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Philosophers: a quiz

How well do you know your philosophers? Here is a set of questions to test your knowledge. Each question describes an influential philosopher – all you have to do is decide which of the alternatives on offer fits the bill!

  • Question /

    He lived c428-348 BC, mostly in Athens, and introduced the Theory of Forms. His works were written as dialogues and included The Republic, Phaedo and The Apology

    • Socrates
    • Plato
    • Aristotle
    • Zeno
  • Question /

    Lived in England 1632-1704. Considered to be the first of the English empiricists. Wrote An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

    • John Locke
    • George Berkeley
    • David Hume
    • Thomas Hobbes
  • Question /

    Lived in France 1596-1650. Best known for his “method of doubt” and his phrase “I think, therefore I am”.

    • Blaise Pascal
    • Benedictus de Spinoza
    • Rene Descartes
    • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Question /

    Lived in East Prussia 1724-1804. In moral philosophy he wrote about the “categorical imperative”. His greatest work in metaphysics was The Critique of Pure Reason in which he distinguished phenomena from noumena.

    • Georg Hegel
    • Soren Kierkegaard
    • Gottlob Frege
    • Immanuel Kant
  • Question /

    Lived in England 1588-1679. In his best-known work Leviathan he described human life in a state of nature as “nasty, brutish and short”.

    • George Berkeley
    • Thomas Hobbes
    • Isaac Newton
    • George Herbert
  • Question /

    Lived in Germany 1818-83. Believed that Capitalism was bound to be overthrown, leading to Communism. Wrote Das Kapital.

    • Friedrich Engels
    • V I Lenin
    • Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Karl Marx
  • Question /

    Lived in France 1905-80. The best-known existentialist philosopher. Said that man is condemned to be free. Wrote Being and Nothingness

    • Simone de Beauvoir
    • Jean-Paul Sartre
    • Maurice Merleau-Ponty
    • Hannah Arendt
  • Question /

    Austrian. Lived 1889-1951. Wrote about private and public language. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was the only major work published during his lifetime.

    • Martin Heidegger
    • Edmund Husserl
    • Karl Popper
    • Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Question /

    British. Lived 1806-73. An exponent of Utilitarianism, he believed that some pleasures were more worthy than others. Wrote “On Liberty” as well as “Utilitarianism”.

    • Jeremy Bentham
    • John Stuart Mill
    • Gilbert Ryle
    • Bertrand Russell
  • Question /

    Lived from 1844 to 1900. German. Explored the roots of Christian morality. Has been unjustly linked with Nazism and anti-Semitism. Wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra

    • Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Friedrich Engels
    • Gottlob Frege
    • Edmund Husserl

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17 Comments

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  1. I got 8/10, I’m still beating my finger for missing John Stuart Mill. I so got it wrong by thinking it was Jeremy Bentham.
    The second one I missed I guessed anyway, I didn’t have any clue about that question 8.

    • The clues on Mill versus Bentham were the dates, the book titles, and the fact that Bentham notoriously did not see that some pleasures were more worthy than others – he concentrated on quantity rather than quality. As for Wittgenstein – if you haven’t heard of him it’s down to guesswork!

      • True what you say about Mill and Bentham. I some how didn’t look at it as I should, just did a cursory look and picked.
        For Wittgenstein, unfortunately, I’ve never heard of him till your quiz, so it was totally guesswork. I’ll do a little read up on him though.

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