To give you a more overarching approach, here is a list of major philosophical schools of thought.
Note: The important point is that an author may very well belong to several schools (eg Sartre is both phenomenologist, Marxist, individualistic and idealistic).
Here is a list of the major philosophy schools:
General schools of thought:
- Empiricism: Doctrine that all knowledge comes from experience.
See the philosophy of Hume or Locke‘s
- Rationalism: Theory which states that the human mind has principles or a priori knowledge, independent of experience
- Idealism: Philosophical doctrine that denies the existence of the outside world, and reduces it to representations of subjectivity.
See the philosophies of Plato, Kant, Hegel, Fichte
- Positivism: The principle of positivism is to refute the man any metaphysical sense, focusing on science and objective, seeking human laws.
See the philosophy of Auguste Comte
- Stoicism: Stoicism is both a theory of the universe and morality. Stoic wisdom is defined as knowledge of the Cosmos.
See the philosophy of Cicero, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Sextus Empiricus, Zeno
- Structuralism: For structuralism, there are structures for all social activities, to explain them. We must therefore go beyond the empirical facts.
See the philosophy of Levi-Strauss
- Phenomenology: A descriptive study of a set of phenomena. Phenomenology proceeds from a critique of traditional metaphysics (empiricism and idealism at a time), in a desire to return to the concrete. Phenomenology is defined as a rigorous science of essences.
See the philosophies of Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Heidegger
- Materialism: The theory is a materialist ontological doctrine that there is no other substance than matter. It generally rejects the existence of God, the soul, the afterlife. Consciousness is merely a phenomenon secondary to attach to the material.
See the philosophies of Epicurus and Marx
- Existentialism: Existentialism is basically betting on man (and not a philosophy of ideas). It is a philosophy of existence that rejects the priority of the essence. Existentialism considers man as a self-free production, alone in a universe without God. Existential philosophy seeks the metaphysical meaning of man.
See the philosophies of Pascal, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus, Heidegger.
- Skepticism: Skepticism is a position of denial. Refusal to rule on the existence of objects. Judgement is suspended, the permanent shadow.
See the philosophies of Diogenes Laertius, Hume and Berkeley
- Cynicism: Cynicism is primarily a moral doctrine, which is to reject the conventions commonly accepted social and moral. The cynical life must be based on a very ascetic virtue.
See the philosophy of Diogenes
- Romanticism: Exaltation of the feel of nature. The romantic nostalgia as describing the attitude of authentic human consciousness, and founded the theory of nature as a mediator between man and divinity, the nation as a source of access to religion. It is also to rehabilitate the feelings of freedom.
See the philosophies of Hegel, Schelling and Fichte.
Political school of thought:
Communism: Social Doctrine advocating the sharing of all goods and lack of private property for the liberation of man and the end of the operation (withering away of the state)
See the philosophies of Plato, Marx and Engels, Fourier
Socialism: In Marx, socialism is the intermediate state (between capitalism and communism), stage characterized by the dictatorship of the proletariat. Socialism makes the interest of individuals with common interest.
See philosophy of Proudhon
Liberalism: the economic side of liberalism asserts that the State must give way in favor of the market, while the political side is in the heart of society the principle of freedom, the state must protect individual liberty.
See the philosophies of Rawls, Locke, Montesquieu
Libertarianism: Doctrine of radical liberals who advocates the demise of the state as a system based on coercion, for the benefit of cooperation between free individuals.
See the philosophy of Nozick
Contractualism: Political theory that individuals must leave the state of nature, give up their natural rights, to join in freedom and equality (slope Democratic Rousseau, Locke or Kant, shedding absolutist Hobbes)
See the philosophies of Rousseau, Kant, Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke
Anarchism: Anarchism is characterized by the refusal of any power or authority, the only value is the individual’s own values .
See the philosophies of Bakunin or Nietzsche
Humanism: Humanism makes man the only source of values
See Sartre’s philosophy
Feminism: Feminism is a philosophical movement that seeks the total emancipation of women, both political and societal
See the philosophy of De Beauvoir
Utilitarianism: Doctrine that regards as useful that can bring pleasure. Human life must be based on an arithmetic pleasures
See the philosophy of Bentham, Stuart Mill or More