Circa 500 — 300 B.C.
It’s likely that neither Lao Tzu, Sun Tzu, nor Chaung Tzu were individual people but rather mystical titles that accredit authorship of classical Taoist texts. Taoist thought is inherently contradictory and cryptic, though Lao Tzu, or Old Master, is accredited with authoring the clearest explication of Taoism in the Tao Te Ching. Sun Tzu, or Master Sun, is accredited with authoring The Art of War which is essential reading for war-makers and peace-makers alike. Chuang Tzu, or Master Chuang, is accredited with authoring Chuang Tzu — the most cryptic Taoist classic.
Circa 1466 — July 12, 1536
Desiderius Erasmus was a Dutch scholar and Catholic theologian. He is well known as the first editor of the New Testament though often overlooked for his contributions to the philosophy of peace and of free will. Among the earliest philosophers in our collection, Erasmus helped to form an early philosophical foundation for liberal peace.
April 22, 1724 — February 12, 1804
Immanuel Kant was the leading philosopher of the German enlightenment who made invaluable contributions to the study of ethics and autonomy, helping to form the philosophical foundation for modern liberalism. Known more as an imperfect ethicist than a proponent of peace, Kant’s “Perpetual Peace” forms a philosophical foundation for modern advocates of liberal peace. His racism and flaws cannot be excused nor can his influence be ignored.
May 20, 1806 — May 8, 1873
John Stuart Mill was an English journalist, Member of Parliament, and philosopher who is perhaps the most impactful liberal of the 19th century. Mill made invaluable contributions to the study of ethics, logic, and political economy.
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