Summary of Chapter 2
“THE GREEK PHILOSOPHY: SOCRATES, PLATO AND ARISTOTLE”
There are many different philosophers who appear during the fifth century one of this were the Sophist came from the greek word sophisma and sphizo meaning “I am wise”, their philosophy influenced Greece that led to democracy. The Sophist moves in public and can convinced the citizen in a milieu of rhetoric. They are more on politics and paideia that is a formal instruction. There are many sophists like Hippias, Prodicus and the most significant Protagoras and Gorgias.
Protagoras he came from Abdera and influenced Athens. He is more on grammar and language, a Rhetorician and knowledge about Gods. He is known for his line “Man is the measure of all things, of course that are, that they are; and of those that are not, that they are not.” He speaks things opposed to being and of doxa or the opinion of mortals. Gorgias a great Greek orator was from Leontini in Sicily. His book “On Non-being” discusses the sophist dependency on the Eleatic’s entity and verified that there is no entity. Philosophy loses its truth from rhetoric’s. It is up to Socrates to place it on new bases and what Aristotle and Plato need no to accomplish.
Socrates was against the sophist. Socrates believed that “genuis” diamonion or familiar spirit guide him at critical time. This is like a divine voice of a God that tells him what to do. “know yourself” or reflect says Socrates. For him arete, virtue (deepest and most basic propensity of man, that for which he has actually born.) is Knowledge a man needs to know what right and wrong thus a an can control himself with knowledge. He always asks questions to anyone but they don’t know the answers and don’t know their ignorance, because of this they accuse plato “for introducing new gods and corrupting the youth” and was sen to trial. His knowledge and philosophy caused his life at an early age but he gained a lot students and followers one them was Plato.
Plato was born in Athens. He is the student of Socrates and the death of his master led him to be interested in political themes and to his theory of the state. He founded the school of philosophy called academy for its property is dedicated to the hero academus. Plato chose the dialogue genre of writing in expressing his thoughts and because it is related to his dialectic as a philosophic method. Socrates was the principal character on most of Plato’s dialogues. Some of Plato’s dialogues were the Apology, the Crito, the Euthyphro (Socratic teachings); Protagoras, the Gorgias, the Euthydemus, on the sophist (important dialogues); the Phaedo (immortality of the soul); Symposium, Banquet (love); the Phaedrus (theory of the soul); the Republic (justice and concept of the state); the Thaestetus; and the Parmenides(most important platonic writing). The Allegory of the Cave is one of Greek philosopher Plato’s most well-known works, found in the Republic. It is an extended story, myth or tale, where humans are beings imprisoned by their bodies and what their perception of things by sight only. In the Allegory of the Cave Plato plays with the concept of what would happen if people suddenly face the light of the sun, and perceived “true” reality. Plato also created a Simile of the line which can be found also in the Republic. The line reveals the hierarchical nature of the forms. He defined forms as the eternal truths that are source of all reality. That reality is founded upon the Good as the source of all knowledge, Plato named the sun as the “god” and the seed of good, so for religious thinkers the good is similar with god. The line shows that plato deeply influenced the establishment of different religion like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In the dialogue called meno, plato concluded that the truth come from the soul and we are born with it. For his political philosophy, an ideal city is the same with the three aspects of the individual’s psyche the appetitive, animal side and the spirited source of action. The ideal city has three classes the workers and the artisan, the soldiers and the rulers. The rulers should be philosophers for they only want what will be good and will not be corrupt. For Plato art is erotic or violent or both. An artist is guilty of the crimes: fraudulence (deceitfulness), ignorance and immortality. Plato’s simile of the line was the foundation of western metaphysical thoughts. He had influenced many philosophers specially his student Aristotle.
Aristotle was the student of Plato, he was a Macedonian influenced by Greek civilization and his father was Nicomachus. He wrote two books the exoteric and the esoteric. The exoteric works was for wide audience and admired for its elegant style and literary value, while the esoteric was his philosophical and acroamatic works and was directed for the student of his founded school the Lyceum. The three groups of science for Aristotle are the theoretical science (mathematics, physics, and metaphysics), the practical science (ethics, politics, and economics) and the poetical science (poetics and rhetorics). Potesis (poetry) means production or manufacture, this production has an end goal. Praxis or practical science is an activity whose goal is the action itself, theoria is a type of praxis. There is only one world for Aristotle, different from his master Plato’s beliefs, that there are two worlds. There was a problem about motion and change and to answer this Aristotle shared his own solution, that there should be a distinction draw between forms and matter. Forms are not separate entities, that an object can be called an object if it has both matter and form like asking “what something is”. The matter is the thing that makes an object unique it is like the composition of the object. They may have the same form but different composition. The essence can’t be detached from the substance. Aristotle’s pluralism is contrary to plato’s dualism, he reinterpreted matters and forms as potentiality and actuality and become the theory of change, to explain this theory he used an acorn as an example, the acorn has the potentiality to be an oak tree (is the actuality). Form is an operating cause that is teleological (goal-oriented) system. He inspect all the substances in four causes, material cause, which explains what something is made of; formal cause, which explains the form or pattern to which a thing corresponds; efficient cause, which is what we ordinarily mean by “cause,” the original source of the change; and final cause, which is the intended purpose of the change. For a thing to work out there must be a goal. The god for Aristotle is an entity called Prime mover, this is god is nonanthropomorphic, it is the cause of the universe and the only thing that does not change for it is the only perfect thing. Like narcissism from the name of Narcissus who was so engross with his beauty that he stared at his image until he died. Aristotle’s moral philosophy that shows his teleological metaphysics appeared in the Nichomachean ethics. He noted that action have purposes, which he defined good. That all are action are for our happiness. For Socrates his arete or virtue is knowledge , for Aristotle there are two it is intellectual (from education, inheritance) and moral (through imitation, practice and habit). His state’s goal should be to maximize the happiness for its citizens. There are three forms of state the monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. For Aristotle monarchy is the best, that one person with excellent political skills can rule and will care for the wellbeing of the citizens.
DOLOR, Anna Graciella I. September 5, 2012 BSPT 1 B-2 PHILO-19 Sir. Dino Cabrera
Summary of Chapter 3:
“THE HELLENISTIC AND ROMAN PERIODS”
The death of Aristotle was the start of the Hellenistic era, it is the period where Greece was devastated, in a plague, has political problems and has fallen under the Macedonian empire. After the death of Alexander the great, Greece was devoured by the Roman Empire. The philosophical views of Aristotle and Plato had become explicitly metaphysics and mere ethical speculation. Philosophies like Epicureanism and Stoicism began to be known in Rome.
Socratic thought continued during the Hellenistic period through the Cynics and Cyrenaic philosophy. The cynics was founded by Anthistheses a pupil of Socrates , the cynics comes from the word Cynosarges or “nimble dog”. Their focus is about Socrates eudaimonia or happiness, and its negative points. They describe happiness as autarchia (self-sufficiency), to be happy one must get what he needs or his necessities, he is there for materialistic. The opposite of this is becoming a beggar. In the cynics a man are cosmopolites a citizen of the world and unconcerned with family and country. The second is the Cyrenaic, it was founded by Aristippus, it is similar to Cynic school, but their focus is on pleasure, one must not be controlled and act by pleasure, but be able to be the master of himself to be wise.
The Epicureanism philosophy was founded by Epicurus. Happiness is equal to pleasure, and pleasure is a desire. There are two kinds of desire, natural and vain. Natural desire are divided into two, the necessary (desire for food and sleep) and unnecessary (desire for sex), wile the vain desire are the desires with consequences. For Epicurus pleasure is negative. Pleasure is no pain at all. Thonatos is the death instinct; we shouldn’t fear death because when we die we wouldn’t exist.
The stoic school was founded by Zeno, their teaching are about the wellbeing of humans, achieving perfection. And to achieve perfection or blessedness one must not be controlled by his emotion and pleasure. A wise man is an ascete who has transcended the passion that create a disorderly condition in the soul. Actions must be equal to the divine reality to be free.
After the stoics comes the Neo-Platonism, founded by Plotinus, his student Porphyry collected his 9 books and was called Enneads. Plotinus Defined God as The one. To know the truth we must unite with the one. The one is the only truth. Neo-Platonism was the one handed down to medieval world.