10 Known Philosophical Flows

Philosophy is the knowledge of wisdom and knowledge, (the word philosophy consists of the words filos (love) and sofia (knowledge, wisdom), hence). In order to gain knowledge and to spread in particular (although this is not something that all famous philosophers were busy with), most philosophers have been trying to become “wise” from the world over the years, and the inner thoughts of the man. Within the philosophy there are so-called “currents”, a group of philosophers who agree more or less with important aspects of philosophy, but certainly not with other philosopherswho fall outside that flow. Within such currents, participants often have a more or less similar view on philosophical questionslike “what is knowledge,” “who or what is man,” and “how can we know the truth?”

However, these currents, of course, are not as uniform and unified as we now seem to be. Within the philosophical currents, philosophers can battle the streets with regard to their interpretation of the important questions. However, what often corresponds between philosophers in a flow is their attention to certain philosophical questions, the “classics” (ancient philosophers of history) on which they base their own ideas, and often roughly the way these philosophers think about their own will , the possibility of one truth and the position of man versus all else in the universe. Based on such different opinions on these “big questions”, there can be more or less a pattern of different philosophical minds.

We outline ten here for you, in our opinion, the ten most famous, and relevant. They are taken from this interesting overview , where more currents are also seen for the enthusiast. For the right order, the order is not important, we are too invalid to make such an order, but more or less after the period of time of origin. We begin in antiquity, and gradually progress our way to the present time.

10. Skepticism and Cynicism philosophy – Ancient Greece


To make miles, we describe two currents that are in close proximity to the first two places (number ten and number nine). First, skepticism and cynicism.

The skepticism flows from about 350 BC to 250 BC, and just like the cynicism of Greece. The founder of Skepticism is Pyrrho of Elis, and at the heart of the idea of ​​skepticism is that man naturally is unable to know something with absolute certainty (although we can of course always speculate). According to Pyrrho, our assumptions of the world around us are always based on other assumptions, such that we can never put or know anything without being based on (weak) assumptions. According to him, the only “correct” philosophical attitude is to make judgment or to judge a judgment. This can also be worked out into the following conclusion: if there is always a counter argument for each argument (as was the case according to Pyrrho) then the only good attitude is a complete passivity, which brings great peace and quiet . Very briefly, skepticism stands for a very passive attitude towards knowledge.Hiding, after all, is a hopeless thing.

Note that philosophical skeptics have a completely different vision on the world than people who are scientifically ‘skeptical’. Climate skeptics, for example, generally do not believe in the idea that judgment abandonment is the right attitude. Neither do they agree with the fact that we can not know with certainty!

Short and concise: be passive!
diogenes van Sinope - TOP 10 WELL KNOWN PHILOSOPHICAL FLOWSSinogenes of Sinope

Through to cynicism. Cynicism also originated in ancient Greece, between 390 BC and 300 BC. Cynicism takes its form for the first time in the minds of Diogenes of Sinope, or according to others, at Antisthenes of Athens. The school seems to be a continuation of Socrates’s thinking and life, and focuses on a lifestyle rather than a theory or thought, as most other philosophical strides do. The way of life is one of rejection; rejection of worldly riches and habits. A cynist lives ‘like a dog’ and this is where the name comes from (cynically, it means a dog in the Ancient Greek). This life is a life loyal to nature and one that rejects all cultural luxuries. Also, a cynicist should never lie or hide something from another (and so he has to go naked because clothing hides). This all sounds very barbaric, but there is also a beautiful side to cynicism, namely that it is a life view in which one leaves rules and laws and simply lives according to their own wishes. Experience will show that fulfilling life is not one of hedonism, but of limitation (according to Cynists, in any case).

Cynicism in this strict form has lasted quite a long time, until the fifth century after Christ, but unfortunately, as unpopular dogma, it has disappeared from practice. The word cynicism, however, has not disappeared from our vocabulary because, just as skepticism, the word cynicism has a dual meaning. Cynicism in psychology means a very distrustful attitude towards one’s good intentions, and also an insensitivity to the consequences of own actions or words. This kind of cynicism does not seem to be in the original philosophical way of thinking.

Short and concise: Do your own thing, simple and natural

9. Epicurism and Stoicism philosophy


Epicurism also comes from Ancient Greece, but also had many followers in the Ancient Roman Empire.It dates from 310 BC to 250 BC. and the founder is according to many epicurus (hence epicurism).Epicurus was a Greek materialist (later on, but in short, it means that Epicurus believed that all perceptible phenomena in the world can be explained by material processes), and believed that one should be primarily concerned with following his greatest pleasure (pleasing ) in life. This came from the fact that he concluded that the materialistic view of the world was correct: we can only base our behaviors on the observations we make from the real world. Therefore, we must pursue our physical pleasures (arising from our physical observations).

Like Pyrrho of cynicism, Epicurus believed that the best way to do this was to live modestly. In addition, one had to focus on gaining knowledge of the world, to understand what the processes and barriers were from the world that restricted him or her in gaining pleasures and wishes. According to epicurists, some type of ataxia, a form of complete lethargic concern about what happened in the world, and aponia, a complete absence of both physical and emotional pain (this was the epicurist’s peak of physical pleasure).

On the one hand one can say that epicurism is a hedonistic philosophy, in that it is the only “good” in life to see the individual satisfaction of pleasures and pleasures. However, the outcome, lead a limited life and do a lot of research into the processes that drive the world is not exactly a ‘hedonistic’ lifestyle as we see it today.

A nice fact about Epicurism is that it was one of the few philosophies of the Greek Ancient that was accessible to people of all social groups, and even women (very undervalued at that time) and slaves were attracted to this way of life. In addition, many epicurists were vegetarian, such as Epicurus itself, although there was never been anything in the “doctrine” about the need for this.

Short and concise: Enjoy the subtle calm pleasure

Zeno van Citium1 - TOP 10 WELL KNOWN PHILOSOPHICAL FLOWSZeno of Citium

Through to the Stoics. Stoicism, like the previous currents, came from ancient Greece, from the capital of Athens. The father of this flow is Zeno of Citium, and the central thinking goes as follows: Destructive emotions arise from wrong judgments from the philosophy of others (extreme philosophies), and a wise man (or woman) would not suffer from such emotions, hence make no judgments Unlike the Epicurists and Cynics, Zeno believed in a combination of reason and perception through observations.

Stoics were therefore busy with the interaction between what, on the one hand, seemed a deterministic material world (cause and effect) and, on the other hand, the free will of Man. According to the Stoics, the best solution between these difficult-to-harmonize concepts was the possession of a Wil (prohairesis) that lives in harmony with the material and deterministic world. In other words, follow your free will, but do it within the limits of nature we deliver. Stoics also believed that the best way to judge a person was not what he or she said but what he or he said.

The stoic calm (as we use the word nowadays) comes from the idea that a truly wise man (or woman) is not affected by evil and bad times only by living a good life. This guided life would be enough source of happiness for the actual stoic, irrespective of material damage or harmless to him / her.

Short and concise: The limitation shows the master

8. Empirism (1690-1770) philosophy


We are now making a big jump (about the Old Roman Empire, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance) to a time of Enlightenment, in which the (nature) science as we know it today has its origins. Empirism is a major component of, and rationalism (later on) a second. Before we start, we apologize for the intervening currents. In Europe, the philosophy between Ancient Greece and Enlightenment was heavily dominated by Christian thoughts, and although we do not want to suggest that this is not important nor other currents such as Islamic philosophies, and Neoplatonism (not to mention the great diversity of East philosophies), we jumped over because of space saving.

Well, empiricism so. Major names in this philosophical (and also scientific) flow are John Locke (also referred to as the founder of this mindset), George Berkeley, David Hume and many others. Like some ancient Greek philosophies, these Enlightened Empirists believed that we could only gain knowledge of our observations. From this assumption, empirists concluded that the only way to gain knowledge is to test scientific assumptions. In addition, empirists believe that, in principle, nothing (or according to modern empirists) is predetermined for the very least in humans, everyone begins his or her life with a tabula rasa, an unwritten leaf, and fills in as one lives.

The empiricism described here was, in the beginning, a British “intention”. The litigation approaches split up geographically in two groups, and the Empirists were (in the beginning) in particular an English affair. We find the continental counterpart in the next position.

Short and concise: all knowledge comes from observations, so research is scientific.

7. Rationalism (1640-1800) philosophy

Ren%C3%A9 Descartes - TOP 10 WELL KNOWN PHILOSOPHICAL FLOWSRené Descartes

As we have said, the (nature) science as we know her today arises in Enlightenment (around the year 1700), in particular, two philosophical approaches were central, namely empiricism (described above) and the other central mindset: rationalism.

Rationalism was a continental (West European) event, with renowned philosophers like René Descartes, Baruch de Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz as great thinkers. Central to rationalism, the idea is that instead of observation, reason is our only source of knowledge. Logical structure of reason should help us to acquire new knowledge. As such, Descartes first described that he existed, and that this is the only thing he could know, purely by thinking (and not by observing) that he existed.

In fact, rationalists believe there is reason to distrust sightings (after all, do you trust the observations in a dream or during hallucinations?). Only ideas and truths that we can substantiate and create with reason can be trusted, and this can help us get a “picture of reality” about us.

Today, science is often a mixture of both empirical and rationalistic thoughts, but it is clear that every scientific discipline originates in either of the two. For example, experimental physics and chemistry are mainly concerned with observations from experiments (empiricism), while mathematics and philosophy often deals with what we can discover through reason and logic (rationalism).

Short and concise: Always follow the Reason

6. Idealism (1800-1900) philosophy


After Enlightenment, an era of ‘progress’ broke out, a time of inventions, scale enlargement, commercialization and also great armor and war (French Revolution, American Revolution, et cetera).We also call this time the time of Industrialization. It was in this ‘exciting’ century that idealism arose, with great thinker Georg (Willhelm Friedrich) Hegel. Within idealism, there are many sub-currents to identify, but all of these sub-currents agree that they only assign “real value” to objects “in our minds”.In other words, physical or ‘outer’ objects do not have real value for us because we can not really perceive them. All we can truly perceive is the idea of ​​the world around us, and that is in our mind (or brain). Hegelian idealism, for example, states that if we take seriously rationalism, we must conclude that we can not ‘know’ about the world around us, just about the ideas we think about this world. So we know only “images” in our minds of things around us. As such, there is a kind of spiritual “platelets” world that shares people (universal ideas), and this can be the True Truth, sharing shared ideas of reality. In the centuries before Christ, Plato already had a similar view of things in the world, known as the “Idea-learning”. Only in the idealism of Hegel and his successors, this view became popular among philosophers.

Short and concise: Big (universal) ideas are the reality

5. Materialism (1600-1900) philosophy


Earlier we mentioned (ancient Greek) materialists, but later, in the Enlightenment and Industrialization, there was a real popular flow (popular within intelligentsia, that is,), materialism.Well-known names among materialists include Thomas Hobbes, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin. Within materialism, everything in reality, even our emotions, thoughts and minds, applies to matter, nowadays in the form of atoms, neutrons and electrons, and even smaller particles of matter (quarks and that kind of untouched ). These material particles are ultimately what makes the thinking, not the spiritual ‘ideas’ of the previous idealistic thinking.

According to materialists, we must assume that we know nothing or know nothing but our physical world, so we must go out of what we can find there. Like empirists (and note that empirists are often materialists and vice versa), materialists believe in a recognizable world that is “known” through observations and “laws of nature.” According to materialists, there is nothing higher than that material, no soul, no God (unless this material is, and thus bound to the knowledge of nature, such as gravity).

Short and concise : Stick to the physical

4. Phenomenology (1879-1930) philosophy

Edmund Husserl - TOP 10 WELL KNOWN PHILOSOPHICAL FLOWSEdmund Husserl

With phenomenology, we finally find ourselves in the ‘Modern’ Philosophy. The name comes from the ancient Greek word for ‘visible’ and ‘learning’; phainomenon and logos, and so much is not said, unfortunately, what does the doctrine of the visible mean now? Phenomenology addresses experience, but only direct and intuitive experience of phenomena (phenomena), and attempts to derive the essential properties.

The (rather complicated) idea is that if we conclude that knowledge is dependent on the process of our own brain processes, we have an opportunity to come to knowledge through reality analysis. It is thus a way to circumvent the idealistic idea that nothing is “out of the mind”. When you see a chair, you see this thing as an idea in your mind. A phenomenologist can then think about the essential characteristics of this entity, and what not. The color of fabric may not be essential for a chair, but the four legs may be? Is a chair a chair with three or five legs? If so, the four-potency of a chair is not an essential feature. Phenomenologists are not talking about the essence of chairs, but focus on the essence of what is experienced (something that is much less visible and tangible in contrast to a chair).An important concept within phenomenology is intentionalism; The idea that everything we think or experience is always focused on something else.

Although phenomenology originally originates from the Franz Brentano School, most material is from Edmund Husserl. The well-known philosopher Heidegger was a philosopher within this flow, as well as Jean-Paul Sartre.

Brief and concise: Analyze the mind (thoughts)

3. Existentialism (1850-1950) philosophy

Friedrich Nietzsche2 - TOP 10 WELL KNOWN PHILOSOPHICAL FLOWSFriedrich Nietzsche

Existentialism is both a philosophical and literary flow, in which its philosophy is primarily subjectivity.Everyone is unique and therefore responsible for his own actions but also his own destiny (always and everywhere). In the absence of an omnipotent God, everybody according to this philosophy must give his own meaning to the otherwise completely meaningless life. If one does not make sense, then one must at least accept that life is completely meaningless. Major existentialists include Friedrich Nietzsche, Sören Kierkegaard and Jean-Paul Sartre. Within existentialism, the views may differ dramatically between philosopher, and sometimes even within the philosopher himself, for example when his or her previous views differ from later concerns. However, they all mean that they place great emphasis on personal uniqueness, freedom and responsibility for choices in life.

Short and concise: Life means making choices, live through these choices!

2. Pragmatism (1880-1980) philosophy

Charles Sanders peirce - TOP 10 WELL KNOWN PHILOSOPHICAL FLOWSCharles Sanders Peirce

Pragmatists are known for their (pragmatic) connection between philosophical theory and practice.Pragmatism stipulates that in fact these two are not apart from each other, nor that this is ever possible. Their most famous motto is the pragmatic theory of truth: something is true when it works in practice. Therefore, if something has practical utility or social benefit, it can be true. In another situation, however, the same can not be true. This ambiguity does not include a pragmatist, because in their definition, truth can be true in one situation, and not true in the other.

Pragmatism is one of the first currents in Western philosophy that does not originate in Europe, but in America. Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, John Dewey and Willard of Orman Quine were all American philosophers and founders and main characters in this flow.

Short and concise: Follow that which works

1. Postmodernism (1970-1990) philosophy

Michel Foucault2 - TOP 10 WELL KNOWN PHILOSOPHICAL FLOWSMichel Foucault

As the name suggests, postmodernism is a reaction to modernism. It is also a flow in art.Postmodernists like to doubt things, especially concepts like Truth and Authenticity. In addition, postmodernists believe that there is only a poor foundation for knowledge acquisition, there is no “best” method to investigate reality, nor is man autonomous, either able to consciously make his own choice. This because of the subconscious, emotions, others, and finally the ‘language’. Decentration of the subject, this is called by postmodernists. One is irrational (does not behave consciously because of reason), and one can only communicate poorly with others because of a suboptimal language (language makes for miscommunication, misunderstandings and other translation errors). Therefore, it is difficult to know ‘self’ and much more difficult to pass that knowledge on. Pluralism in general is the result.

The consequence of all pluralism is clear to many postmodernists: the only thing one can do is to be accommodating and see where the ship is expected, not too much, especially stable truth, science or ethics. Well-known postmodern thinkers build on the previously mentioned phenomenologists;Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Short and concise: Relax!

Finally, a bonus flow (call number 11 or 0) that did not appear in the list but we do not want to skip: analytical philosophy. This philosophy flow influenced especially in the 1880s to 1980s, and was both of British and American origin.Perhaps the most famous thinker is Bertrand Russell, a favorite of the author of these top ten. At the heart of the belief, if we only chop down the search for truth and reality now and let exact logic and empiry (observations) on these pieces eventually come to the ultimate truth. This way we can make progress progressively and eventually come to a greater extent.

In short: analyze everything in small particles.


pinit fg en rect red 28 - TOP 10 WELL KNOWN PHILOSOPHICAL FLOWS