There are several philosophers who have been studied for years. Their lives and contributions to several aspects of the society are both valued and acknowledged by many people. This essay looks at the contributions of ten influential philosophers of all time. The ten individuals are Karl Marx, John Locke, Malcolm X, Margot Badran, Mikhail Bakunin, Martin Luther King Jr., Nicollo Machiavelli, Zayed bin Sultan, Thomas Hobbes, and Confucius.
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Karl Marx is mostly known as the German philosophy and sociologist, even though he had an impact on several other fields like economics and journalism. His most notable contribution to the society was the Communist Manifesto, which combined economics and sociology. According to Marx, society is divided into three economic classes; upper class, lower class, and middle class. The middle and lower classes suffer at the expense of the upper class.
The communist manifesto looks at these three classes and their relationship to one another. In sociology, the theory has been developed to offer answers to some social injustices that are seen in society. For example, sociologists who support the Marx school of thought argue that thieves steal because they are poor and cannot afford to sustain themselves because the people in the upper-class suppress them. In economics, the concept has led to the establishment of economic policies, such as the minimum wage bills that are used by many countries.
John Locke has been described as one of the most influential philosophers of all time. His greatest work was his definition of the theory of mind, which shaped many ideologies of identity and self. Locke argued that people are born with a clean mind. In other words, babies do not have innate knowledge. He explained that all knowledge and skill are acquired through interactions and experience. He implied that identity is formed from the experiences people have. The first impressions that stick are the most influential in shaping the identity of a person. It suffices to mention that Locke was also influential in the understanding of labor because he believed that it was only labor that could turn into the property. Therefore, anything a man has not worked for should not be considered his property.
Malcolm X was very prominent in the years when slavery was just about to be abolished. He believed that black men should be treated in the same manner and respect as the white people. Malcolm X was very religious. As a Muslim, he used his Koran-based beliefs to speak out for the voiceless. He is well remembered for forming two organizations; the Muslim Mosque Incorporated and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. It is important to mention that Malcolm X was not as popular among the blacks as other human rights activists of his time because of his faith. At the time, many black people were Christians, and they believed that Islam had no place in their community. Nevertheless, Malcolm X fought for the rights of all the black people, regardless of their religious affiliation.
Margot Badran has been at the forefront of fighting for the rights of Muslim women. Indeed, Islam has been criticized for demeaning women. Whether this is true or not is not relevant because her contribution to society cannot be refuted. Badran has dedicated her time and efforts to speak against some of the inhumane things that women of Islamic faith go through. Many have described her as a feminist, but Badran has not contradicted this title. As a feminist, one of the things she has objected against is the classic exclusion of women of Islam faith from the rest of the world. For example, Muslim women are not allowed to go to school or have jobs because they have to depend on their husbands or fathers. Being a professor herself, Badran has tried to show Muslim women that they can be anything they want to be, as long as they continue to follow the teachings of the Koran.
Mikhail Bakunin is known for his contributions towards collective anarchism. In fact, he has been described as the founder of the concept known as ‘social anarchy.’ Bakunin is said to have had a great interest in philosophy. It suffices to mention that he had a huge influence on economics as well. Bakunin rejected the idea of a fixed hierarchy in organizations. He argued that the hierarchy system was oppressive to the employees. Just like Karl Marx, he agreed that class divisions were oppressive to the lower and middle classes. According to the scholar, capitalism is the core problem in society. Even though he never outwardly spoke about socialism, it is assumed that he supported this type of economy and society. It is interesting to note that both Bakunin and Marx were in the First International association of workers.
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Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a preacher who fought for the rights of the black community. He was referred to as the top human rights activist of his time. King Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was considered his first attempt to start activism. He was also the first president of the Christian Leadership Conference, which focused its efforts in Georgia. At the time, Georgia was known for the mistreatment of people of the black ethnicity. His undying efforts made him a favorite among the blacks and people who fought against racism. In fact, he was assassinated while planning a national occupation termed the Poor People’s Campaign. King Jr. stayed away from direct interaction with the US politicians because he believed that his course was very different from theirs. He was awarded a Nobel Peace Award in 1964 for his efforts and contributions towards the end of racial segregation.
Nicollo Machiavelli was an Italian historian, politician, and philosopher. His greatest work was reflected in his book called The Prince. The book categorizes politicians into the good and the bad. In fact, the term Machiavellianism has since been used to describe bad politicians. The book uses an analogy to bring out Machiavelli’s ideas. He explains that there are two types of princes. The first prince is the ordinary prince that everyone is used to. This type of prince is described as dictatorial, and society suffers under his leadership. However, a new kind of prince has to be crowned for suffering to end. This prince is a man of the people, loved by all, and makes decisions that are good for the whole society. Machiavelli influenced both politics and sociology through his arguments on the characteristics of a good prince and an evil prince.
Zayed bin Sultan
Zayed bin Sultan was the first president of the UAE. He was also among the first founders of Dubai. As a leader, Sultan used his power and wealth to improve the lives of the unfortunate Muslims in Africa and Asia. He is well acknowledged for the construction of world-class hospitals and schools in the UAE. Hospitals and schools built by the former leader are free to all. Unlike other Muslim leaders, Sultan urged the Muslims to embrace the freedom of speech, regardless of gender. He was also very generous to the poor in the UAE, as he gave many of the pieces of land. However, he was also criticized for awarding the wealthy more land. Therefore, he never actually reduced the gap between the rich and the poor in the region.
Thomas Hobbes is considered one of the most influential people in political philosophy. He developed the theory of social contract in his book titled Leviathan. The book revolves around the formation of central power to ensure that there is harmony within a state. This gives rise to the importance of superpowers in the world. It can be argued that the Cold War was a result of the ideologies passed through the Leviathan, which was written during the Second World War. It suffices to mention that Hobbes believed that the government was crucial in the formation of the state. He even went further and gave a picture of how the world would be without governments. The picture he presented showed anarchy and discord in society.
Confucius was a Chinese teacher and politician who focused on ethics and morality.
One of his biggest developments was virtue ethics. He argued that being self-cultured was the most important part of morality. Confucius has been accused of not using logical arguments in his ideas. Despite this, many agree with the Confucius theory. The argument revolves around the ‘Li.’ Confucius argued that the Li should involve three things; sacrificing to the ancestors, social and political institutions, and behavior. He explained that these three things made up the ethics statute of an individual. Confucius claimed that political leaders had to be philosophers or, at least, be examples to the community. In other words, political leaders should be the epitome of ethics and morality. There are people who associate Confucius with the concept of conservatism, although critics differ. Confucius valued family, friendship, and relationships in society.
In conclusion, the ten philosophers discussed impacted different aspects of learning and society. Karl Marx is best known for economic divisions in society. John Locke had a lot of influence on the development of identity and self, while Malcolm X was a human rights activist, just like Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, Margot Badran is one of the most influential female leaders in the world. She has fought for the rights of the female Muslim faithful for a decade or so. Mikhail Bakunin developed the concept of collective anarchism, while Nicollo Machiavelli made several contributions in both politics and sociology. Zayed bin Sultan used his power and wealth to make the lives of the less fortunate more bearable. Finally, Thomas Hobbes developed the concept of political philosophy, while Confucius is known for his contributions to virtue ethics.