What Philosophies Were Taught in Ancient Times?

Philosophy is a subject that has been studied for centuries, dating back to ancient times. It is the study of fundamental questions about existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.

Ancient philosophers were the pioneers of this field, laying the foundation for future generations to build upon. In this article, we will explore some of the philosophies that were taught in ancient times.

Pre-Socratic Philosophy

Pre-Socratic philosophy was the first known form of Western philosophy, and it dates back to the 6th century BCE. This philosophy was focused on understanding the world through natural phenomena rather than supernatural explanations. The pre-Socratic philosophers believed that everything in the world had a natural explanation and could be understood through observation and reason.

One of the most famous pre-Socratic philosophers was Thales of Miletus. He believed that everything in the world was made up of water and that water was the most basic component of everything. Another famous pre-Socratic philosopher was Anaximander who believed that everything came from an infinite and undefined substance called “apeiron”.


Socrates was a philosopher who lived in Athens during the 5th century BCE. He is known for his method of questioning, which aimed to get people to think critically about their beliefs and values. Socrates believed that knowledge could only be gained through questioning and self-reflection.

One of Socrates’ most famous quotes is “I know one thing; that I know nothing.” This quote represents his belief that true knowledge comes from recognizing our own ignorance.


Plato was a student of Socrates and went on to become one of the most influential philosophers in history. He founded The Academy in Athens which is considered to be one of the first institutions for higher learning.

Plato’s philosophy centered around his belief in absolute truth and justice. He believed that there was a perfect world of Forms or Ideas, which existed beyond the physical world we experience. Plato argued that true knowledge could only be attained by understanding these Forms.


Aristotle was a student of Plato and went on to become one of the most influential philosophers in history. He believed in empirical observation and reasoning, and his work had a profound impact on fields such as biology, physics, and logic.

Aristotle’s philosophy focused on the concept of causality, which is the idea that everything happens for a reason. He believed that everything had a purpose and function, and that these could be understood through observation and analysis.


Stoicism was a philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium in Athens during the 3rd century BCE. The Stoics believed in living in accordance with nature and accepting whatever happens in life with equanimity.

According to Stoic philosophy, people should focus on developing their own personal virtues such as wisdom, courage, justice, and self-control. By doing so, they would be able to live a fulfilling life regardless of their circumstances.


These are just some of the philosophies that were taught in ancient times. Each philosophy has had an enormous impact on Western thought and continues to influence our understanding of the world today. Whether it is through questioning our assumptions like Socrates or striving for personal excellence like the Stoics did, these ancient teachings have much to offer us even today.