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The Natural Philosophy Timeline

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Great thinkers, their ideas, and publications

Philosophy TL: ALL > Big Picture > 2. Ideas > 3. Philosophers > 4. Publications

ALL Edition: Includes all entries minus descriptions for the great philosophers and their ideas and publications. This timeline focuses on the empirical, rational, and irrational as well as understanding their philosophical context. Philosophical context includes understanding the timing of discoveries and rediscoveries as well as the philosophers behind them and their publications. For the companion timeline for the book: “30 Philosophers: A New Look at Timeless Ideas,” go to Book Timeline: 30 Philosophers.

The Natural Philosophy Timeline

Big Bang Expansion
Big Bang Expansion
13.8 Billion Years Ago
Verified. Empirically supported and rationally deduced.
Free Will
Free Will
How predetermined are our choices?
Evolution
Evolution
Our true origin story.
Cultural Transmission
Cultural Transmission
What separates humans from animals.
Great Apes: Medicine Emerges
Great Apes: Medicine Emerges
18 Million Years Ago (+/- 5 million years)
Early Stone Tools
Early Stone Tools
3.3 Million BCE
Hominins
Olduvai Gorge Site: A Glimpse into Early Organizational Behavior
Olduvai Gorge Site: A Glimpse into Early Organizational Behavior
2 Million Years Ago (Up to about 15,000 years ago)
Hand Axe
Hand Axe
1.76 Million BCE
Fire-Altered Stone Tools
Fire-Altered Stone Tools
790,000 BCE
Genus Homo
Oldest Surviving Spear
Oldest Surviving Spear
350,000 BCE
400,000 to 300,000 BCE
Venus of Tan-Tan
Venus of Tan-Tan
300,000 BCE
Africa; 300,000 to 500,000 years ago
Bhimbetka Petroglyphs, Cupules
Bhimbetka Petroglyphs, Cupules
Before 290,000 BCE
Hominins; 290,000 to 700,000 years ago
Seasonal Settlements at Klasies River Caves
Seasonal Settlements at Klasies River Caves
125,000 BCE
125,000 to 60,000 BCE
Earliest Known Prepared Burial, “Mtoto”
Earliest Known Prepared Burial, “Mtoto”
76,000 BCE
Blombos Cave Engravings
Blombos Cave Engravings
75,000 BCE
Oldest Known Bracelet
Oldest Known Bracelet
70,000 BCE
2,880 Generations Ago
Neanderthal Art: Symbolic Thought
Neanderthal Art: Symbolic Thought
Before 64000 BCE
Upper Paleolithic
World Population: 1.5 Million
World Population: 1.5 Million
50,000 BCE
Estimates range from 500,000 to 2.5 million
Lebombo bone: First Lunar Phase Counter
Lebombo bone: First Lunar Phase Counter
42,200 BCE
44,200 to 43,000 years old according to 24 radiocarbon tests
Sulawesi Cave Art
Sulawesi Cave Art
circa 41,900 BCE
Chauvet Cave Paintings
Chauvet Cave Paintings
30,000 BCE
Czeck: Dolní Věstonice Community
Czeck: Dolní Věstonice Community
30,000 BCE
29 to 32 thousand years ago.
Advanced Sewing Needles
Advanced Sewing Needles
28,000 BCE
28,000 to 21,000 BCE
Seasonal Settlements at Franchthi Cave
Seasonal Settlements at Franchthi Cave
20,000 BCE
From circa 20,000 to 3,000 BCE
Ukraine: Mezhyrich Community
Ukraine: Mezhyrich Community
18,000 BCE
15 to 20 Thousand Years Agao
The Invention of Bread
Assortment of baked bread
Before 14,400 BCE
Middle East
Tell Abu Hureyra
Tell Abu Hureyra
circa 11,500 BCE
Evidence of farming: rye seeds
Neolithic Revolution
Trevethy Quoit a Portal Dolmen in Cornwall
9,700 BCE
Start of "our" Holocene geological epoch
Göbekli Tepe (circa 9600 BCE)
Göbekli Tepe (circa 9600 BCE)
circa 9600 BCE
Corn
Glass Gem Flint Corn
Before 9000 BCE
Mexico
Plaster Invented
wall, decay, plaster
before 9000 BCE
Jericho Founded
St Geaorge Monastery Desert
9000 BCE
The Domestication of Rice
Bali Rice Fields
circa 8000 BCE
China
Under Investigation: Yonaguni Monument
Yonaguni Monument Terraces midpart NWW
circa 8000 BCE (speculative)
Fuxi (伏羲)
Fuxi (伏羲)
Circa 8000-7000 BCE
Nüwa (女娲)
Nüwa (女娲)
Circa 8000-7000 BCE
Ain Ghazal Statues: Early Plaster Art
Ain Ghazal Statues: Early Plaster Art
circa 7200 BCE
Jordan
City of Catalhoyuk
City of Catalhoyuk
7,100 BCE
7,100 to 5,700 BCE
Neolithic Symbols: China
Neolithic Symbols: China
7000 BCE
7000-6001 BCE
Cheese
Delicious Cheese board. Assortment of cheese, camembert, brie, Gorgonzola, parmesan, olives
Before 5500 BCE
Poland
Man Made Glass
blue green and red heart shaped stone
3500 BCE
Beer, Ale
glass of beer, sausages and bread on the table
circa 3000 BCE
Sumerians; 3400–2900 BCE
Shennong (神农)
Shennong (神农)
circa 2800 BCE
The Divine Farmer
Gilgamesh, circa 2700 BCE
Gilgamesh, circa 2700 BCE
King of Uruk
The Yellow Emperor (Huangdi)
The Yellow Emperor (Huangdi)
circa 2650 BCE (+/- 50 years)
King Shuruppak (circa 2600 BCE)
King Shuruppak (circa 2600 BCE)
Sumerian Tradition
The Wise King
Knowledge Framework
Knowledge Framework
A network of ideas.
New Look
Philosophy
Philosophy
The what, why, and how of life.
Chocolate
Cocoa powder and cocoa beans
Before 1900 BCE
Mesoamerica
Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
1755 BCE
Rigveda Samhita, Veda Book 1 of 4
Rigveda Samhita, Veda Book 1 of 4
1,700 BCE
148 Generations Ago
Dragons: Early Dinosaur Fossils
Dragons: Early Dinosaur Fossils
By 1600 BCE
Oldest Known Monotheistic Religion: Atenism
Oldest Known Monotheistic Religion: Atenism
1344 BCE
circa 1340 to 1320 BCE
Major Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion: Hinduism
1100 BCE (+/- 300 years)
125 Generations Ago
Gargi Vachaknavi (circa 800 BCE)
Hindu god Ganesha on white wooden table. Candles on background
Vedic Tradition
The "woman" Vedic sage
Ontology
Ontology
The Nature of Being.
We are more than self-aware.
Holism
Holism
Nature is the master plan.
The Birth of Logic
The Birth of Logic
624 BCE
Circa 624-546 BCE
Thales of Miletus (624 – 546 BCE)
Thales of Miletus (624 – 546 BCE)
Early or "First" Science
The Grandfather of Western Philosophy
Laozi (604-517 BCE)
Laozi (604-517 BCE)
Daoism
Old Master
Spherical Earth
Realistic Earth Planet against the the star sky
600 BCE
Wu-wei or “non-action”
Wu-wei or “non-action”
Go with the flow of nature.
Ziran, Authenticity, or Authentic Self
Ziran, Authenticity, or Authentic Self
Let life unfold organically.
Unknowable Dao
Unknowable Dao
We can only describe nature.
Pythagoras (570-495 BCE)
Pythagoras (570-495 BCE)
Pythagoreanism
Father of Mathematics
Confucius (551-479 BCE, died age 72)
Confucius (551-479 BCE, died age 72)
Confucianism
The "Great Sage" or the "First Teacher."
Normalcy, Normal, and Abnormal
Normalcy, Normal, and Abnormal
Normal is our current experiences.
New Look
Schemas
Schemas
The abstractions of life.
Gautama Buddha (circa 563-486 BCE)
Gautama Buddha (circa 563-486 BCE)
Buddhism
The "Buddha"
Non-Self or Anatman and Self or Atman
Non-Self or Anatman and Self or Atman
Your idea of "self" does not exist.
Nondualism and Dualism
Nondualism and Dualism
The separation of mind and body is an illusion.
Heraclitus (circa 535-475 BCE)
Heraclitus (circa 535-475 BCE)
Pre-Socratic Philosophy
Weeping or "Dark" Philosopher
Impermanence and Flux
Impermanence and Flux
ChatGPT Change is the only constant.
Worldview
Worldview
Your sub-culture and choices.
Identity
Identity
Existence before essence.
Crafting yourself from your given traits.
Anaxagoras (circa 500-428 BCE)
Anaxagoras (circa 500-428 BCE)
500 BCE
circa 450 BCE
Socrates (469 – 399 BCE)
Marble statue of the ancient Greek Philosopher Plato.
Socratic Questioning
Father of Western Ethics
Democritus (460 BCE – circa 370 BCE)
Democritus (460 BCE – circa 370 BCE)
Atomist
The Laughing Philosopher
Law of the Twelve Tables
Law of the Twelve Tables
451 BCE
Plato (428-347 BCE)
Plato (428-347 BCE)
Platonism
Father of Idealism
Reflective Inquiry
Reflective Inquiry
A constant state of self-assessment.
Ignorance is Bliss
Ignorance is Bliss
Strategic ignorance.
Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE)
Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE)
Aristotelianism
Father of Western Philosophy
Syllogisms
Syllogisms
Logically connect things.
Rationalism
Rationalism
Prioritize your ideas over reality.
Empiricism
Empiricism
Prioritize reality over your ideas.
Logic
Logic
Reality is organized and mathematical.
Logical Fallacies
Logical Fallacies
Flaws in reasoning.
Eudaimonia
Eudaimonia
Flourish now and into the future.
Chuang Tzu (369-286 BCE)
Chuang Tzu (369-286 BCE)
Daoism
Pyrrho (360-270 BCE)
Pyrrho (360-270 BCE)
Skepticism
Father of Skepticism
Skepticism
Skepticism
Question your beliefs and avoid dogmatism.
Social Constructs
Social Constructs
Shared, not natural agreements.
Epicurean Happiness Toolkit: A 4-Step Structure
Epicurean Happiness Toolkit: A 4-Step Structure
New Look
Epicurus (341-270 BCE)
Epicurus (341-270 BCE)
Epicureanism
The Garden Philosopher
Agnosticism
Agnosticism
Don't waste time on the unknowable.
Live in the present.
Dichotomy of Pleasure
Dichotomy of Pleasure
Prefer long term pleasures over short.
Zeno of Citium (334-262 BCE)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Paolo_Monti_-_Servizio_fotografico_(Napoli,_1969)_-_BEIC_6353768.jpg
Stoicism
Father of Stoicism
Cicero (106-43 BCE)
Cicero (106-43 BCE)
106 BCE
84 Generations Ago
Philo of Alexandria (circa 20 BCE to circa 55 CE)
Philo of Alexandria (circa 20 BCE to circa 55 CE)
Hellenistic Judaism
Allegorical Interpretation
Allegorical Interpretation
Stories have complex meanings.
Seneca the Younger (4 BCE – 65 CE)
Seneca the Younger (4 BCE – 65 CE)
Stoic Tradition
Roman Stoic Statesman
Earliest Known Magnification
crystal lens ball in a woman’s hand, with a refracted view of a misty country lane
65 CE
Epictetus (50-135 CE)
Epictetus (50-135 CE)
circa 100 CE
78 Generations Ago
Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 CE)
Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 CE)
Stoic Tradition
The Philosopher King
Cognitive Reframing
Cognitive Reframing
Emotions are judgements.
Negative Visualization
Negative Visualization
Contemplate the future.
Cognitive Distancing
Cognitive Distancing
Step outside your reality.
Badarayana, circa 200 CE (+/- 300 years)
sand sculpture of Ganesha in Hinduism, the god of wisdom and well-being with the head of an elephant
Vedanta / Hinduism
Author of the Brahma Sutras
Cause and Effect
Cause and Effect
Karma
Cognitive Biases
Cognitive Biases
Maya, Illusion.
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE)
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE)
Christian Neoplatonism
Saint Augustine
Chronoception
Chronoception
Spacetime
Eternity
Eternity
Block Theory of the Universe
New Look
Al-Farabi (872-950)
Al-Farabi (872-950)
Islamic Neoplatonism
Second Teacher
Intellect
Intellect
Blank slate filled with impressions
Essence and Existence
Essence and Existence
You exist, then your mold your essence.
Alhazen (965-1040)
Alhazen (965-1040)
Islamic Polymath
Father of Optics
The Five Senses of Humans
Olfaction or Sense of Smell Study.
Circa 1020
New Look
Touchstone: Perception
Touchstone: Perception
Interpretation
Bernard of Chartres (circa 1070 – 1130)
Bernard of Chartres (circa 1070 – 1130)
Neoplatonist
French Philosopher
Peter Abelard (1079-1141)
Peter Abelard (1079-1141)
Scholasticism
Intent
The concept of intent, the contrast between good and bad intentions.
Good Intent vs Good Results
Pattern Recognition
Pattern Recognition
Patterns in Nature
Magna Carta
Magna Carta
1215
The First Great Charter of King Henry III
The First Great Charter of King Henry III
12 Nov 1216
Hourglass
Hourglass on the Beach
1400
Printing Press Invented
Printing Press Invented
1440
Germany
Guru Nanak (1469-1539)
Guru Nanak (1469-1539)
Sikhism
The Five Thieves
The Five Thieves
5 ethical guideposts
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
28 Feb 1533
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
Scientific Method
Father of Empiricism
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Observational Empiricism
Father of Modern Physics
Microscope Invented = Microworld Discovered!
Various bacteria cells in microscope. Streptococcus pneumonia, p
1590 to 1640 CE
Rene Descartes (1596-1649)
Rene Descartes (1596-1649)
Cartesian Dualism
Father of Modern Philosophy
Separation of Church and State
Separation of Church and State
No government church.
Liberalism
Liberalism
Everyone is equal.
Roger Williams (1602ish-1683)
Roger Williams (1602ish-1683)
Liberalism
Grandfather of Liberalism
Modern Cosmology
Modern Cosmology
1608
The Scientific Method
The Scientific Method
Empirical observations of the material world.
Relativity Principle
Relativity Principle
Jul 1632
Law
Law
Law protects.
Modern law emerges after the Middle Ages.
Natural Rights
Natural Rights
Life, Liberty, & Property Rights
Due Process
Due Process
Protection against authority.
Emerged in the 1600s.
Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677, aged 44)
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spinoza_(cropped).jpg
Monism
Radical Dutch Thinker
John Locke (1632-1704)
John Locke (1632-1704)
Natural Rights
Father of Liberalism
Infinitesimal
Infinitesimal
1638
Mind-Body Dualism
Mind-Body Dualism
1641 - Two Substances: Body & Soul
Cartesian Dualism
Descartes Thought Experiment
Descartes Thought Experiment
New Look
Book: A Key Into the Language of America
Book: A Key Into the Language of America
7 Sep 1643
Book: The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution
Book: The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution
1644 CE
Patent for Providence Plantations, Roger Williams
Patent for Providence Plantations, Roger Williams
14 Mar 1644
Founder, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Founder, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Jul 1663
Monism
Monism
God is nature, nature is everything.
Western monism emerged with Spinoza in the 1600s.
Material-Spiritual Framework
Material-Spiritual Framework
Spirituality is exploration.
New Look
Protozoa Discovered: Microbiology Founded
Protozoa Discovered: Microbiology Founded
1674
Roger’s Last Known Essay
Roger’s Last Known Essay
1679
The Invention of Calculus
geometry, mathematics, volume
5 Jul 1687
The Social Contract
The Social Contract
Citizens consent to be governed.
Emerged about 1689.
English Bill of Rights
1689
Fourth Estate
Fourth Estate
The force of public opinion.
The fourth emerged in the 18th & 19th centuries.
Journalism
Journalism
Storytelling for the people.
Modern journalism started in the early 1700s.
Voltaire (1694-1778)
Voltaire (1694-1778)
Enlightenment
Champion of Free Thought
David Hume (1711-1776)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:David_Hume.jpg
Skeptical Empiricism
Scottish Enlightenment Philosopher
Transcendental Idealism
Transcendental Idealism
Our Ideas are Not Reality
The Eastern unknowable Dao emerged in the West in the late 1700s.
Categorical Imperative
Categorical Imperative
Live by universal values.
Emerged in late 1700s.
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
Transcendental Idealism
Skeptical Empiricism
Skeptical Empiricism
Knowledge is experience.
The Problem of Induction
The Problem of Induction
Patterns might mislead.
Hume’s Fork
Hume’s Fork
Life is definitions & observations.
New Look
Checks and Balances
Checks and Balances
Separation of Powers
Matured about 1748.
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
Common Sense by Thomas Paine
Oct 1776
Declaration of Independence
Declaration of Independence
4 Jul 1776
Black Holes Proposed
Black Holes Proposed
Nov 1783
The Constitution of the United States
The Constitution of the United States
17 Sep 1787
Bill of Rights
Constitution, Gavel and handcuffs
3 Dec 1791
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
Utilitarianism
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)
British Naturalist
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913)
British Naturalist and Explorer
Father of Biogeography
Fossils: From Myth to Science
Fossils: From Myth to Science
1824
The Birth of Paleontology
Doppler Effect for Sound and Light
Doppler Effect for Sound and Light
1842
Anxiety “Angst”
Anxiety “Angst”
Use angst to guide your life.
1843: “Fear and Trembling” by Kierkegaard.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
Nihilism
Critic of Traditional Morality
Doppler Effect Observed for Stars
Doppler Effect Observed for Stars
1848
Discovery: The Sumerian Flood Story
Discovery: The Sumerian Flood Story
1853
Harm Principle
Harm Principle
Cause no harm.
In "On Liberty," pub. 1859.
Nihilism
Nihilism
1862: Ivan Turgenev novel "Fathers and Sons"
New Look
Electromagnetic Radiation Theory
Electromagnetic Radiation Theory
1864
Übermensch
Übermensch
Live Your Authentic Self
1883, 1885: From "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"
Eternal Recurrence
Eternal Recurrence
Live in the now.
1882/3/5: Refined in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra"
Authentic Recipe: Nietzsche’s Five-step Approach
Authentic Recipe: Nietzsche’s Five-step Approach
New Look
Radiometric Dating
Iodine 131(I-131)Radioactive isotopes used for hyperthyroidism treatment are stored in Lead boxes
1905 CE
Special Relativity
Special Relativity
Jun 1905
Consciousness
Consciousness
The experience of living.
New Look
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
Existentialism
The Public Intellectual
First Analog Radio Transmission
First Analog Radio Transmission
24 Dec 1906
General Relativity
General Relativity
Nov 1915
Heidegger’s Existentialism
Heidegger’s Existentialism
Confront life head on.
1927: "Being and Time"
Galaxies Discovered! Doppler Effect used to measure distance!!
Galaxies Discovered! Doppler Effect used to measure distance!!
1929
Electron Microscope = Nanoworld Discovered!
pathogen virus background
1931
Oort Cloud
Oort Cloud
1932
Bad Faith
Bad Faith
Don't live in bad-faith, be authentic.
1943: "Being and Nothingness" by Sartre.
Sartre’s Existentialism
Sartre’s Existentialism
Existence precedes essence.
1943: "Being and Nothingness"
Radiocarbon Dating
We all need a little CAFFEINE
1946 CE
Rediscovery: City of Catalhoyuk, circa 7100 BCE
Rediscovery: City of Catalhoyuk, circa 7100 BCE
1958
Hand Axes 1.7 Million Years Ago
Hand Axes 1.7 Million Years Ago
1960
Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)
Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB)
20 May 1965
Rediscovery of the Library of Ebla: circa 2350 BCE
Rediscovery of the Library of Ebla: circa 2350 BCE
1975
Ancient Spears 350,000 Years Ago
Ancient Spears 350,000 Years Ago
1994
Discovery: Neanderthal Symbolic Thought
Discovery: Neanderthal Symbolic Thought
2018
Bread Making Pushed Back
Various bread with grain in a bowl on the table.
2018
Black Holes Confirmed
Black Holes Confirmed
Apr 2019

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