; they sought to understand the true nature of the world around them.
  • The Early Rationalists turned their focus to ideas, believing that reality was comprised of these intangible elements.
  • The Ancient World brought with it several schools of thought
    • Athenian sophists - believing that ideals are falsehoods
    • Socrates and his followers - who believed that doubt leads to personal advancement
    • The Platonic Academy - believing that a commitment to ideals was the guiding force behind humanity
    • Aristotle and his supporters - believing that each individual aspect of the world needed to be considered to gain an understanding of its true purpose.

Other schools of thought would come later, including

  • skeptics
  • Cynics
  • Epicureans
  • Stoics
  • Neo-Platonists

Each of these early schools of thought had a great deal in common with one another. Religion also played a role in philosophical development, including Christian and Islamic philosophies, rooted in the teachings of their respective faiths. The modern world would bring Empiricists, Rationalists, Idealists, and Materialists; advances in science and research methods would encourage the development of the schools of phenomenology, existentialism, logical analysis, pragmatism, and post-modernism.

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