Published on March 4, 2014
PHL 215 Week One
What is this?
Why Greece? 1. No Priestly class censuring everything 2. After great tales like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, they had great imaginations (also “theater” – Ten Greek Plays) 3. True seasons made them aware of change 4. An awareness to the point of pessimism (Palmer, 1988)
Did it start with an eclipse? • It was May 28, 585 BCE – The sun grew dark! – Thales may not have actually predicted the eclipse, but did set the solstices and the seasons – Wrote book on eclipses and other things. – May have taught the earth was round ( O’Grady, 2004) • Four primary elements: Water, Fire, Air, and Earth • Old Gods no longer involved. • If change occurs, and it does, there must be one thing that changes more – Must be water (water, steam, ice, deltas, wind) – Either way, there was one ultimate substance (Palmer, 1988)
What else was going on? • In the East – Lao Tzu (ca. 600 BCE) – Confucius (551-479 BCE) – Buddha (563-483 BCE) • In the Middle East – Around 369 BCE second temple started (Ezra and Nehemiah) – Zoroaster (ca 600 BCE)
What’s it all about? • What is the nature of reality? • What is the nature of change?
More Pre-Socratics Anaximander (c 610-546) • If water, then all would have returned to water • Must be something else, not a primary element • Must be some unlimited but indeterminate stuff • But, this is no better than nothing and nothing means the search continued. Anaximenes (c.545) • Condensation and rarefaction • Must be air, between the two These three = The Milesians – First school Core of Western thinking: • Must be simple explanations • Natural, non religious explanations • Use observation to support ideas • One, primary substance.
More Pre-Socratics • Pythagoras (572-500) – Human beans – Music of the spheres – Numbers rule! a2 + b2 = c2 • Heraclitus (C. 470) – Element is fire, but reality is not things, but a process of birth and death – “Can’t step in the same river twice” “everything changes but change itself – very pessimistic – There is, though, a logic controlling all
More Pre-Socratics: Change? What change? • Parmenides (c. 515-c. 440) – Can’t step in the same river once – Being is and cannot be where being is not – Motion involves being going from where it is to where it is not, thus impossible • Zeno (c 490) – Reductio ad absurdum – Can’t get there from here. – Achilles and a Tortoise – Just can’t trust the senses and may challenge to monism
More Pre-Socratics • Pluralists – more than one thing? • Empedocles ( - c.440) – Still 4 elements (roots), but needed to explain force behind change – Love and Strife (later adopted by Freud – Eros and Thanos) – Love = unity / strife = destruction – First theory of evolution – things destroyed can come back together as monsters – survival of those who could. • Anaxagoras (c. 500 – C.428) – Not roots, but infinite seeds – All objects contain some of all seeds, but one kind predominates – Held together by nous, some intelligent order
Forces anyone? http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/forces/funfor.html
More Pre-Socratics • Leucippus (C 460 to ?) and Democritus (C. 460 – C. 370) – All composed of “atoms” – Indivisible stuff – These things are indestructible and move about in empty space. – Hard core determinism. – Nothing exists but material things and there is no freedom • Huge shift in cultural thinking from God ruled to something else and – Shift in political climates as aristocracy gave way to merchants – Birth of democracy
Sophists - Rhetoric • Protagoras (ca 490 – ca. 422) – Man is the measure of all things – relative to human subjectivity • Gorgias (Ca. 483-375) – “there is nothing; If there was anything, no one could know it.; and if anyone did know it, no one could communicate it” (Palmer, 1988, p. 45) – Proved nothing can be proved • Callicles – morality is weak shackling the strong • Critias- clever rulers trick the weak through fear of gods • Thrasymachus – might makes right.
Enter Plato (Socrates) • Socrates (469-399 BCE) – Character or person? – Wisest man alive, so says the Oracle – Liked to ask questions he could not answer – Death on a 280 to 220 vote • Enter Plato (427-347 BCE) – Started The Academy – Teacher to Aristotle – Otherworldly
The cave • Watch this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTWwY8O k5I0 • and in teams Read and answer: – Who are the prisoners? – What is the light? – Why would those who remained try to kill the enlightened one? – What does that mean for reality?
Plato’s FORMS Chair
Plato’s Simile of the line Pure reason The FORMS Understanding Concepts Belief Particular Objects KNOWLEDGE OPINION Conjecture Epistemology (what can be known) Images The Intelligible World The visible world Ontology (what is real)
Oh, no you didn’t • • • • • Aristotle (384-322 BCE) Plato’s student Alexander the Great’s tutor for a while Founded The Lyceum Very different ideas of reality and knowledge
Aristotle’s Forms • Changing things are not changing because they are poor imitations of what is unchanging • Difference between form and matter however – Separated only in thought – They are IN the world – Form (whatness) + matter (thisness) = Object in real world
Aristotle’s Causes • Material Cause – The stuff a thing is made of – Clay • Formal Cause – Essence, form, what it “wants” to be – A pot (mind of potter, or in the object) • Efficient Cause – Change causing force – Potter’s hands • Final Cause – Ultimate purpose – Antique Road show
So, what is real? The great dichotomy • • • • • Plato/Socrates Other worldly Knowing is remembering Mystical forces at work Just seems to go on • • • • • Aristotle This worldly Explainable forces Prime mover Teleological – goal oriented
So? • Of what is ultimate reality composed? • What can be known and how can we know it? • Whose values are better? • Does it all add up?
References • O’Grady, P. (2004). Thales of Miletus. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from the IEP, http://www.iep.utm.edu/thales/ • Palmer, D. (1988). Looking at philosophy: The unbearable heaviness of philosophy made lighter. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Pub. Co.
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