Dr Tom Kerns
North Seattle Community College


Historical Periods in
Western Philosophy


I. The Ancient Period

From Way Back -- several hundred years BCE -- till about 300 AD

This period includes:

The Greek philosophers: Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many others (See a few significant dates in the Greek period)

The Hebrew wisdom writings, including Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes

The Roman philosophers: Seneca, Epicurus, stoics and hedonists, etc

II. The Medieval Period

From the 300s to late 1400s, AD

It is usually said to include philosohers like Augustine, the deserf fathers, Bonventure, Benedict, Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas

III. The Modern Period

From 1500s to late 1700s, AD

This period includes one school of philosophers usually referred to as rationalists,René Descartes, Benedictus de Spinosa and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and another school of philosophers usually referred to as empiricists, including Francis Bacon, John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume (See also a few significant dates in the Modern period)

IV. Contemporary Period

This period, usually said to date from the publication of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in 1781, includes Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Swedenborg, and countless others