Greek Philosophy and the Hellenistic World


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Greek Philosophy and the Hellenistic World

  1. 1. Greek Philosophy and the Hellenistic World
  2. 2. Philosophical v. Mythological Perspectives <ul><li>Mythological: </li></ul><ul><li>Particular </li></ul><ul><li>Ad hoc </li></ul><ul><li>Deification of nature </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophical: </li></ul><ul><li>General </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent </li></ul><ul><li>Reification of supernature </li></ul>Philosophy is the intellectual project of questioning accepted ideas and requiring that reason and evidence be the criteria for belief. The Greeks are largely responsible for its forms.
  3. 3. Xenophanes on the Gods <ul><li>“ The Ethiops say that their gods are flat-nosed and black,while the Thracians say that theirs have blue eyes and red hair. Yet if cattle or horses or lions had hands and could draw, and could sculpture like men, then the horses would draw their gods like horses, and cattle like cattle; and each they would shape bodies of gods in the likeness, each kind, of their own.” </li></ul>
  4. 4. Pre-Socratic Philosophy: the Milesians <ul><li>First principles and foundationalism </li></ul><ul><li>The phusikoi and the “one big question” </li></ul><ul><li>Thales of Miletus (6 th c. BC): water </li></ul><ul><li>Anaximander: the infinite </li></ul><ul><li>Anaximenes: the mist </li></ul>
  5. 5. Pre-Socratic Philosophy: Pythagoras <ul><li>The Pythagorean brotherhood </li></ul><ul><li>The Harmony of the Spheres </li></ul><ul><li>Justice is four, marriage is five </li></ul><ul><li>π and the importance of secrecy </li></ul>
  6. 6. Pre-Socratic Philosophy: Change and Continuity <ul><li>Heraclitus and the world of flux </li></ul><ul><li>The Eleatics: Parmenides </li></ul><ul><li>Zeno’s paradox of motion </li></ul><ul><li>Atomism: Empedocles and Democritus </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Sophists <ul><li>Herodotus: History and cultural relativism </li></ul><ul><li>Protagoras: “Man is the measure of all things” </li></ul><ul><li>Philosophy for hire </li></ul><ul><li>Ancient post-modernism? </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Sophists v. Socrates <ul><li>Sophists: </li></ul><ul><li>Believed in paid teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Taught Rhetoric </li></ul><ul><li>Sought to mold opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Favored democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Socrates: </li></ul><ul><li>Believed in free instruction </li></ul><ul><li>Taught dialectic </li></ul><ul><li>Sought knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Suspicious of democracy (preferred aristocracy) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Socrates <ul><li>“ the Gadfly” </li></ul><ul><li>The virtues of knowing nothing </li></ul><ul><li>The Socratic dialogue </li></ul><ul><li>Socrates’ Trial (399 BC ) </li></ul><ul><li>The Apology </li></ul>
  10. 10. Plato <ul><li>the Academy </li></ul><ul><li>The pharmakon </li></ul><ul><li>Idealism and the Forms </li></ul><ul><li>The Republic </li></ul><ul><li>Guardians, Auxiliaries, masses </li></ul>
  11. 11. Aristotle <ul><li>Deduction and induction </li></ul><ul><li>Linguistic analysis and the categories </li></ul><ul><li>Teleology </li></ul><ul><li>The Nichomachean Ethics and phronesis </li></ul>
  12. 12. Plato v. Aristotle <ul><li>Plato: </li></ul><ul><li>Being </li></ul><ul><li>Math </li></ul><ul><li>Forms </li></ul><ul><li>Extremism </li></ul><ul><li>Aristotle: </li></ul><ul><li>Becoming </li></ul><ul><li>Biology </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Golden Mean </li></ul>Concern Subject Method Nature of the Good
  13. 13. Phillip and Alexander <ul><li>The Battle of Chaeronae and the Corinthian League </li></ul><ul><li>Alexander and the Conquest of Persia </li></ul><ul><li>The Alexandrias </li></ul><ul><li>“ Asiatic Despotism” </li></ul><ul><li>The End of the World </li></ul><ul><li>An Empire Divided </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Hellenistic Kingdoms
  15. 15. The Hellenistic Age <ul><li>Diffusion of Greek culture </li></ul><ul><li>Fusion of east and west </li></ul><ul><li>Cosmopolitanism </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lingua franca </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ptolemaic currency </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scientific Culture </li></ul>
  16. 16. Hellenistic Philosophy <ul><li>Ataraxia </li></ul><ul><li>Universalism </li></ul><ul><li>Individualism </li></ul><ul><li>Diogenes the Cosmopolite and the Cynics </li></ul><ul><li>Skepticism </li></ul><ul><li>Stoicism </li></ul><ul><li>Epicureanism </li></ul>
  17. 17. Mystery Religions <ul><li>Mysterion </li></ul><ul><li>Ekstasis and enthusiasmus </li></ul><ul><li>Dionysos worship </li></ul><ul><li>The Cult of Cybele </li></ul><ul><li>The Mysteries of Isis </li></ul><ul><li>The Trials of Mithras </li></ul>
  18. 18. Summary <ul><li>The Hellenic and Hellenistic eras were times of great intellectual ferment. Philosophy attempted to provide knowledge and perspective on the nature of humanity and the universe, though it often produced as many questions as it answered. The replacement of a highly localized, communal form of life associated with the classical polis with a cosmopolitan despotism prompted a shift in philosophical ideals towards a higher degree of individualism and disengagement. These cultural forms would be imported by the next emerging Mediterranean power, Rome. </li></ul>