Ancient Greek Philosophers: Top 5

Philosophy is generally divided into four categories – Ancient, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary. Western Philosophy is said to have its origins in Ancient Greece (the ancient cities of Asia Minor).

Ancient Greek Philosophy tended to overlap with science and ethics. So, who are my Top 5 Ancient Greek Philosophers?

Top 5 Ancient Greek Philosophers

#5 Democritus

Arguably, Democtritus was more of a scientist than a philosopher in many ways. But as we know, there was little differentiation between the two in ancient Greece. Democritus proposed the early views on objects being shaped as atoms.

Democritus was ‘materialist’ through and through, viewing sense perception as subjective, rather than objective. He was a pioneer of mathematics and geometry.

#4 Epicurus

Epicurus has made it in at number 3 with his Epicurean Hypothesis (the world is ultimately made up of atoms linking and moving together). This empirical philosopher sure is popular with the scientists!

Epicurus is also famous for developing the Epicurean trilemma in which God can be questioned due tot he existence of evil and suffering in the world. Either God does not love us (is not benevolent), or God is not powerful enough (omnipotent) to stop the evil, or, God does not exist.

Epicurus believed that both the body and soul end at death, and death should not be feared.

#3 Aristotle

Aristotle (384 – 322 BC)

It was the Aristotolean views that the shaped Christian Theology of the Middle Ages. Aristotle was a theist amd one of the first thinkers behind the teleological argument, focusing on God as an ‘unmoved mover’ or ‘uncaused cause’.

Aristotle’s insistence on the primacy of substance reflects his view that there is no single category of being. He rejected Plato’s Theory of Forms.

#2 Plato

Plato was a student of Aristotle and Socrates. He is probably most famous for his Cave Analogy and Plato’s Theory of Forms. His work focussed on ethics, moral philosophy, political philosophy and epistemology.


#1 Socrates

Of course, the man at the top of our Ancient Greek philosophers is the man who has more questions than answers – it’s Socrates.

Socrates developed what is referred to as the ‘Socratic method’ of analysing good and justice. The problem is broken down into a series of questions, and these responses lead you to the answers.

Socrates believed in a focus on the self and personal development, rather than materialistic items. Perhaps we could all learn a thing or two from Socrates!

More on Ancient Greek Philosophers visit Listverse for their Top 15 Ancient Greek Philosophers!

Who are your favourite Ancient Greek Philosophers?

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2 thoughts on “Ancient Greek Philosophers: Top 5”

  1. The article says, “Plato was a student of Aristotle and Socrates.” Most historians believe that Socrates taught Plato who taught Aristotle. In the article on “Aristotle,” Wikipedia says, “Taught by Plato, he was the founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition.”


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