Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610) was an Italian painter with a taste for the underbelly of Rome’s society, unlike many other painters of the time. His David with the head of Goliath must rank as the most shocking and original self-portraits in history (his is the head).
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) is regarded as one of the most talented sculptors who ever lived, surpassing even Michelangelo in his ability to make marble and stone come alive. His Ecstasy of St Agnes, is of particular interest, in the way it makes an impact on its viewers. (Image shows his 'Rape of Proserpina')
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was a British philosopher and reformer who tried to develop a scientific formula for the happiness created by any action we take. This became known as utilitarianism, and is the most well-known form of consequentialist moral philosophy.
Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato's teacher), Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle's writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics. We will meet him from time to time, for example when we think about the need to classify ideas and concepts.
Aristarchos (310 BC – 230 BC) was the first thinker to propose the heliocentric theory. He was also responsible for placing the planets in their correct order. Aristarchos’s ideas were generally rejected in favour of those of Aristotle and Ptolemy, who both favoured the geocentric theory. It took over 1800 years for his ideas to be confirmed, (largely because of the resistance of secular and religious authorities) first by the observations of Copernicus, then by the work of Kepler and…
Marcus Aurelius (AD 121- AD 180) was Roman emperor from 161 to 180, presiding over the empire whilst it was still in its heyday – after him, it went into a steady decline. His Stoic philosophy held that the negative effects of your emotions can be overcome simply by perceiving of them in a different way.
Bill Maher (1956- ) is an American stand-up comedian and host of the award-winning current affairs show, Real Time with Bill Maher. His thoughts on religion and faith are controversial and provocative, and his ideas on our sources of knowledge - as seen here - are interesting for TOK.
Arthur Marwick (1936-2006) was an Edinburgh and Oxford-educated social and cultural historian. He wrote on a variety of issues, amongst them, the things that get in the way of historians doing their job properly, such as having a political or social agenda, seeing elements of popular culture as secondary rather than primary sources, and simplifying past events or discerning patterns where there are none.
Stanley Milgram (1933-1984) was an American psychologist, who designed the (in)famous Milgram experiment to investigate the extent to which we respond to authority. The experiment led him to formulate deeply disturbing conclusions on the human capacity to go along with immoral acts.
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-1592) was one of the greatest ever essayists and writers, Montaigne’s ideas foreshadowed many of the ones found in Shakespeare’s plays. He believed humans were trapped in their own natures, and were unable to escape their instincts and personalities.