Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Short Summary: Classic Greek Philosophers - History of Philosophy

Some questions and beliefs of the classic Greek philosophers:
            Does natural modesty exist?
            Wisest is one who knows that they don’t know.
            He who knows right will do so.
            True insight comes from within.

Sophists – skeptics; they accept that man can’t know the truth about the universe.

Protagoras(410 BC) – “Man is the measure”, said that right or wrong must be considered in relation to a person’s needs. Wondered about what was natural and what was socially induced.

Socrates(470-399BC) – Plato wrote about him so it’s difficult to distinguish between his philosophy and Plato’s.  Socratic method – ask questions until they see the weaknesses in their own justifications and views, which leads to true insight. He was killed because he introduced new gods and corrupted youth, according to the Greeks. There’s an allusion in the book for a parallel between JC and Socrates. He knew he didn’t know everything and had an unshakable faith in human reason(rationalist). Felt that because people want happiness and can’t handle guilt, if they know what’s right, they’d do right.

Plato(428-347BC) – Concerned with what is eternal and immutable versus what flows. Felt that all substances could change. The “form” of a horse is immutable. (In essence, he noticed that atoms don’t form randomly into a eladile or a crocophant.) The “form” idea is that a perfect copy or “idea” of all objects resides in god so to speak & that we are born with these “ideas” already in our head so we can identify objects into categories. He felt that you can only have true knowledge through reason since physical things are always in a state of change, unlike the “ideas” they are based upon. So, reality has two regions – the sensory and the ideas. We DO have an immortal soul because we have the realm of reason to explore ideas. The sensory world is dark and dreary compared to the clarity of ideas. His political ideas are based on rationalism.

Questions posed:         Are all horses the same?
                                    Is there an immortal soul?
                                    Are men and women the same?

Aristotle(384 – 322BC) – Europe’s first great biologist; interested in the changes in nature. He didn’t believe in ideas. He thought that humans saw a whole bunch of things and then categorized them(taxonomy). Man has the innate ability to classify. Man has reason, but no innate ideas. There are four causes in nature: material, efficient, formal and final cause. All matter has the potential to achieve form (like a chicken) through the causes. Split things into living and non-living entities. Man can only live a good life by using all of his abilities. Man is political – should have monarcy, aristrocrasy and polity. Thought that women were incomplete men. Women are substance while the man is form.
Assumed that god started all movement.

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Next summary: Hellenism and the Middle Age
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