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The 10 most interesting philosophical theories

The 10 most interesting philosophical theories

May 26, 2024

If something has characterized philosophy throughout history, it has been the great number of thought paradigms that it has created.

Among the great thinkers the most original, great and even crazy philosophical theories have been born , and many of them have left a mark in our way of interpreting reality and our personal relationships.

The 10 most relevant philosophical theories

Not all philosophical theories have had the same weight; some have been forgotten quickly, while others, outdated or not, continue to resonate in our consciousness help us understand part of our experiences at certain times. Next we will give a brief review of them.


1. Theory of ideas of Plato

This philosopher of ancient Greece is one of the most remembered for the influence he has had on Western culture hundreds of years before it existed.

The belief that the senses deceive us and that the reality exists independently of our opinions and points of view was formulated in the theory of the ideas of Plato of extensive form, which distanced this thinker from the sophists, who professed a very convenient relativism to do business with courses of oratory.

On the other hand, this philosophical theory has its roots in the particular conception that Plato had of reality: for him, what really exists are perfect ideas of things, and what we usually understand by matter is nothing more than a mirage, an imperfect reflection of those essences that they try to imitate.


  • Related article: "Plato's theory of ideas"

2. Theory of the eternal return of Nietzsche

The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche embodied his vitalist thought through his theory of the eternal return . This is based on the idea that the life to aspire to is the one that we wish would be repeated infinitely, not only in relation to what happens around us, but also including our thoughts and emotions in that loop eternal.

3. The soul in the body, by René Descartes

Descartes was one of the main representatives of dualism, the doctrine according to which reality is composed of at least two elements of the same hierarchical category that are independent of each other.

This French thinker, in particular, developed extensively a theory according to which in every human being there is a body and a spiritual substance that directs it and that it is the source of our consciousness.


4. William James pragmatic theory

William James was not only one of the most important philosophers of his time, but he was also one of the founders of psychology as a science. One of his most revolutionary ideas was that our beliefs have a real effect on the kind of life we ​​experience. Believing in one thing or another may be what leads us to die or to build very good standards of living. His way of thinking was an appeal to act as if our actions make the difference to allow this norm to be fulfilled thanks to our aspirations and beliefs.

5. Mary Wollstonecraft's Theory of Equitable Education

In the eighteenth century the common sentio dictated that men and women should receive a different education that adapted to their different "natures". This idea was challenged by Mary Wollstonecraft, who did something revolutionary: to question the idea that the fact that men and women behave differently means that this must be the case in all cases or even socially promoted.

In short, this reference to early feminism indicated that, regardless of our biological characteristics, we are all human beings and by default we deserve equal treatment regardless of any discrimination .

6. Rousseau's theory of the good savage

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the greatest critics of the Enlightenment, and questioned the idea that scientific progress would produce more social welfare in terms of human development and standards of living for all. Instead, he pointed out that the creation of societies marked by the complexity of personal relationships and the creation of hierarchies and norms could be a setback.

For this thinker, the effect of the development of civilizations could make let's stop considering the humanity of the people and we start treating them as resources to obey a "common good". This dynamic was opposed by the idea of ​​the good savage, embodied by children who, not having been socialized at all, would behave in a more ethical and purer way than adults corrupted by conventions, at least according to this author. .

On the other hand, that does not mean that Rousseau believed that at some point in our history the absence of civilization has brought peace with it.It is, in any case, a hypothetical situation that serves to exemplify the way in which, according to this philosopher, society brutalizes us.

Later, the theory of the good savage has been criticized by great referents of evolutionary psychology, such as Steven Pinker. However, this idea remains a symbolic reference in our way of thinking.

7. The fork of Hume

David Hume is probably the most important representative of the empiricist philosophy, according to which knowledge is constructed through our experiences and interactions with reality, and not so much through reflection and isolation.

One of his great contributions to history was his theory about the fork of knowledge. This establishes that knowledge is composed of demonstrative statements, which are self-evident, and others that are probable and that speak to us about properties of the world that surrounds us. The former are fundamentally governed by formal logic, while the latter are generated by experience. The first ones are always true, but they do not tell us anything about what happens in nature, while the latter do speak to us about concrete aspects of our lives, but they do not have to be true.

For Hume, it is necessary know the limitations and advantages of each of these two forms of knowledge so as not to mix them and reach conclusions that will make us fall into trouble.

8. Metaphysical theory of Spinoza

Benedictus de Espinoza was one of the great philosophers of seventeenth-century Europe, and proposed a mystical vision of the world around us. His conception of the divine led him to defend the idea that all the elements of nature are equally sacred and spiritual, since all of them form, at the same time, God. For Spinoza, the soul was not something exclusive to human beings, but it was everywhere: in plants, on rocks, in landscapes, etc.

9. The mysticism of the numbers of the Pythagoreans

The Pythagoreans were a Hellenic sect whose relationship with the world of mathematics went far beyond the purely intellectual interest. They believed that everything in nature follows the rules of numbers , and that the essence of everything that exists lies in these elements. Thus, mathematics was conceived as the sacred element that structured matter and ideas.

This devotion to numbers and their relationships can be understood if we consider that mathematics seems to describe the formal mechanics of the world: its laws apply at any time and in any place, so that it seems that they believe "the form" of the matter.

10. The Tao theory of Lao Tsé

Lao Tsé is one of the most influential figures in the history of China, and it is for a good reason; developed a conception of nature that is based on the idea that everything flows as it should, without human intervention . According to this philosophy, what is desirable is not to interfere with the natural development of things, to moderate one's ambitions and to live with humility without leaving the path of virtue.

  • Related article: "The theory of Yin and Yang"

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