Hegel's thinking can be understood as a constructive development within the broad tradition that includes Plato and Immanuel Kant . To this list one could add Proclus , Meister Eckhart , Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz , Plotinus , Jakob Böhme , and Jean-Jacques Rousseau . What all these thinkers share, which distinguishes them from materialists like Epicurus and Thomas Hobbes , and from empiricists like David Hume , is that they regard freedom or self-determination both as real and as having important ontological implications, for soul or mind or divinity. This focus on freedom is what generates Plato's notion (in the Phaedo , Republic , and Timaeus ) of the soul as having a higher or fuller kind of reality than inanimate objects possess. While Aristotle criticizes Plato's "Forms," he preserves Plato's cornerstones of the ontological implications for self-determination: ethical reasoning, the soul's pinnacle in the hierarchy of nature, the order of the cosmos, and an assumption with reasoned arguments for a prime mover. Kant imports Plato's high esteem of individual sovereignty to his considerations of moral and noumenal freedom, as well as to God. All three find common ground on the unique position of humans in the scheme of things, known by the discussed categorical differences from animals and inanimate objects.