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Ancient Greek Philosophy

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Presentation on theme: "Ancient Greek Philosophy"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ancient Greek Philosophy

2 Philosophers Socrates, 469-399 Plato, 428-347 Aristotle, 384-322
Believed that one arrives at the truth by questioning the assumptions on which all things are based Plato, Student of Socrates Aristotle, Student of Plato “THE” philosopher by Medievalists

3 Greek Philosophy & Its Origins
Philosophy = love of wisdom Mesopotamians and Egyptians contemplated how the natural world around them worked Early Greeks (time of Homer, c.800 BCE) used mythological stories to explain the natural world 7th Century BCE – Greeks looked for new, more practical explanations

4 Socrates ( BCE) What little we know comes from his students, Plato and Xenophon, and his enemy, Aristophanes Humble birth Wrote nothing down Founded no formal school – taught in the agora Believed material things would not bring happiness Died for his principles

5 Socratic Philosophers

6 So Many Questions… What should we do? (i.e. how should we behave)
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of happiness? Is perfection possible? What constitutes the good or just life? What is virtue? How should a man best conduct his life?

7 Exercise For each statement ask as many follow up questions as you can with your table group. Record questions that were brainstormed Statement #1 – Only people over the age of 21 should be allowed to drink Statement #2 – The United States should abolish the sale of firearms to the public

8 Socratic Method Method of elenchus (i.e. rigorous questioning technique) Designed to “sting” people into realizing their own ignorance Provoke genuine intellectual curiosity True knowledge gained only by constantly questioning assumptions that underly all we do To achieve truth is to engage in a permanent state of critical thinking

9 Socratic Method Example
Q: So you think that the gods know everything/ A: Yes, because they are gods. Q: Do some gods disagree with others? A: Yes, of course they do. They are always fighting. Q: So gods disagree about what is true and right? A: I suppose they must do. Q: So some gods can be wrong sometimes? A: I suppose that is true. THEREFORE the gods cannot know everything!

10 The only life worth living is a good life.
‘Good’ and ‘evil’ are not relative; they are absolutes that can only be found by a process of questioning and reasoning. I can only live a good life if I really know what ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are. An unquestioning life is one of ignorance without morality. In this way, morality and knowledge are bound together. The life which is unexamined is not worth living.

11 Socrates’ End Alcibiades, Socrates’ pupil, betrayed fellow Athenians by defecting to Sparta in Peloponnesian War Socrates scapegoated by Alcibiades’ actions, accused of “not believing in the gods” and “corrupting the youth” Tried and sentenced to death Refused to plead for lesser punishment Wanted his punishment to be free meals for the rest of his life This was usually only given to state heroes Forced to drink poison hemlock and died


13 Legacy Socrates used the claim of wisdom as his moral basis
Chief goodness consists in the caring of the soul concerned with moral truth and understanding “Wealth does not bring goodness, but goodness brings wealth and every other blessing, both to the individual and to the state” “Life without examination (dialogue) is not worth living” “I am a citizen, not of Athens or of Greece, but of the world” “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance” He would want you to evaluate society and your own life regularly!

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