Philosophy has deep roots, with a clear historical evolution. It is about knowledge, and the argument for why (and how) we exist in the first place.
Western Philosophy is considered by many to be the foundation of philosophy in our modern times. Early philosophers before Socrates focused hypotheses on metaphysics, or the Study of Existence as it was later recognized. Philosophers also pondered change, and whether it is perpetual or permanent. It was at this time that Pythagoras believed that numbers governed all reality, and Augustine argued that history repeats the past.
Socrates and Plato were the philosophical leaders in the Classical Philosophy period of the 5th-4th century, B.C. Socrates focused on behavior, action, and ethics. Plato, a student of Socrates, combined many earlier theories to create his Theory of Forms and Universals. In turn Aristotle, himself a student of Plato, combined ethics, metaphysics, the study of governance (politics), and deductive logic. These three philosophical “power players” built the foundation for many more movements to come, among them cynicism, skepticism, hedonism, and stoicism.
Following this time were Dark Ages of Philosophy in the 4th or 5th Century A.D., also known as the time of Medieval Philosophy. In the 11th century, most philosophers were working to prove the existence of God or rather, their God. Many philosophers of this time were continuing the work of Plato and Aristotle. who obviously are still great influencers to this day.
The Scholastic Method came with the birth of the university systems, with philosophers working to reconcile early Western Philosophy with Christian theology, and the study of logic and language. This was followed by the Renaissance era, with a focus on natural evidence. As we move into the late 15th century, we have what many refer to as the birth of modern science and the time of Bacon, Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo.
Modern Philosophy began in the early 17th century, in the time of Hobbes, Descartes, and Newton, followed by the 18th and 19th centuries, and enlightenment and reason. The 20th century gave us Nietzshe, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and the American philosophers, and the birth of Existentialism.
This brings us to the time of the contemporaries, and the branches of philosophy that are currently recognized, including metaphysics, epistemology (Study of Knowledge), ethics, politics, and aesthetics (Study of Art). David Birnbaum is at the forefront of the metaphysical movement right now, birthing the Potentialism Theory, or the cosmic order and man’s quest to reach maximum protentional. A complete unknown in the field of philosophy when he released his book, Summa Metaphysica, Birnbaum now has many questioning whether he has answered centuries-old questions about our very existence, attempting to answer even those questions posed by people like physicist Stephen Hawking.
One thing’s for certain. If man has questions, philosophers will be pondering them. And certainly, Birnbaum has created a philosophical controversy that will no doubt dominate the conversation among students of philosophy for generations to come.