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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

History of Philosophy: Periodization of Western Philosophy

Periodization of any evolutionary phenomena is always subjective and hence certainly moot. But then there are certain features which are so prominent that they become the logical parameters for demarcation. Time is one such parameter. Ancient, Medieval and Modern these are the most common periodization that can be applied in any temporal phenomenon. So here just for our convenience we divide western Philosophy in three ages: The ancient, the medieval and the modern age.

1) Ancient Age: The period stretches from 600 to 400 BC. In the development of ancient Philosophy, we have two separate periods: A period of Spontaneous creation and one of Skeptical reflection and reproduction. The problem that dominates the period of Spontaneous creation is the problem of the origin of things: The problem of becoming. It consists of two schools, the Ionian and the Italian Philosophers. Ionian propagated materialistic pantheism. The age of critical reflection is inaugurated by the motto of the Sophists that man is the measure of all things. It outlined that human understanding is a coefficient in the production of the phenomenon.

2) Medieval Ages: It stretches from 400 BC to about 15th Century.Although the development of philosophy is less transparent during the middle ages, we notice the two epochs that runs parallel with those of ancient philosophy. One, Platonic, realistic turned towards the past (from St. Augustine to Saint Anslem), the other, peripatetic, nominalistic towards future.

3) Modern Philosophy: It Dates from scientific and literary revival in the fifteenth century. It history represents:
i) A period of expansion and ontological synthesis (Bruno, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz)
ii) A period of critical reflection and analysis (essays concerning human understanding: Locke; Hume; Kant)
iii) A period of metaphysical reconstruction (Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, etc)
iv) A period of varied critical and constructive tendencies.

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