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Western philosophers, their works, their quotes, their thoughts and their insights.

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  1. 1. A Summary<br />Collected & edited by Riquette Mory<br />1<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />Philosophy and Philosophers<br />
  2. 2. PHILOSOPHERS<br /><ul><li>The philosophers were “seekers of wisdom” who tried to study the world in a systematic way.
  3. 3. Believed people could understand the universe through logic and reason.
  4. 4. The earliest group was known as sophists-men of wisdom.
  5. 5. Their main concern was political and social success.
  6. 6. Many were teachers who trained the children of the wealthy.</li></ul>2<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  7. 7. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Thales:Traditionally considered the first ever western philosopher. None of his writings survived.<br />Zeno:founder of Stoicism which denies the importance of all bodily conditions. The only factor seen as essential to human happiness was virtue.He believed that a divine lawgiver had a fixed plan for the universe. Happiness resulted from accepting whatever life brought; even misfortune. Also believed that all people were alike and should be treated well.<br />Heraclitus (ca. 540 – ca. 480 BCE): “One cannot step twice in in the same river.”<br />His message was that reality is constantly changing , it’s an ongoing process rather than a fixed and stable product. All reality is fleeting and impermanent. <br />“The unapparent connection is more powerful than the apparent one.”<br />3<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  8. 8. PHILOSOPHERS<br />SOCRATES (469-399-BC):<br />Socrates, Ancient Greek, changed philosophy from a study of natural science to ethics and politics, but didn&apos;t write anything.<br />The Socratic Method is a question and answer technique of studying which was designed to make people examine their beliefs.<br />Socrates is famous for arguing that one must know himself, that the unexamined life is not worth living. Therefore it is a cruel irony that he was condemned to death for corrupting the youth he was teaching to search the truth.<br />4<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  9. 9. PHILOSOPHERS<br />PLATO (429 - 347 B.C.): Ancient Greek, student of Socrates, most influential philosopher of all time. <br />Plato based his philosophy on two principles “Truth and simplicity”<br />Plato was a brilliant man, one of the greatest philosophers of the past 2,500 years. Both Socrates and Plato knew that a good society must be founded on wisdom derived from truth and reality.<br />In The Republic-Plato outlines his ideas of the ideal society. He believed no one should have wealth or luxury, and all should do what they are best suited to.<br />5<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  10. 10. PHILOSOPHERS<br />6<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />Platoalso had a good understanding of human nature. <br /> He later began to develop his own philosophy - The fundamental aspect of Plato&apos;s thought is the theory of &quot;ideas&quot; or &quot;forms.&quot;<br />Plato, like so many other Greek philosophers, was stymied by the question of change in the physical world.<br />Plato&apos;s philosophy developed largely from that of his teacher Socrates. Under their influence Greek philosophy shifted its focus from problems of the physical world to ethics, politics, knowledge and ideas.<br />In his great books, The Laws and The Republic, Plato elaborated his doctrines of education, the role of laws and the structure of the ideal state.<br />
  11. 11. PHILOSOPHERS<br />ARISTOTLE(384 BC – 322 BC): Ancient Greek, student of Plato, second most influential philosopher of all time.<br />Tutor to the young prince of Macedon, Alexander the Great.<br />Works: The Nichomachean Ethics, Metaphysics and the Politics.<br />“The first philosophy (Metaphysics) is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance ...” (Aristotle)<br />Aristotle was the first philosopher to formalize the subject of Metaphysics. As he explains, Metaphysics is the study of the One Substance (God/Nature) which exists and causes all things, and is therefore the necessary foundation for all human knowledge. <br />7<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  12. 12. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Aristotle(and Leibniz)thought that One Substance must have properties that cause matter&apos;s interconnected activity and Motion. <br />&quot;Since nature is a principle of motion and change, and since our inquiry is about nature, we must not overlook the question of what motion is. For without understanding motion, we could not understand nature.”<br />Aristotle believed that the world could be understood at a fundamental level through the detailed observation and cataloging of phenomenon. <br />Therefore his ideas are very important, for within them are the clues to the solution of this most profound of all problems, &apos;what exists&apos;,and what it means to be &apos;human&apos;. That is, knowledge must be based on fundamental empirical evidence.<br />As a result of this belief, Aristotle literally wrote about everything: poetics, rhetoric, ethics, politics, meteorology, embryology, physics, mathematics, metaphysics, anatomy, physiology, logic, dreams, and so forth. <br />8<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  13. 13. PHILOSOPHERS<br />William of Ockham (1285–1349?)Scholastic: Science of simplicity<br />“Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily” <br />Commonly known for Ockham’s razor - the idea that in judging among competing philosophical or scientific theories, all other things being equal, we should prefer the simplest theory. Scientists currently speak of four forces in the universe: gravity, the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. Ockham would certainly nod approvingly at the ongoing attempt to formulate a grand unified theory, a single force that encompasses all four. <br />The ultimate irony of Ockham’s razor may be that some have used it to prove God is unnecessary to the explanation of the universe, an idea Ockham the Franciscan priest would reject.<br />9<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  14. 14. Thomas Hobbes (1588 – 1679): Political Philosopher<br />“The life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” <br />Referring to the original state of nature, a hypothetical past before civilization, Hobbes saw no reason to be nostalgic.<br />Thomas Hobbes saw Society as a giant machine (perpetually in motion), thus the title of his great work, The Leviathan, which is founded on Mechanics (the Motion of Bodies / Matter). In Leviathan, Hobbes argues that the natural state of man (without any civil government) is war, ... “the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. ... The condition of man ... is a condition of war of everyone against everyone.” (Hobbes, Leviathan)<br />According to Hobbes - Men, In pure self-interest and for self-preservation, entered into a compact by which they agreed to surrender part of their natural freedom to an absolute ruler in order to preserve the rest.<br />10<br />PHILOSOPHERS<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  15. 15. PHILOSOPHERS<br />René Descartes (1596 – 1650): Father of Modern Philosophy“<br />Work: A Discourse on Method Meditations and Principles<br />Descartes began his philosophy by doubting everything in order to figure out what he could know with absolute certainty. Although he could be wrong about what he was thinking, that he was thinking was undeniable.<br />“I think therefore I am” – “Cogito ergo sum”<br />“I think I exist as a material body and there are other material things including other thinking things (human)” <br />“one common space”<br />Upon the recognition that “I think,” Descartes concluded that “I am.” <br />On the heels of believing in him, Descartes asked, what am I? His answer: a thinking thing (res cogitans), as opposed to a physical thing, extended in three-dimensional space (res extensa). So, based on this line, Descartes knew he existed, though he wasn’t sure if he had a body. It’s a philosophical cliff-hanger.<br />11<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  16. 16. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Spinoza (1632 - 1677): Pantheism - work: EthicsFamous Philosopher - (Baruch) Benedictus de Spinoza <br />Metaphysics / One Infinite Substance (God, Nature, Space) & the Interconnected Motion of Matter &apos;Deus sive Natura&apos; (God or Nature) “.... we are a part of nature as a whole, whose order we follow.” (Ethics, 1673)<br />Baruch Spinoza was born in Amsterdam in 1632 into a Jewish family. He had a Jewish education, resisted orthodoxy and was later excommunicated of heresy and changed his name to Benedictus de Spinoza in 1656 . The Christians didn&apos;t think much of Spinoza either (though his whole philosophy is based on God) and the orthodox accused him of atheism. Due to such ill treatment and unpopularity, his main philosophical work &apos;Ethics&apos; was published posthumously.<br />12<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  17. 17. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Spinozalived a simple and noble life polishing lenses, displaying an indifference to money, fame and power. As Spinoza writes;<br />“A free man, who lives among ignorant people, tries as much as he can to refuse their benefits. .. He who lives under the guidance of reason endeavors as much as possible to repay his fellow’s hatred, rage, contempt, etc., with love and nobleness.” (Ethics).<br />“When a number of bodies of the same or different size are driven so together that they remain united one with the other, …those bodies are called reciprocally united bodies (corpora invicem unita), and we say that they all form one body or individual, which is distinguished from the rest by this union of the bodies.” (Ethics) <br />13<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  18. 18. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (1646 – 1716): Rationalist<br />“We live in the best of all possible worlds.” <br />Famous for his justification of evil and his ideas on substance. <br />Works: Discourse on Metaphysics, Monadology, Theodicy.<br />Voltaire’s famous novel Candide satirizes this optimistic view. And looking around you right now you may wonder how anyone could actually believe it. But Leibniz believed that before creation God contemplated every possible way the universe could be and chose to create the one in which we live because it’s the best.<br />According to Leibniz God could have created a universe in which no one ever did wrong, in which there was no human evil, but that would require humans to be deprived of the gift of free wills and thus would not be the best possible world.<br />14<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  19. 19. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Bishop George Berkeley (1685 – 1753): Idealist<br /> “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” <br />As an idealist,Berkeley believed that nothing is real but minds and their ideas. Ideas do not exist independently of minds. Through a complicated line of reasoning he concluded that “to be is to be perceived.” Something exists only if someone has the idea of it. <br />Though he never put the question in the exact words of the famous quotation, Berkeley would say that if a tree fell in the forest and there was no one (not even a squirrel) there to hear it, not only would it not make a sound, but there would be no tree. <br />The good news is, according to Berkeley, that the mind of God always perceives everything. So the tree will always make a sound, and there’s no need to worry about blipping out of existence if you fall asleep in a room by yourself.<br />15<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  20. 20. PHILOSOPHERS<br />David Hume (1711 - 76):Empiricist<br />The Philosopher David Hume is famous for making us realize that until we know the Necessary Connection / cause of things then all human knowledge is uncertain, merely a habit of thinking based upon repeated observation (induction), and which depends upon the future being like the past. <br />“I cannot find, I cannot imagine any such reasoning. But I keep my mind still open to instruction, if any one will vouchsafe to bestow it upon me.” <br /> (Hume, 1737) David Hume is one of the most elegant of the philosophers, so his quotes are well worth reading from a purely literary sense. <br />He is also one of the most important philosophers to write on metaphysics, as he makes it clear that until we know the causal connection between things all knowledge is empirical / inductive and thus uncertain (the current state of modern physics). <br />16<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  21. 21. PHILOSOPHERS<br /> Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): Famous Philosopher <br />KANT :Considered to be the greatest of the modern philosophers, his influence is all-pervasive in almost every area of philosophy. <br />Works: Critique of Pure Reason, Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals.<br />Famous metaphysicist throughout the history of philosophy, and there is no doubt that his &apos;Critique of Pure Reason&apos; is the most comprehensive analysis of Metaphysics since Aristotle&apos;s pioneering work which founded this subject.<br />Unfortunately for humanity, Kant made one small, and yet fundamental, mistake. Kant is correct that Space is a priori, or first necessary for us to have senses (which are a posteriori). His error is to assume that Time is also a priori or necessary for us to sense the motion of matter in Space. He writes:<br />“There are two pure forms of sensible intuition, as principles of knowledge a priori, namely space and time.”<br />17<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  22. 22. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Kant :<br />The solution to this error is to realize that the exact opposite is true, that Space considered in itself contains wave motions.<br />Consequently, the two pure forms of sensible intuition, as principles of knowledge a priori, are namely Space and Motion :<br />Space is a Wave-Medium and so contains within it a second thing, Wave Motion. Therefore we move from the Metaphysics of Space and Time to the Metaphysics of Space and Motion and finally unite these two things that give rise to all other things.<br />Fichte:Follower of Kant, one of the founders of nationalism.<br />18<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  23. 23. PHILOSOPHERS<br />G.W.F. Hegel (1770 – 1831): German Idealism<br />“The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.”meaning that philosophy comes to understand a historical condition just as it passes away. Philosophy cannot be prescriptive because it understands only in hindsight. <br />Hegel’s poetic insight says that philosophers are impotent. <br />That is only after the end of an age can philosophers realize what it was about; and by then it’s too late to change things.<br />Only after the end of an age can philosophers realize what it was about; and by then it’s too late to change things.<br />HEGEL: Argued that all history was progressing towards a perfect state of being. Works: Phenomenology of Spirit, the Philosophy of Right.<br />It wasn’t until the time of Immanuel Kant that the true nature of the Enlightenment was understood, and Kant did nothing to change the Enlightenment; he just consciously perpetuated it. <br />According to Hegel, all reality is Reason. The reality of Reason has a universal necessity. “Reason is the conscious certainty of being all reality.“(Hegel)<br />Marx(1818 – 1883) found Hegel’s apt description to be indicative of the problem with philosophy and responded, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world differently, what matters are to change it.”<br />19<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  24. 24. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855): Existentialism<br />Works: Either/or, Sickness unto Death, Fear and Trembling.<br />Kierkegaard: First major objector to Hegel considers being a founder of existentialism.<br />“The Truth shall set ye free, but first it shall make ye miserable.”<br />In a memorable scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy deduced that the final step across his treacherous path was a leap of faith. <br />“Who is also aware of the tremendous risk involved in faith – when he nevertheless makes the leap of faith – this [is] subjectivity … at its height”<br />There is a leap of faith in Kierkegaard&apos;s theory of stages of life, <br />The final stage, the religious stage, requires passionate, subjective belief rather than objective proof, in the paradoxical and the absurd. <br />So, what’s the absurd? That which Christianity asks us to accept as true, that God became man born of a virgin, suffered, died and was resurrected.<br />20<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  25. 25. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900): Postmodern Pilosophy<br />“God is dead.” <br />Actually, Nietzsche never issued this famous proclamation in his own voice but rather put the words in the mouth of a character he called the madman and later in the mouth of another character, Zarathustra. <br />NIETZSCHE: Mostly a moral philosopher, famously rejected traditional Christian and Jewish morality as &apos;slave morality&apos;. Works: Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil.<br />Though Nietzsche himself was an atheist. “Dead” is metaphorical in this context, meaning belief in the God of Christianity is worn out, past its prime, and on the decline. God is lost as the center of life and the source of values.<br />21<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  26. 26. PHILOSOPHERS<br />John Dewey(1859 – 1952): Pragmatism<br />American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been very influential. <br />Dewey, along with Charles senders Peirce and William James, is recognized as one of the founders of the philosophy of pragmatism and of functional psychology. He was a major representative of the progressive and progressive populist philosophies of schooling during the first half of the 20th century in the USA.<br />Dewey is known best for his publications concerning education, but also wrote about many other topics, including experience and nature, artand experience, logic and inquiry, democracy, and ethics. <br />In his advocacy of democracy, Dewey considered two fundamental elements—schools and civil society—as being major topics needing attention and reconstruction to encourage experimental intelligence and plurality. <br />Epistemology - Main article: knowing and the known<br />The terminology problem in epistemology and logic is partially due, to inefficient and imprecise use of words and concepts that reflect three historic levels of organization and presentation: self action, interaction and transaction.<br />22<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  27. 27. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Sartre, Jean-Paul (1905-1980): Famous French existentialist.<br />Works: Being and Nothingness.<br />Quotes: <br />Being and Nothingness (1943) - Its primary question is: “What is it like to be a human being?”<br />Sartre&apos;s answer is that human reality consists of two modes of existence: of being and of nothingness. The human being exists both as an in-itself (en-soi), an object or thing, and as a for-itself (pour-soi), a consciousness. <br />“The existence of an in-itself is &apos;opaque to itself … because it is filled with itself.&apos; In contrast, the for-itself, or consciousness, has no such fullness of existence, because it is no-thing.” Sartre sometimes describes consciousness of things as a kind of nausea produced by recognition of the contingency of their existence and the realization that this constitutes Absurdity.<br />23<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  28. 28. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Albert Camus (1913 – 1960): Existentialism - Philosopher of the Absurd - Works: The Plague, TheRebel , The Myth of Sisyphus, etc.<br />“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” <br />Camussolution to the philosophical problem was to recognize and embrace life’s absurdity. Suicide, though, remains an option if the absurdity becomes too much. Indeed Camus’ own death in a car crash was ambiguous. Was it an accident or suicide? <br />For Camus, the absurd hero is Sisyphus, a man from Greek mythology who is condemned by the gods for eternity to roll up a stone up a hill only to have it fall back again as it reaches the top. For Camus, Sisyphus typified all human beings: we must find a meaning in a world that is unresponsive or even hostile to us. <br />Sisyphus,Camus believed, affirms life, choosing to go back down the hill and push the rock again each time. Camus wrote: “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”<br />There are more recent important philosophers, like Rawls, Nozick, Searle, Singer, and so on, but it&apos;s too early to tell if they belong on this list yet.<br />24<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  29. 29. PHILOSOPHERS<br />In conclusion, here are some philosophy terms:<br />Epistemology: The philosophy of knowledge.<br />Ethics:Branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such <br />Metaphysics: Meta means above; this is the study of the nature of things above physics.<br />Aesthetics:The philosophy of art. Concerned with questions like why do we find certain things beautiful …<br />Philosophy of Education:experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character, or physical ability of an individual.<br />Philosophy of History: Fairly minor branch although highly important to Hegel and those who followed him, most notably Marx. It is the philosophical study of history.<br />25<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  30. 30. PHILOSOPHERS<br />Philosophy of Language: Ancient branch of philosophy. Basically concerned with how our languages affect our thought.<br />Philosophy of Law, also called Jurisprudence: Collection of rules imposed by authority. <br />Logic:The study of the proper methods of thinking and reasoning. <br />Philosophy of Mathematics: Study of mathematics concerned with issues such as, is mathematics real or created by us.<br />Philosophy of Mind:attempting to ascertain exactly what the mind is, how it interacts with our body, do other minds exist, how does it work, and so on. <br />Philosophy of History:Fairly minor branch although highly important to Hegel and those who followed him, most notably Marx. It is the philosophical study of history.<br />Philosophy of Politics: Closely related to ethics, this is a study of government and nations, particularly how they came about, what makes good governments, what obligations citizens have towards their government, and so on.<br />Philosophy of Religion: Theology is concerned with the study of God. Philosophy of religion is concerned with best religious practices and how religion shape our life, but where Theology uses religious works, like the Bible, as its authority, philosophy likes to use reason as the ultimate authority.<br />Philosophy of Science: Study of science concerned with whether scientific knowledge can be said to be certain, how we obtain it.<br />26<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />
  31. 31. PHILOSOPHERS<br />27<br />Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary - Riquette Mory<br />10/4/2009<br />Plato<br />Aristotle<br />The thoughts of these two great philosophers were the base of later philosophies<br />