Chronological map of the great philosophers

Below is a thumbnail sketch of the history of Western Philosophy and its most significant figures. Naturally, such a sketch is highly selective, but hopefully it is not too controversial in its choice of who to include and who to exclude. The philosophers, together with some of their major publications, are grouped together in order to highlight thematic similarities, but it must be noted that sweeping distinctions such as "empiricist", "rationalist", etc., are always somewhat superficial.

Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
Ancient Philosophy
Socrates (d. 399 B.C.)
Plato (428–347 B.C.)
The Republic
Aristotle (384–322 B.C.)
Nicomachean Ethics

Medieval Philosophy
St. Augustine (354–430)
City of God (412–427)
St. Thomans Aquinas (1225–1274)
Summa Contra Gentiles (1259–1264)

Modern Philosophy
British Empiricism
Francis Bacon (1561–1626)
Novum Organum (1620)
Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679)
Leviathan (1651)
John Locke (1632–1704)
An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690)
Two Treatises of Government (1690)
George Berkeley (1685–1753)
A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710)
Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous (1713)
David Hume (1711–1776)
Treatise of Human Nature (1739)
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748)
An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (1751)
Thomas Reid (1710–1796)
An Enquiry Into the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense (1764)
Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832)
An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (1789)
John Stuart Mill (1806–1873)
System of Logic (1843)
On Liberty (1859)
Utilitarianism (1861)
René Descartes (1596–1650)
Discourse on the Method … (1637)
Meditations on First Philosophy (1641)
Principles of Philosophy (1644)
Benedictus Spinoza (1632–1677)
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1677)
New Essays Concerning Human Understanding
Monadology (1714)

Romanticism and German Idealism
Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778)
The Social Contract (1762)
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804)
The Critique of Pure Reason (1781, 1787)
The Critique of Practical Reason (1788)
The Critique of Judgement (1790)
G. W. F. Hegel (1770–1831)
Phenomenology of Spirit (1807)
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860)
The World as Will and Representation (1818)
Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855)
Either/Or (1843)
Karl Marx (1818–1883)
Capital (1867)
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)
Beyond Good and Evil (1886)

Recent Philosophy
Analytical Philosophy
Gottlob Frege (1848–1925)
The Foundations of Arithmetic (1884)
Bertrand Russell (1872–1970)
Principia Mathematica (1910)
The Problems of Philosophy (1912)
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951)
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922)
Philosophical Investigations (1953)
The Vienna Circle:
Rudolf Carnap (1891–1970)
Otto Neurath (1882–1945)
Moritz Schlick (1882–1936)
Friedrich Waismann (1896–1959)
A. J. Ayer (1910–1989)
Language, Truth and Logic (1936)
American Pragmatism
Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914)
collected essays
William James (1842–1910)
Pragmatism (1907)
John Dewey (1859–1952)
Reconstruction in Philosophy (1920)
Existentialism and Phenomenology
Edmund Husserl (1859–1938)
Logical Investigations (1900)
Ideas Pertaining to a Pure Phenomenology and to a Phenomenological Philosophy (1913)
Martin Heidegger (1889–1976)
Being and Time (1927)
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–1980)
Being and Nothingness (1943)
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1908–1961)
Phenomenology of Perception (1945)

Whilst the history of philosophy qua history is not a proper part of philosophy, understanding and responding to the great thinkers of the past who constitute the tradition of the subject is. Part of coming to understand these thinkers is to see how their ideas developed in terms of the philosophers that they were responding to, and how subsequent philosophers went on to respond to them. To that end, History of Philosophy texts can be a useful source of background information. The following series has much to recommend it:

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