Ancient philosophy

Further information: Ancient philosophy Ionia, source of early Greek philosophy, in western Asia Minor Western Philosophy is generally said to begin in the Greek cities of western Asia Minor (Ionia) with Thales of Miletus, who was active around 585 B.C. and left us the opaque dictum, "all is water." His most noted students were Anaximenes of Miletus ("all is air") and Anaximander (all is apeiron). Other thinkers and schools appeared throughout Greece over the next couple of centuries. Among the most important were Heraclitus ("all is fire", all is chaotic and transitory), Anaxagoras (reality is so ordered that it must be in all respects governed by mind), the Pluralists and Atomists (the world is composite of innumerable interacting parts), the Eleatics Parmenides and Zeno (all is One and change is impossible), the Sophists (became known, perhaps unjustly, for claiming that truth was no more than opinion and for teaching people to argue fallaciously to prove whatever conclusions they wished). This whole movement gradually became more concentrated in Athens, which had become the dominant city-state in Greece. There is considerable discussion about why Athenian culture encouraged philosophy, but a popular theory[which?] says that it occurred because Athens had a direct democracy. It is known from Plato's writings that many sophists maintained schools of debate, were respected members of society, and were well paid by their students. Orators influenced Athenian history, possibly even causing its failure (See Battle of Lade). Another theory explains the birth of philosophical debate in Athens with the presence of a slave labor workforce which performed the necessary functions that would otherwise have consumed the time of the free male citizenry. Freed from working in the fields or other manual economic activities, they were able to participate in the assemblies of Athens and spend long periods in discussions on popular philosophical questions. Students of Sophists needed to acquire the skills of oration in order to influence the Athenian Assembly and thereby increase respect and wealth. In response, the subjects and methods of debate became highly developed by the Sophists. The key figure in transforming Greek philosophy into a unified and continuous project - the one still being pursued today - is Socrates, who studied under several Sophists. It is said that following a visit to the Oracle of Delphi he spent much of his life questioning anyone in Athens who would engage him, in order to disprove the oracular prophecy that there would be no man wiser than Socrates. Through these live dialogues, he examined common but critical concepts that lacked clear or concrete definitions, such as beauty and truth, and the virtues of piety, wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. Socrates' awareness of his own ignorance allowed him to discover his errors as well as the errors of those who claimed knowledge based upon falsifiable or unclear precepts and beliefs. He wrote nothing, but inspired many disciples, including many sons of prominent Athenian citizens (including Plato), which led to his trial and execution in 399 B.C. on the charge that his philosophy and sophistry were undermining the youth, piety, and moral fiber of the city. He was offered a chance to flee from his fate but chose to remain in Athens, abide by his principles, and drink the poison hemlock.

because it is known (by all educated persons) to be valid. Two of Aristotle's syllogisms are invalid to modern eyes. but Plato had previously woven his own thoughts into some of Socrates' words. where no innocents would ever be put to death again. and that the society of the city-state should be governed by a merit class of propertyless philosopher kings. A crucial assumption in Aristotelian logic is that it has to be about real objects. permitting them to validly connect a subject and object. Some central ideas of Plato's dialogues are the Theory of Forms. which applied the Socratic method of inquiry to examine philosophical problems. Plato critiques democracy. Interestingly. that art is subordinate to moral purpose. A syllogism is a form of argument that is guaranteed to be accepted. in his most famous work. For example. then B is true. i. concepts more real. therefore B is true. and universal than or representative of the things of this world. guardians and philosophers. and proposes a three tiered merit based structure of society. who founded the Academy of Athens and wrote a number of dialogues. honorable. A is true." Most university students of logic memorized Aristotle's 19 syllogisms of two subjects. permanent. some B are C. perhaps the first truly systematic philosopher. citing the philosophers' relentless love of truth and knowledge of the forms or ideals. In the later dialogues Socrates figures less prominently. and be protected by an athletically gifted. concern for general welfare and lack of propertied interest as causes for their being suited to govern. . or described a way of elaborating the rules of three subjects. that true knowledge leads to true virtue. with no permanent wives or paternity rights over their children. condemns tyranny. A few geniuses developed systems with three subjects. The Republic. In Aristotle's syllogistic logic you could say this.e. the idea of the immortal soul being superior to the body. or learning a key sentence. that the mind is imbued with an innate capacity to understand and contemplate concepts from a higher order preeminent world. but there are real members of set B. Aristotelian logic was the first type of logic to attempt to categorize every valid syllogism. Each syllogism had a name. in an equal relationship. with workers." This syllogism fails if set A is empty.. with the first letter of each word reminding the student of the names of the syllogisms. The memorization proceeded from diagrams. duty bound military class. "All A are B. Therefore. which are only changing and temporal. for example: "Modus Ponens" had the form of "If A is true. All A are C. because his logic should only be used for things that really exist ("no empty classes") The application of Aristotelian logic is preceded by having the student memorize a rather large set of syllogisms. the idea of evil as simple ignorance of truth. Plato's most outstanding student was Aristotle.Socrates' most important student was Plato.

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