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Greek Philosophy
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  • 1. Greek Philosophy
  • 2. Socrates
    • 469-399 BC
    • PBS Intro to Socrates
    • Argued against the “might is right” philosophy.
    • Criticized the current government and the respected citizens of Athens.
    • => Was put on trial for
    • Corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, and
    • Not believing in the gods of the state
  • 3.
    • He was found guilty and
    • Was sentenced to death.
    • His followers bribed the prison guards to arrange for his escape. He refused to flee because
      • He believed such a flight would indicate a fear of death, which he believed no true philosopher has .
      • If he fled Athens his teaching would fare no better in another country as he would continue questioning all he met and undoubtedly incur their displeasure.
      • Having knowingly agreed to live under the city's laws, he implicitly subjected himself to the possibility of being accused of crimes by its citizens and judged guilty by its jury. To do otherwise would have caused him to break his "social contract" with the state, and so harm the state, an act contrary to Socratic principle.
  • 4. Socrates chose death over escape and drank hemlock (a poison).
  • 5. Socrates’ Philosophy
    • Truly a philosopher
      • Philo = one who loves
      • Soph = wisdom/learning
    • “ Life without examination (questioning) is not worth living”
    • Recognized how little he knew and was therefore the wisest
    • “ One thing only I know and that is that I know nothing.”
    • Believed in divine inspiration
  • 6. The Socratic Method
    • Learning occurs through a guided discussion – a series of questions that the students attempt to answer.
  • 7. Plato
    • 428-348 BC
    • Was a student of Socrates (in fact, most of what we know of S. is through P.’s texts)
    • His entire philosophy was shaped by the fact that Athens could condemn its greatest citizen to death
    • = the difference between the true society and the ideal society
  • 8.
    • Wrote numerous texts on a variety of subjects, including
      • Apology (an account of Socrates’ trial)
      • Dialogues (an exploration of philosophy through Socrates’ method)
      • Republic (an exploration of an ideal society)
    • Established a school of philosophy (Plato’s Academy) where philosophy, mathematics, and gymnastics were “taught”
  • 9. Plato’s Philosophy
    • Wanted to find the eternal reality
    • Was amazed at how all nature can be so alike (and yet have variations)
    • Therefore, there must be an ideal form “behind” everything we see
    • There must be a “world of ideas” behind the material world
    • = Plato’s Theory of Ideas
  • 10.
    • Reason vs. Feeling (math vs. art)
    • You cannot have true knowledge of what you see with your eyes, and yet our senses are all we can perceive with.
    • Therefore, reality is divided into two world – the world of the senses and
    • the world of the ideas
    • The world of ideas cannot be perceived by the senses, but it can be reasoned.
    • (horse vs. Horse, man vs. Man, truth vs. Truth)
  • 11.
    • Plato believed the soul – the part of you that exists in the world of ideas
    • All nature is just a shadow of the ideal form = the allegory of the cave.
    • Allegory of the Cave ( animated )
    • The Divided Line
    • AC = the physical world, CE = the world of ideas
    • AB = Shadows of things, BC = Physical things
    • (scientific knowledge),
    • CD = mathematical reasoning (numbers, lines),
    • DE = philosophical reasoning (esp. Form of the Good)
  • 12. Aristotle
    • 384-322 BC
    • A student of Plato and
    • Teacher of Alex. the G.
    • The great organizer of science
  • 13. Aristotle’s Philosophy
    • Thought that Plato’s ideal world was made up of all the examples of the real world
      • Horse = the horse species
    • “Form” = what is common to all species
  • 14.  
  • 15.  
  • 16.  
  • 17.  
  • 18.
    • So, the natural world is reality and should be the focus of study
    • Everything belongs to a higher category
    • = Scientific Classification
    • (Like the game 20 Questions)
  • 19.  
  • 20.  
  • 21. Aristotle’s Ethics
    • Man can only achieve happiness by using all of his abilities and capabilities
    • Three Kinds of Happiness
      • A life of pleasure
      • A life as a free and responsible citizen
      • A life as a thinker/philosopher
    • Both Ari. and Plato advocated the Golden Mean in your personal life
  • 22. Aristotle’s Poetics
    • True art is a balance between entertainment and education
    • The role of catharsis
  • 23. Aristotle’s Logic
    • Deductive Logic (Syllogisms)
        • All men are mortal
        • Socrates is a man
        • Therefore, Socrates is mortal
    • Two conditional statements form a conclusion by in combination
      • If Larry is sick, then he will be absent from school.
      • If Larry is absent, then he will miss his classwork.
      • If Larry is sick, then he will miss his classwork.
  • 24.
    • Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
    • There is smoke in the house.
    • Therefore, there is a fire in the house.
    • Your turn!
  • 25. Careful, though!
    • All terriers are dogs. All terriers are mammals. Therefore, all mammals are dogs.
    • Elephants live in Africa. Africa is hot. Megan Fox is hot. Therefore, Megan Fox is an elephant.
  • 26. Hellenism
    • Hellene is Greek for “Greek”
    • Alexander the Great spread Greek ideas throughout the Mediterranean and Near East (conquered Turkey, Palestine, and Egypt, where he was declared a living God)
    • As he conquered, he founded new cities on the Greek model, spread the Greek language, and opened Greek schools
    • New religions came from the merging of old ones = syncretism
  • 27. Cynics
    • True happiness is not being dependent on fleeting things (money, power, luxury, health, etc.)
    • Therefore, true happiness is in everyone’s reach.
    • Moreover, once attained, it cannot be lost.
    • Diogenes (“Stop blocking my sun.”)
    • Don’t be concerned about health, suffering, death – yours or other people’s.
    • Nowadays cynicism = a disbelief in human sincerity (also implies an insensitivity to other people’s suffering)
  • 28. Stoics
    • Everyone is a part of a common sense ( logos ) & each person is a world in miniature
    • Therefore, there is a natural law, a universal rightness that does not change
    • = No difference between the individual and the universe
    • (= No difference between spirit and matter)
    • = Humanism: “To mankind, mankind is holy.” (Seneca)
    • All natural processes (incl. sickness/death) follow the natural law, so man should just accept it without complaint.
    • To be stoic today is to not let your feelings take over
  • 29. Epicureans
    • Cynics and Stoics said man needed to free himself from material luxuries
    • Epicureans believed that “The highest good is pleasure and the greatest evil is pain.”
    • So eat, drink, and be merry!
    • However, you must weigh the pleasurable results of an action against possible side effects (think of a hangover)
    • Also, it must be weighed against the possibility of a greater, more lasting or more intense pleasure in the long run
    • Man has the ability to make a “pleasure calculation.”
    • Not just sensual pleasure – love, friendship, art, freedom also count
  • 30. Epicurean’s 4 Medicinal Herbs
    • The gods are not to be feared.
    • Death is nothing to worry about.
    • Good is easy to attain.
    • The fearful is easy to endure.
  • 31. Epicureans, cont.
    • Must overcome fear of death
    • “ Death does not concern us because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.”
      • Epicurus
    • Nowadays, an epicurean is a negative word for someone who lives only for pleasure.
  • 32. Mysticism
    • One with God
    • “I am God.”
    • “I am You.”
    • (Love thy neighbor as thyself)
    • Western mysticism =
    • Judaism, Christianity, and early Islam
    • Eastern = Hinduism and Buddhism