Who is the most famous philosopher of all times?

The one in which nearly everyone has heard of, even people that do not read or know anything about philosophy. I think it would have to be Nietzsche or Aristotle, at least in the United States.

Plato would be my guess.

Considering Aritocles (Plato) mentored Aristotle, and created Western Civilization as we know it, I don’t know why you would pick Aristotle over the master.

socrates was in the movie “bill and ted’s excellent adventure”.

He also starred in the fictional tale: The Republic.

Socrates
He nipped the Pre-Socratics in the bud, and the world still hasn’t recovered. This endless questioning is all thanks to him.

Socrates, of course

he is the quintessence of philosophy, after all

Dr. Seuss hands down is the most famous.

Either Socrates or Confucius, depending. Pretty much everybody knows who Socrates is (even if it is just, “he asked a lot of question”). Ditto on Confucius.

Dr, Seuss is dead
He meant what he said
Geisel is dead

I’d say Plato. Socrates may have well been invented by Plato since virtually all we know of him came via Plato. Aristotle would be a very close second; his influence during the middle ages particularly can’t be overstated. Of course, that’s Western philosophy- Confucious or the Buddha may have been nearly as influencial.

Regarding Socrates, there are 3 independent accounts by contemporaries of Socrates, and miscellaneous secondary references. Like most historical figures from 2,000 years ago, there is a scarcity of first hand information. The details of Socrates need to be pieced together and analyzed from the available accounts. With Socrates, we do have 3 contemporaries who knew him: 2 admirers (Plato & Xenephon) and 1 harsh critic (Aristophanes). There are also several second-hand references that are thought to be accurate.

1.) Aristophanes
2.) Plato
3.) Xenephon
4.) Others

1.) Aristophanes the playwright, was a contemporary of Socrates, who authored a bitter satire called “The Clouds.” Aristophanes was highly critical of Socrates’ “excessive thinking,” and how it could lead to manipulation through use of rhetoric. The play is complex, delving into several themes, and in addition to Socrates, a few popular sophists of that time are featured. Aristophanes was sharply critical of Socrates, and feared the popularity of Socrates, as well as his followers who mimicked his style of interlocution. You might say that Aristophanes represented the “cultural conservative” perspective of his time. “The Clouds” was famous in its time, and continues to be staged to this day. If you have read the play, it is apparent that Aristophanes was quite knowledgeable about Socrates, going to great lengths to characterize him and portray his mannerisms. The play incorporates numerous themes Socrates raised, along with references to other notable sophists of the time. Aristophanes feared that Socratic thinking, the “skeptical inquiry” by one who challenges authorities, would lead to “moral and social chaos” in Athenian society. Aristophanes “The Clouds” is considered by many scholars an accurate portrayal of Socrates due to its “counterpoint” themes, when compared to Plato or Xenephon. It is not likely Aristophanes would invent a fiction about Socrates, when Plato and others also described Socrates as having challenging discussions about metaphysical and ethical issues that evoked controversy in Athenian society. Aristophanes account is considered a validation of Socrates because it reflects Aristophanes’ real concerns and fears of what he saw as a dangerous influence in Athenian society of his day.

2.) Plato (his real name was Aristocles) was an admirer and a student of Socrates as a young man. His dialogues portray Socrates engaged in a wide range of topics, frequently revolving around metaphysical and ethical issues. Are Plato’s dialogues a word-for-word literal account of everything Socrates discussed? Of course not. No one knows for certain what actual words were spoken by Socrates, same as no one knows the literal words spoken by Jesus. Plato was an eloquent poet, whose exultation of Socrates was undoubtedly embellished by his prolific prose. Plato’s dialogues of Socrates are considered accurate portrayals of the discussions between Socrates and numerous sophists. From what we know of Athenian and Greek history, Plato is considered a reliable recorder of the common discussions thought to occur during the civil unrest in Athens after the Peloponnesian Wars, when Athens lost to Sparta, and for a time, was ruled by a Spartan council. At that time, Socrates was a war veteran, and was sympathetic to many of the Spartan ethical and military principles. This put him at odds with many Athenians, and seems very reasonable as marking a starting point for the philosophic themes that Socrates and others such as the sophists debated after the fall of Athens, and during its reconstruction.

3.) Xenephon was another contemporary of Socrates. As a boy, Xenephon was an admirer and student of Socrates. Later as a man, Xenephon joined Cyrus’ army, and left Socrates. Late in his life, Xenophon wrote his own history. In two of the volumes, Xenephon discusses his earlier life with Socrates, and relates how he revered him, and felt that Socrates’ trial was a misguided and wrongfully conducted event. Xenephon discusses Socrates in “The Anabasis,” and also in his “Memorabilia of Socrates.” He describes Socrates as a good citizen, who was wrongfully accused by Anytus and Meletus at his trial.

4.) Aristotle was born after Socrates died; however he makes numerous references to Socrates throughout his works. Since Plato was a student of Socrates, and Aristotle was a student of Plato, the references are assumed to have come from Plato’s direct experiences with Socrates, and also the various Sophists such as Gorgias and Protagoras who stated they were fond of arguing with Socrates.
The nihilistic rhetorician Gorgias, and the sophist Protagoras, were contemporaries of Socrates. Both remarked how they enjoyed engaging Socrates in arguments because he was the only philosopher against whom neither ever won an argument!

As a general comment, history is always difficult to interpret. History is the weakest of the sciences! Especially when people attach emotional import to a character such as Socrates, or Jesus. If we lacking original written documents, then we are left with second-hand accounts. In the case of Socrates, we have 3 well-versed contemporaries, whose writings, when viewed together, and compared to history, compare and contrast the discussions that Socrates reportedly had, they correspond to known history of the time, and strongly support the claim that he did in fact live.

What I mean to write was “Socrates may as well have been invented by Plato…” Sure, F.W.Nietzsche- there’s no doubt that he lived. But the works of critics like Aristophanes were sendups, parodies of his works. They give very little insight into what he actually believed, and Socrates left no writings of his own to speak of. Virtually everything we really know of his philosophy comes from his student Plato. And most scholars seem to feel that as Plato’s own philosophies matured, the character called Socrates begins to merge with that of Plato.

Certainly Socrates’ impact was enormous- he may have been the first person to make the turn from natural philosophy (ie early natural science) inward to the nature of man and how life should be lived. But as important as that was, it was a baby step compared to what Plato did with the notion. At least IMOHO.

Sure, but in terms of fame, I’d wager more random people on the street would know Socrates than Plato. Historical setting of them aside. Likewise, Buddha and Confucius would get a lot of street recognition. Possibly more so, though I don’t know how well Socrates et al., are known on the Mainland or in India, for example.

The Asians know of Socrates pretty damn well from what I know of things.

Sure, but it comes down to demographic hair-splitting as well as things like how mass communication have been employed. For example, I’d wager that most people in rural Missouri would be able to tell a racists joke with Confucius as the titular character without too much prodding. You know, “Confucius say man who sneezes without tissue takes matters in his own hands,” or something along those lines. Likewise, they’d probably be able to say something about Socrates being that guy who asked (aksed?) a lot of questions. I do not think that someone in rural China would be pull the name “Socrates” or anything about him from thin air. In rural India, maybe. That’s all I’m saying. I could, of course, be wrong. I admittedly don’t know much about education in rural China and how much they are taught about people like Socrates. Given the influence of the Socratic dialectic on the Marxist dialectic, it isn’t out of the question that enthusiastic Communists in the 60s and 70s knew about Socrates and are teaching their children about them as well.

:laughing:
Now check this out my friend, Seuss is known worldwide, his works are in many languages, while Plato Socrates and the others have their works gathering dust in a bookstore, Suess’s works won’t stay on the shelf. His is the words educate children on society morals, ethics and behavior. He touches so many more humans in his death then the others could ever hope to. He has long been underrated as a philosopher because he devoted his time to kids not to knowledge hungry teens.Yet, he gave those teens the thirst for knowledge. Seuss is there in the back of most people’s heads in all the civilized lands in in some uncivilized lands. Kids in the jungles learn to read english from his books. Now tell me, do they teach kids english by reading those others??? Nope, hands down its Seuss all the way. The others gather dust and are touched by the few, Seuss has no dust.

I grew up reading and enjoying, Dr. Seuss,

“Horton Hears a Who” is the classic ethical dilemma. :smiley:

once again it depends on what you call a philosopher… #-o
Jesus, Buddha … one of those religion leaders…
if not touching religion then plato or aristotel…