Pythagoras is well known as a great mathematician and philosopher. He
lived between 570-490 BC. His life was accompanied by much controversy
as he immersed himself into religion, mysticism, science and mathematics.
Although better known for his legendary contribution to mathematics, his
philosophical works of Pythagoras are also considered as an influence on
modern philosophy even today.
Thoughts and Works of Pythagoras
Pythagoras established a school at Croton, which in some ways more
of a secret brotherhood or monastery. It was based on his religious
teachings and was highly concerned of the morality of the society.
He believed metempsychosis or the transmigration of the soul and
One of his central beliefs was that the essence of being (and the
stability of all things that create the universe) can be found in the form of
He believed that the number system was based on the sum of the
numbers one to four, and that odd numbers were masculine and even
numbers were feminine.
“Earth was round”, that all planets travel around one central
point(which he originally identified as Earth, but later renounced it for the
idea that the planets revolve around a central fire, but never identified
it as the sun).
Quotes by Pythagoras
•No one is free who has not obtained the
empire of himself.
•In anger we should refrain both from
speech and action.
•Do not say a little in many words but a
great deal in a few.
•Rest satisfied with doing well, and leave
others to talk of you as they please.
•There is geometry in the humming of the
strings, there is music in the spacing of the
•Do not talk a little on many subjects, but
much on a few.
•As soon as laws are necessary for men,
they are no longer fit for freedom.
•The oldest, shortest words — "yes" and
"no" — are those which require the most
•Concern should drive us into action and
not into a depression. No man is free who
cannot control himself.
•Above the cloud with its shadow is the star
Democritus was an ancient Greek philosopher who lived between the
years 460-370 BC. He laid a great emphasis on cheerfulness as an
important aspect of life. Democritus is also known as one of the two
founders of the atomist theory along with his teacher Leucippus and he
worked to develop a system to study the world materialistically. Most of
his arguments were all based on an approach to natural philosophy
which was often the focus of his talks and writings.
Thoughts and Works of Democritus
Like many other Pre-Socratic philosophies, the Atomism of Leucippus and Democritus was largely a response to the
unacceptable claim of Parmenides that change was impossible without something coming from nothing (which is itself
impossible), and thus any perceived change or movement was merely illusory.
In the Atomist version, there are multiple unchanging material principles which constantly rearrange themselves in order
to effect what we see as changes. These principles are very small, indivisible and indestructible building blocks known
as atoms (from the Greek "atomos", meaning "uncuttable"). All of reality and all the objects in the universe are composed
of different arrangements of these eternal atoms and an infinite void, in which they form
different combinations and shapes.
There is no room in this theory for the concept of a God, and essentially Atomism is a type of Materialism or Physicalism, as
well as being atheistic and deterministic in its outlook. However, Democritus did allow for the existence of the human soul,
which he saw as composed of a special kind of spherical atom, in constant motion, and he explained the senses in a
In Epistemology, Democritus distinguished two types of knowledge: "bastard" (subjective and insufficient knowledge,
obtained by perception through the senses), and "legitimate (genuine knowledge obtained by the processing of this
unreliable “bastard” knowledge using inductive reasoning).
In the field of Ethics, Democritus pursued a type of early Hedonism or Epicureanism. He was one of the earliest thinkers to
explicit posit a supreme good or goal, which he called cheerfulness or well-being (see the section on Eudaimonism) and
identified with the untroubled enjoyment of life. He saw this as achievable through moderation in the pursuit of pleasure,
through distinguishing useful pleasures from harmful ones, and through conforming to conventional morality. He is
quoted as saying, "The brave man is he who overcomes not only his enemies but his pleasures".
Democritus was also a pioneer of mathematics and geometry, and produced works entitled "On Numbers", "On
Geometrics","On Tangencies", "On Mapping" and "On Irrationals", although these works have not survived. We do
know that he was among the first to observe that a cone or pyramid has one-third the volume of
a cylinder or prism respectively with the same base and height.
He was also the first philosopher we know who realized that the celestial body we call the Milky Way is actually formed
from the light of distant stars, even though many later philosophers (including Aristotle) argued against this. He was also
among the first to propose that the universe contains many worlds, some of which may be inhabited. He devoted many of
the later years of his life to researches into the properties of minerals and plants, although we have no record of
any conclusions he may have drawn.
Quotes by Democritus
•Word is a shadow of a deed.
•Happiness resides not in possessions,
and not in gold, happiness dwells in the
•Our sins are more easily remembered
than our good deeds.
•Nothing exists except atoms and empty
space; everything else is opinion.
•By desiring little, a poor man makes
•Throw moderation to the winds, and the
greatest pleasures bring the greatest
•The pride of youth is in strength and
beauty, the pride of old age is in discretion.
•The wrongdoer is more unfortunate than
the man wronged.
•Tis hard to fight with anger, but the
prudent man keeps it under control.
•Everything existing in the universe is the
fruit of chance and necessity.
Was born in Prussia, German-Swiss philosopher and writer. The son of a Lutheran
pastor, he studied at Bonn and Leizpig and at age 24, became professor of Classical
Philosophy at University of Basel.
Works and thoughts of Friedrich Nietzche
He called his philosophy Nietzcheanism.
His philosophy generates passionate reactions running from love to disgust and has
drawn interpretation as well.
“God is dead” , not a physical death but a natural end to the belief in God.
Nietzche presents the overman or superman as the image of human being who can
overcome the Godless world of nihilism.
The will to power - one of Nietzche central concepts, a process of expansion and
venting of creative energy that he believed was the basic driving force of nature(all
things). The will to power is meant to explain more than just the behaviour of a living
thing, it can also be an explanation for why water flows as it does, why plants grow, and
why does the society behaves as they do.
Thus spoke Zarathustra - popular book of Nietzche
Quotes by Friedrich Nietzche
•“Faith: not wanting to know what the truth is.”
•“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”
•“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and
the only way, it does not exist.”
•“In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.”
•“There are no facts, only interpretations.”
•“Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their
•“I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.”
•“When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.”
•“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is
•“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are
prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”
•“Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man?”
•“Every deep thinker is more afraid of being understood than of being
Karl Theodor Jaspers (German ;23 February 1883 – 26 February 1969)
was a German psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on
modern theology, psychiatry and philosophy. After being trained in and
practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted
to discover an innovative philosophical system. He was often viewed as a
major exponent of existentialism in Germany, though he did not accept this
Works and thoughts of Karl Jaspers
For Jaspers, transcendence- as a unique and absolute being – is always
beyond and just outside the existent being. The transcendence of being is
intangible to human being.
The philosphical search of Jaspers can be divided into 3 stages: the
discovery of the world; the clarification of existence; and the attempt to
transced the world of objects.
Quotes by Karl Jaspers
•“To decide to become a philosopher seemed as foolish to me as to decide to become
•“Greatness of mind becomes an object of love only when the power at work in it itself
has a noble character”
•“The Greek word for philosopher (philosophos) connotes a distinction from sophos. It
signifies the lover of wisdom (knowledge) as distinguished from him who considers
himself wise in the possession of knowledge. This meaning of the word still endures:
the essence of philosophy is not the possession of the truth but the search for
truth....Philosophy means to be on the way. Its questions are more essential than its
answers, and every answer becomes a new question.”
•“Three things are required at a university: professional training, education of the
whole man, research. For the university is simultaneously a professional school, a
cultural center and a research institute. People have tried to force the university to
choose between these three possibilities. They have asked what it is that we really
expect the university to do. Since, so they say, it cannot do everything it ought to
decide upon one of these three alternatives. It was even suggested that the university
as such be dissolved, to be replaced by three special types of school: institutes for
professional training, institutes for general education possibly involving a special staff,
and research institutes. In the idea of the university, however, these three are
indissolubly united. One cannot be cut off from the others without destroying the
intellectual substance of the university, and without at the same time crippling itself. All
three are factors of a living whole. By isolating them, the spirit of the university