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Session 4 – History of Philosophy Pt.1 In this session (and the following) we will be briefly looking at the history of philosophy The goal of these two.

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Presentation on theme: "Session 4 – History of Philosophy Pt.1 In this session (and the following) we will be briefly looking at the history of philosophy The goal of these two."— Presentation transcript:

1 Session 4 – History of Philosophy Pt.1 In this session (and the following) we will be briefly looking at the history of philosophy The goal of these two sessions is for you to have an understanding of the types of ideas that have gone around in philosophy over the years, and how they effect some people’s thinking today

2 When we look at the history of philosophy, we will not be focusing too much on the authors of the Bible (I could argue many of them were philosophers in the normal sense of the word ) We will look at famous philosophers throughout the past few thousand years, and the ideas that they have (some very relevant to apologetics, some not as much)

3 Understand, we have nowhere near enough time in these two sessions to cover (even in minor detail) all the “great” (famous) philosophers in history This is a topic that you could spend countless years studying and reading the writings of these different men

4 Also keep in mind many people who founded religions are considered to be philosophers, but we will address their ideas in other classes when we address the religion they founded We will start with ancient philosophers and chronologically work our way forward


6 Historically, the first group of philosophers are called the pre-Socratic's (-600 B.C. -450 B.C.): Pre-Socratic philosophy. The most famous of these philosophers are people like: Empedocles Zeno Parmenides Pythagoras

7 Empedocles Empedocles is the source of the Classical idea that the universe is composed of four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. Lived around 490 – c. 430 BC, he was a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek city in Sicily Those ideas have seeped into different belief systems down through history

8 He believed that is was impossible for anything to come into existence out of nothing (ex-nihilo), or for existing things to go into nothing Part of this belief in the continuation of existence was his firm belief in reincarnation. He believed that all change was brought about by the mixing of those four elements.

9 Understand, many of the opinions that people had at this time are going to be abandoned (by the vast majority) due to advancements in science He was correct in that things are not created or destroyed (1 st law of thermodynamics) - but was wrong in what was the foundation of everything

10 Zeno of Elea We know of Zeno because his writings were discussed by Aristotle and is featured in a dialogue of Plato. Lived 490 – c. 430 BC Greek philosopher of Magna Graecia (southern Italy) and a member of the Eleatic School founded by Parmenides. We know very little of Zeno himself

11 Using a tale of a race between Achilles and a slow runner (sometimes given as a tortoise) Zeno proves the impossibility of motion. Zeno is most well know for his paradoxes that kept people thinking for thousands of years It impossible to transverse through infinity, so therefore motion isn’t possible

12 His ideas make some people today doubt that reality is trustworthy His paradox is now explained (easily) through modern day advancements in physics, by something called a Planck length (and for other paradoxes, something called Planck time) It’s small (1.61619926 × 10 -35 meters) but you can’t divide it any more

13 Parmenides of Elea This poem tells of Parmenides journey to visit a Goddess in search of wisdom. What we possess is fragmentary but is sufficient to judge Parmenides’ thinking. Lived 515 B.C. – 460 B.C. in Magna Graecia (the same place as Zeno) Parmenides was respected in his own time as a teacher and appears to have authored only one work, a poem “On Nature”.

14 Parmenides believed that the whole universe, all that exists, is timeless and unified. In his view, change was impossible. His ideas had some logical basis and have proved influential. Since we can sense that things are changing all the time, yet logically prove that change is impossible we must find a way to justify this apparent clash of world views. (same ideas as Zeno)

15 Pythagoras Lived 570 – c. 495 BC founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism Most of the information about Pythagoras was written down centuries after he lived, so very little reliable information is known about him

16 Pythagoras is probably the best known of any of the names on this list. He is most known for his mathematical theorem (which was known in part by the Egyptians when it came to right triangles with sides 3 and 4) What probably happened is that Pythagoras took this special case and worked out a theory which worked on all right angled triangles.

17 Around this same time we have the founders of many religions/philosophies The Buddha lives around this time Confucius and Lao Tzu also live right around this time, and two of the major philosophies/religions in China are started by them (Taoism and Confusciousism) That being said, back to other philosophers

18 Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle: The Big Three in Greek Philosophy The Athenians Socrates (470-399) was the son of a sculptor and a midwife, and served with distinction in the Athenian army during Athens’ clash with Sparta.

19 Plato called him “the wisest, and justest, and best of all men whom I have ever known” He was not very well groomed, and enjoyed wine and conversation Socrates looked at philosophy (the love of wisdom) as a holy quest, a search everyone should be on, the search for truth We actually don’t have any writings by him (only what Plato tells us)

20 He suggested that everything everyone does is good, because to that person it is good. There isn’t an ultimate standard by which we compare these things to The Socratic method is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.

21 Plato (437-347) was Socrates’ prized student. From a wealthy and powerful family, his actual name was Aristocles -- Plato was a nickname Joined Socrates at age 20 He wandered around mourning after Socrates died, and was captured by pirates

22 Because of this the money was given to Plato to purchase a property called Academus to start a school (The Academy) which was founded in 386 B.C. A friend of his raised money to buy his freedom, but he was eventually released without ransom

23 Plato’s view is that there are two realities In one reality we have ontos, idea or ideal This is ultimate reality, permanent, eternal, spiritual, etc. This is the greater reality On the other side (lesser reality) there’s phenomena, which is the manifestation of that ideal. It’s how things seem to us

24 The phenomena are illustrations which do not last. They are inferior to ideals. For example: the idea of a triangle, the definition mathematically, the essence of what it is, is eternal. On day to day experience though you never have a perfect triangle (it might be crooked, one line thicker than another, etc.) We do not experience true reality, we experience a less part of it

25 According to Plato your senses only can sense the phenomenal world It takes reason to go straight to the idea itself, pass the phenomenon Plato applies the same thinking to human beings: There’s the body, which is material, mortal, and “moved”. Then there’s the soul, which is ideal, immortal, and “unmoved”

26 Aristotle Aristotle lived (384-322) and was Plato's best student. He went on to become the very well- paid tutor of Alexander the Great — probably the highest paid philosopher in history.

27 Nicomachus, Aristotle's father, was court physician to King Amyntas III of Macedon. He joined Plato in 367 B.C. and stayed with him until Plato’s death. He left the Academy in Athens when he was bypassed in the election of the next president From there he left Athens for a time period (and much happened as he travelled around)

28 After tutoring the young Alexander, and after Alexander took the throne, Aristotle returned to Athens to found his own school, the Lyceum, in 355 He received money from his former student, and the Lyceum was under Macedonian protection, which allowed him to pursue many areas in science and philosophy. He also developed course studies much like what we have in America

29 The good environment doesn’t last forever Alexander eventually dies, and Macedonian protection is withdrawn from his school. Aristotle was charged with impiety by his enemies, but he fled before they could kill him (saying he won’t let Athenians commit another sin against a philosopher, because they killed Socrates). Despite fleeing, he died the following year at age sixty-two

30 One notable contribution by Aristotle to Philosophy was the category of Logic While many of the ideas of logic were studied prior to him, he introduced it as a discipline of philosophy, and gave us many of the logical fallacies (and names for them) that we have today


32 In this time gap the largest religion in the World has it’s founding (Christianity) We could certainly speak of people like Jesus or Paul being philosophers, but we will study what they believed in theology Many people in the early church will be considered philosophers too, one of them though will stick out (even in the secular world )

33 November 13, 354 - August 28, 430 A.D. Augustine of Hippo He was a leader in the North African Church Augustine might be the most pivotal theologian in church history We look at Augustine in detail in our Early Church History class

34 After a few hundred years, along comes the founder of another major world religion Muhammad (born in A.D. 570) The resultant religion of Islam would heavily influence the philosophical mindset of those in areas it dominated (and still dominates today) We have a class that looks at him in detail as well.


36 Two famous Christian/Catholic philosophers and theologian lives during this time Anselm He’s the guy who originates the ontological argument for God’s existence Thomas Aquinas Thomas embraced several ideas put forward by Aristotle — whom he referred to as "the Philosopher"


38 We reach the reformation period with theologians and philosophers like Martin Luther, John Calvin, etc. We are around the time of the Copernican revolution and the time of famous scientists like Galileo, Kepler, Brahe, Pascal etc. This is where tons of philosophers start to come onto the scenes


40 Memory Verse 1 Corinthians 2:13: “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”

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