THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY

THE GREEKS AND THEIR WORLD
The Beginning of Philosophy
ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY
 Philosophy begins when human beings start trying
to understand the world, not through religion or by
accepting authority but through the use of reason.
SOCRATES’ PHILOSOPHY
 What we needed to know was how to conduct our
lives and ourselves.
 Thus, the more urgent questions are not something
like “what the world is made of?” but rather “what is
good?”, “what is right?”. “what is just?”
 Socrates believed that man’s soul pre-existed his
body. In his original ideal existence as a soul or
pure mind in the realm of ideas, man knew all
things by direct intuition, and had all this knowledge
stored in his mind.

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PLATO: DUALISTIC NATURE OF MAN
 He thinks that there two sorts of stuff that make up
he world, two sorts of things that especially come
together in human beings
 A human being is composed of body and soul.
BODY – material, mutable, mortal
SOUL – spiritual, immutable, immortal
 Following Socrates, Plato thought of human beings
as essentially their souls.
 While we have bodies, we are souls.
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ARISTOTLE: THE COMPOSITE NATURE OF MAN
 Man is not pure mind or spirit as Plato thought man
to be.
 Man, in his present earthly existence, is a
composite nature of body and soul, mind and
matter, sense and intellect, passion and reason.
 Philosophy, therefore, aims at the development of
the WHOLE MAN, the full realization and
actualization of all man’s power and potentialities –
primarily of his rational prerogatives and
secondarily of the emotional, social, political,
esthetic and economic aspects of his composite
being.
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MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY
Christianity and Philosophy
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THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY
 After the ascension of Jesus Christ into Heaven,
the catechesis of Christian doctrine was based on
the oral preaching of the witnesses of His life.
 By the middle of the second century, Christians felt
the need to have to recourse to theological
speculation in order to:
1. Express more precisely the dogmatic formulas
contained in the symbols of faith.
2. To tear down heretical arguments.
3. To defend themselves from the calumnies coming
from the Roman authorities.
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AUGUSTINE’S VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE
 For Augustine, as for Plato, there are two main divisions
of reality, the physical and the non-physical. In the non-
physical world are souls, spiritual substances, God and
Forms in the Mind of God. In the physical world are
images, material objects, space and time.

 Dualistic view of man
- human beings are composed of two substances,
bodies and souls.
- our souls are most important to us. They are not
something that we have, they are something that we
are.
- we are spiritual beings at the core of our nature

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ST. THOMAS AQUINAS’ PHILOSOPHY
 As did all medieval theologians, Aquinas accepted
the Christian worldview as a given.
 Everything important about life has been revealed
in the scriptures – The Old and The New
Testaments.
 While faith in the revealed word of God required to
know what is true, we must also have reason
(philosophy) to help us to understand what we
believe.
 Aquinas was not afraid that reason might lead
people astray from God’s truth, but rather
welcomed it as another avenue to God
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MODERN PHILOSOPHY
The Revival of Reason
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THE BEGINNINGS OF MODERNITY
 During the middle ages, the Catholic Church
incorporated the Ptolemaic system into the Christian
view of the world. On this view, God made the world to
be the center of everything. Psalm 93 (addressing God)
also claims: “Thou hast fixed the earth immovable and
firm.”
 In the 16
th
century, a Polish churchman called
Copernicus pointed out that many of our fearsome
mathematical problems would melt away if we treated
the sun as the center of the solar system.
 When he did this, he showed that the planetary
movements that were becoming increasingly difficult to
explain suddenly made good, clear sense.
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DESCARTES’ PHILOSOPHY OF MAN: “I THINK
THEREFORE I AM”
 For Descartes, his self is his nonphysical mind, or soul:
1. If I exist and my body may not exist, then I am not
my body.
2. I exist.
3. My body may not exist.
4. Therefore, I am not my body.
 For Descartes, human beings are very different from
animals and everything else in nature. We can do lots
of things in a mechanistic way, such as refuse to act on
a strong desire, plan future events, make decisions,
and so on. We can do all these things because we are
not entirely physical things; we are also nonphysical
things; we have minds.
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DESCARTES’ PHILOSOPHY OF MAN: “I THINK
THEREFORE I AM”
 So, we are bodies and minds
 It is the job of science to study bodies along with
the rest of nature; and it’s the job of philosophy to
study the mind.
 Although he recognizes the importance of the body,
Descartes, like Plato before him, believes that what
is essential to being a self is the nonphysical mind,
not the body.
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CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY
The 19
th
Century and Beyond
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THE 19
TH
CENTURY
 It was a time of greatly increased activity in the
sciences of man and correspondingly rapid
development of various disciplines.
 Perhaps the most significant theme , common to all
branches of science, was the declining influence of
religion.
 Theological discourse was thus only human
discourse.
 Herder: “It is necessary to read the Bible in a
human manner, for it is a book written by men for
men.”
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INTELLECTUAL BACKGROUND OF
CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY:
Nietzsche and Kierkegaard
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SOREN KIERKEGAARD (1813-1855)
 Rejected the intellectualization of God. He believes
that reason plays no role in religion.
 He believed that we desire more than anything else
is a close personal relationship with God.
 If we never fulfill this desire, we will never be happy.
 To have a personal relationship with God is to have
absolute faith in Him, a belief that is not to be
proven by evidence that He exists.
 However, a fulfilling relationship with God can be
freely chosen by us or not.
 “Man’s existence can only become significant when
one realizes his own freedom.”
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FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900)
 “God is dead and we have killed Him.”
 This meant that the essence of God in modern man
was dead.
 Also dead was the part of a person that recognized
universal God-given ideals of reason and truth,
goodness and beauty.
 He rejected reason as the core of human nature.
 Knowledge is not man’s strongest desire but rather
the desire for power.
 There is no pre-established human nature, only the
freedom to be whatever we choose to be.

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JEAN – PAUL SARTRE
Existentialism
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WHAT IS EXISTENTIALISM?
 Derived from the word “Existence” which comes
from the Latin word “Existere” which means to
“stand out”, “to emerge” or “to come out from”

 Stresses the difference between “existing” and
“living”
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SOME THEMES OF EXISTENTIALISM
 Rejection of reason and of the idea that man is, by
nature, a rational being.

 Existentialism takes man as the center of attention.
The focus is on the individual and more importantly,
the uniqueness of each individual.

 Existentialist focus on freedom as the chief aspects
of ourselves. We are free to choose our lives, even
our selves.


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SARTRE’S PHILOSOPHY OF MAN

“Life is an empty bubble
in the sea of nothingness.”

 Man comes from nothingness
 Life is meaning-less

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SARTRE’S PHILOSOPHY OF MAN
“Existence precedes
essence.”

 Human beings have no fixed nature or essence.
We are not born into this world with a certain way to
be. Instead we are pure potential for becoming
whatever we choose to become.


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ASSIGNMENT:
 Read “The Phenomenological Method” by Manuel
B. Dy.
 Bring your fillers, some art materials, a magazine
that can be recycled.