Study Guide to The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This article was originally posted to my personal Tumblr blog, and proved to be very popular. It has been updated over time, and will continue to be updated in the future according to constructive feedback.

For those who wish to attain a good understanding of philosophy, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (or SEP) is an incredible and highly recommended resource.

One minor caveat to the SEP, however, is that no ordered guide exists within the encyclopedia itself to peruse its contents. I have therefore taken it upon myself to structure the guide with a chronological ordering of major Western philosophers through the 20th century, and I have also included links to associated schools of thought.

Unfortunately, the SEP is not totally comprehensive. Some philosophers do not have direct entries available in the SEP. Therefore, I have also included links to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP) where no equivalent SEP links can be obtained.  IEP links are italicized, like so.

The Pre-Socratics

Classical Philosophy

Ancient Non-Socratic Schools of Philosophy







Medieval Philosophy


Renaissance Philosophers

Islamic Philosophers

Jewish Philosopher(s)

Early Modern Philosophy (it isn’t medieval, but it also isn’t modern)

See also Rationalism vs. Empircism



Non-Aligned (Not strictly empiricist or rationalist)

19th Century Philosophy

German Idealism


  • Karl Marx (of course he gets his own category)

British Empiricism

American Philosophy

European Philosophers

20th Century Philosophy

(Characterized by two large and competing traditions that neither IEP nor SEP can succinctly describe)

Analytical Philosophers

Continental Philosophers


Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse At times, indeed, ridiculous Almost, at times, the Fool.

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