Homer and the Presocratics

Topics: Pre-Socratic philosophy, Philosophy, Pythagoras Pages: 5 (1574 words) Published: September 20, 2013
PHIL 171
19 September 2013

Homer and the Presocratics

Throughout time, philosophy and it's philosophers have evolved and changed. Just like anything else in the world, it started off as just a mere thought. Philosophy is the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence. Everyone throughout history has had a different view on things, though. Homer and the Presocratics weren't any different. They, like many others, had differences in the way they thought about life and how things came to be, and why.

The poets thought of everything in the sense that there was a God or Goddess for everything, and they were responsible for the things that happened in life. Whether they were good or bad, a God/dess was behind it, and they did it on a whim. Whenever the higher being felt the need to do something, they would do it. Though the Gods did things on impulse, they were still influenced by others, especially by the Hands of Fate. Our class notes state, “Fate is something like the random working of nature which affects everything.” It does not matter who it is, or what it is, Fate touches all and influences everything in existence.

Another belief is that, “Homer’s work communicates that man is a being of both mind and body.” (Western Culture Global) Meaning that man has both an inner and outer strength, alone with the fact that he must live up to his true nature. The inner strength simply means that man must use his intelligence and the virtue of his mind. Outer strength means that they must fight for what they believe in, to achieve the greatness that they are destined to have. But not only does his worldview's give light to those around him, it also had error to it. “[...] the fatalism and helplessness he expresses — that a person only succeeds if and when forces largely beyond his control, i.e., the gods, are on his side -- would become a commonly held sentiment in Ancient Greece and Rome which would ultimately do much cultural harm.” (Western Culture Global) But even so, Homer's views were more for entertainment purposes. It began to influence people into learning out to read and write and think.

Homer also believed in other things, such as true virtue. He believed that true virtue was shown through acts performed by the warrior-hero. The virtue was an all-around cultivated person, someone who is 'brave, noble, strong, powerful, wealthy, intelligent, moderate'. The warrior-hero preserved his family's and his self honor because it was a moral duty. Homer wrote stories of a hero named Odysseus, who made the Gods look weak and feeble. Western Culture Global states that “they have the same foibles as mortal man, and when compared to a Homeric hero such as Odysseus, they are even morally inferior.” (Western Culture Global) The result of Homer's beliefs was the birth of philosophy, science, history, drama, and many others.

Along with Homer, there was a man named Hesiod, who was a contemporary of Homer. His beliefs were a lot like Homer's. He believed that occurrences in nature were caused by the Gods. Though, he did believe that some of those occurrences were purely random happenings. He also believed in a creation myth, or Theogany. Gaia and Ouranos were created first, Cronos was created secondly, and many of the other Gods followed suite. Zeus assumed control and power over any of the other Gods. It was said that the Gods could also have children with morals, thus creating demi-gods. Zeus was known to frequently go after human females, and incidentally impregnating them. Hesiod also believes that the highest good was doing your job well, even if you were something as low as a farmer.

But as more and more people begin to start thinking about existence and reality, the Presocratics came along. The Presocratics were before Socrates, and began to think that the world had it's own ordered system. They all had one major question.”What is the Ultimate force or substance that governs nature.” Each of the philosophers...
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