Famous Philosophers and Their Philosophical Context and Ideas
The researcher discusses some of the famous philosophers. The essay covers their philosophical context and ideas. In addition, the paper includes the author’s opinion and the lessons learned during the course.
Ibn Khaldun was born in 1332 in Tunis and died in 1406 (The Famous People, 2016). He had the privilege of learning from the best teachers. Being intelligent and curious made him become one of the most creative people of his generation. Khaldun’s philosophical views were related to political and social issues, and he is described as one of the founders of modern sociology, economics, and historiography. His philosophical work considers the rise and fall of the state which he characterized as a five-stage process. At the first stage, the family cohesion is high and leaders adhere to the rules. In the scope of the second stage, leaders tend to monopolize the authority and are absolute masters. In the third stage, the ruler out of desire uses power for his benefits (Ibn Khaldun, 2016). With regard to the fourth stage, there is a state of luxury and complacency due to contentment. Finally, the fifth stage shows how both solidarity and religious forces are distorted, and states collapse.
Malek Benabi was born as the only boy among his three sisters in Constantine, Algeria, in 1905 (Altas, 2010). He lived with his uncle and came back to his family in Tibissa upon his death. His father was educated and helped him get an education in France. It was his interaction with both Shaikh Abdul Majid and his grandfather that enabled him to connect with the abusive colonial policies, and thus, shape his philosophical path (Altas, 2010). Benabi dealt with religious and political issues as he promoted civilization. The philosopher formulated the equation Man+ Soil Time = Civilization in which the religion is the catalyst and the removal of the man from the equation makes it losing the value (Benlahcene, 2013). His principle was that there was no fault in Islam or Quran and that Muslims could improve life in the way they desired by changing their individual personalities.
Al Farabi was a Turkish philosopher brought to Bagdad when he was young. His father was a Caliph’s bodyguard. Al Farabi did not work in the court environment until 942 when he was invited to live in the Prince Sayf ad-Dawlish’s court, a place he lived until his death (Duignan, 2010). His philosophical works were intertwined with politics and religion as he sought to urge the kings to relate philosophy and religion. The thinker related the prophet lawgiver to the philosopher-king by their shared ideas. His philosophy emphasized that theology and judicial discipline dealt with the law and derived from the Supreme Being who is the creator. His argument was that people should be concerned about doing well so that they will enjoy life both on the earth and after death.
Ibn Rushd was born in 1126 while he died in 1198 (Hassan, 2010). The philosopher from Cordoba cherished the Muslim faith most of all. Among other disciplines, he studied medical philosophy and the Malik law. From 1169 to 1172, he worked as a judge in Seville (Hassan, 2010). His philosophical areas were in the scope of religion and ethics as he critiqued Ibn Sina and Al Farabi. Ibn Rushd’s views included the belief that an individual should seek to study the works of those in the field of his/her area of interest and ought to be guided by reason to find the unknown from what is already known. The thinker meant that anyone who disagrees with Islam should have undeniable evidence in this case (Hassan, 2010). He meant that discrepancy in the work of others should not be an opposition to the Scripture since the scripture is right.
Al-Ghazali was a Muslim theologian who educated in Iran at Tus and later to Jordan before getting the privilege to be taught by al-Juwayn? at Nishapur, Iran. After the death of al-Juwayn? in 1085, he was invited to Nizm al-Mulk’s court, while in 1091 he became a professor at Niz.miyah College (Duignan, 2010). The spiritual crisis in Bagdad made the philosopher anxious, and therefore, unable to lecture for a while. In 1096, he visited Mecca and later returned to teach at Tus until his death in 1110 (Duignan, 2010). Al-Ghazali’s philosophy revolved around the subject of jurisprudence and theology. The views aimed at shaping the incoherence of those whose utterances contradicted the Islamic scripture. As a philosopher, he was able to articulate the doctrines and cultures of Islam by showing how practical it was to inculcate the Islamic teachings in one’s devotional life.
Socrates was a Greek philosopher with ideas, ways of thinking, and character that had a huge influence on the next generations. Unlike other scholars who traveled in search of knowledge in other cities, he opted to remain in his birthplace. The great thinker had three sons with his wife Xanthippe. Socrates worked as a hoplite in the Athenian army before he was sentenced to death at 70 (Duignan, 2010). His philosophical beliefs were psychological in nature and aimed at seeking answers to questions such as pity, courage, and self-control. According to Socrates, the mind is the controller of an individual, and people will carry out action about what they know, while emotion will always follow whatever has been thought deeply (Duignan, 2010). The philosopher emphasized it would be a pretense to worry about death since no one knows about it.
Machiavelli was born in 1469 in Florence, Italy. His father Bernardo was a doctor (Duignan, 2010). There is insufficient information about his education, but he gained his knowledge from his father’s small library. Machiavelli was a political philosopher and indulged in offering advice to the rulers, and due to his working experience, he became an atheist and immoral cynic (Duignan, 2010). He died in 1520, and his work was documented after his death in The Prince. According to his school of thought, the princes should find the “effectual truth” and detest from “what ought to be done” failure due to which they will be ruined. The philosopher’s idea was that the prince should not seek to be good if he wants to prolong his life in authority because the subjects will disappoint him when he needs them the most.
Confucius was a Chinese philosopher born in Qufu in 551 BCE. He died in his birthplace state of Lu at 73 (Duignan, 2010). The future prominent thinker was raised in a single-family because his father died when he was still young. Confucius began teaching career at 30 after learning calligraphy, rituals, arithmetic, music, charioteering, and archery (Duignan, 2010). He helped in the policy formulation while serving in the Lu government and his philosophical views were related to politics. His ideas influenced the development of civilization in China and the rest of East Asia. Conscious’ philosophy explained that to effect change, it is not necessary to be a government official since a change starts from showing respect to one’s parents and being kind to the siblings.
Plato was born in Athens, Greece, in 428/427 BCE in a family of Ariston and Perictione. He is the most known student of Socrates. He was around Socrates in his youth, and his works are a representation of what was done by Socrates that is illustrated by the characters of Adeimantus and Glaucon in the Republic (Duignan, 2010). Plato’s works involved the subject of political ethics and discussion of happiness and virtues (Duignan, 2010). The philosopher was curious about the question of a good life and sought to know what makes life good. He alluded to the fact that, just like the excellence of a knife is determined by its ability to cut, the right life is defined by the virtues upheld. The thinker meant that similarly to the soul that has three parts, the state should also be able to function well by putting considerations to the interest of the producers, rules, and guardians.
John Locke was born in Wrington, England, in 1632 and died in High Laver, Essex, in 1704 (Duignan, 2010). His time of birth and childhood coincided with the English Civil Wars. Locke was enrolled in Westminster School in London. His philosophical worldview was related to political liberalism and philosophical empiricism and formed the cornerstone upon which the European enhancement and the United States Constitution were based. In particular, the philosopher opposes the theory by Sir Robert Filmer that all leaders are divinely sanctioned. He pointed out that it lacked the knowledge of common sense (Duignan, 2010). The second philosophy is the definition of power where Locke stated that this term is the making of the regulations and implementing them for the greater good of the masses. The theorist emphasized that a person has the right to his/her body and with the hard work, he/she can own other properties, but in so doing, he/she should adhere to the rules and avoid infringement of other people’s rights.
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was born in 1918 in Abu Dhabi. From 1971 to 2004, he ruled as the first president of the United Arab Emirates, while he had been the leader of Abu Dhabi since 1966 (Zayed National Museum, 2016). He was the youngest of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s sons. Sheikh Zayed was the person who helped in his upbringing after his father’s death. During this period, he gained the knowledge that shaped his character. Environment conservation was a great passion for the future philosopher, and he initiated the falconry that became part of his life. In 1946, taking the position of Abu Dhabi Eastern Region ruler’s representative, he sought to improve the administration in Al Ain.
The core of his philosophy was care and concern for his people. He believed that the wealth of the state has to be distributed among all people in the region without discrimination. For this reason, he provided support for women due to their role in the development of the region as a whole. He believed in the unity of efforts in the attainment of success, and this is the idea behind the successful formation of the UAE. It is on the premise of his humanitarian concern that Sheikh Zayed ensured there was an equitable distribution of water in the area to improve agricultural production for all residents. The sheik’s works were practical in nature and made sure that oil revenues were channeled towards the elaboration of the area through developmental projects that he initiated. These projects included the building of schools, hospitals, roads as well as dwellings (Zayed National Museum, 2016).
My Opinion and What I Have Learned
Philosophical knowledge is the art of brilliance of a sound mind where individual questions every detail to find an answer and stop relying on the norms of the society that may not always be true. In my view, philosophers are famous in the community since they always have a ‘third eye’ that sees what the rest of the people do not see. Undoubtedly, based on the different philosophical statements, countries have been able to enhance their development, while in some instances, the original philosophical ideas have helped to shape the political aspects of the society so as to promote justice to every individual. Through philosophical thinking, every act is brought into perspective by common sense and validation.
What I have learned is that most philosophers have come from modest backgrounds where some of them, such as Ibn Khaldun, were orphans while still very young. Probably, due to growing up in these hardships made the majority of the more critical in their thinking. The philosophers are also courageous since they spoke their minds regardless of the public opinion. They went to the extent of criticizing even the rulers by calling upon them to uphold the right morals.
Another important issue is that philosophical rulers make good leaders as it was in the case of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan who sought to deliver the best services to his people. It is a good leader that puts the interests of his subjects before his greed, and this is a great lesson to the present day corrupt leaders. Lastly, almost all the philosophers dealt with the issue of leadership by acknowledging the importance of religion, and this was meant to ensure that both the leaders and the subjects interacted peacefully with one another since it is an order from the Supreme Being.