Memorize a Timeline of Western Philosophers

Should anyone be interested in taking a stab at this timeline, here is the link:

http://www.philosophypages.com/dy/zt.htm

I think this is a worthy endeavour, if a tad difficult :slight_smile:

All the best

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Good idea – we were talking about memorizing a list of philosophers something like that at a recent SF Bay Memory Club meeting.

Here are a few more lists:

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Pick up Russell’s “A History of Western Philosophy,” which sums up a couple of the most salient arguments from each of perhaps 100 western thinkers in 71 chapters (usually devoted to a single philosopher, but sometimes devoted to a school or larger body, such as the chapters “The Epicureans,” and “The Twelfth Century”) and why, in Russell’s opinion, those arguments succeed or fail. The philosophers are discussed in chronological order, and if you haven’t read this book, you’re going to find it a treat.

By the way, about that list you posted…many of those philosophers are really just not that important. If you want to devote your life to philosophy, perhaps their ideas will be of use to you, but knowing the subtleties of just a handful of truly great breakthroughs in thought is a large undertaking in itself. If you just memorized the premises and conclusions of every philosopher in Russell’s book, who they belonged to and when/why, and read the book carefully enough to thoroughly understand the material and be able to state your own reasons for accepting or denying the truth of the premises and soundness of the arguments, you would never be lost in a philosophical conversation that would arise at any point in the rest of your life (outside of academia). You would have to supplement the more important ideas and general principles, i.e., hard/soft determinism, space-time worms, etc., with primary source material, but not as much as you might think. This task alone would put you head and shoulders above the majority of Philosophy BA’s.

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Good idea. I have that book and have carried it around with me for the past couple of years but haven’t gotten past the first few chapters yet. When I have time I’m going to finish reading it.

That’s a great idea again, LociInTheSky! I’d studied a lot of philosophy in university (as something like a minor), and I suspect this would be an amazing project.

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