Greek Philosophers

Ancient Greek philosophers are referred to as the original thinkers of the world and the creators of Western thought. They sought out truth and morality by using logic and reason.

Each individual philosopher had his own outlook on life and how life should be lived.

The ancient Greek philosophers were influential during their time alive and after their deaths.

They studied more than truth and morality. Many of these individuals are considered great mathematicians and scientists too.

Three famous ancient Greek philosophers


Socrates is considered to be the founding father of Western thought. Socrates lived during the rule of Pericles in Athens.

Plato’s writings allow historians to know more about Socrates. Plato was a student and confidant of Socrates.

Socrates believed that a person should live a just life of fairness and not seek wealth and power.

He developed the Socratic Method which uses a series of questions and answers to arrive at the correct answer.

Socrates believed that the best ruler was a mixture of a democracy and tyrant.

During his days teaching on the streets of Athens, he often denounced democracy. Socrates would later be prosecuted for corrupting the youth of Athens. He was sentenced to death.


Plato was a student of Socrates in Athens. His philosophies expanded the thought processes developed by Socrates. Plato used dialogues or conversations in his teachings.

His dialogues detailed question and answer sessions between people. During these dialogues, students could form an advanced answer through reasoning and logic.

He wrote more than 30 books based on the teachings of Socrates during his life time. Plato’s most famous book is the Republic which details three important aspects of Western thought.

The three details are justice and how a city and/or government should be governed. His dialogues detailed his ideas of a perfect ruler who would be similar to a philosopher king.

Plato reasoned that each individual should be employed were they are best suited to succeed. He reasoned that the perfect life was not that of luxury but a life of fairness.

Plato opened a school in Athens named the Academy. His most famous student was Aristotle. The Academy survived more several centuries after his death.


Aristotle was the most interesting ancient Greek philosopher.

He studied at Plato’s Academy for more than 20 years as a student and teacher. Aristotle developed a love for more than logic and reason.

He pioneered such subjects as biology, marine biology, physics, meteorology and psychology.

Aristotle believed self-control and reasoning were the most important aspects to success. Aristotle was appointed by Macedonia King Phillip II as a tutor for Alexander the Great.

He would later go on to open his own school named the Lyceum.

Aristotle was an accomplished writer. He authored more than 200 books which were available at his school.

The library at Lyceum is considered to be the first great library in the world.

Today, there are only 31 surviving books written that were written by Aristotle.

Other important Greek philosophers/scientists

Several other ancient Greek philosophers and scientists were important in advancing modern thought.

They include Zeno who created Stoicism. He reasoned that person must accept happiness from their actions, whether good or bad and not words.

Archimedes was instrumental in finding the value of Pi in mathematics. He also used the Method of Exhaustion to develop answers to geometric problems.

Archimedes formulated much of present day calculus. Lastly, Pythagoras invented the Pythagorean Theory. His theory is used today to calculate the length of sides on right triangles.

Facts about ancient Greek philosophers

  • Ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are considered the founding fathers of Western thought.
  • Ancient Greek philosophers studied more subjects than just reasoning.
  • These philosophers often were mathematicians and scientists.
  • Many of the ancient Greek philosophers opened their own schools such as Plato and Aristotle.
  • Socrates created the Socratic Method.
  • Plato was a student of Socrates and is the best source of information about Socrates.
  • Plato used a series of dialogues in his teachings that were based on the teachings of Socrates.
  • Aristotle was a student of Plato for more than 20 years.
  • Alexander the Great was tutored by Aristotle.

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