Greek Philosophy

By: Riley Clever and Gwen Loehrke

Philosophy

"Philo," means love in Greek.
"Sophia," means wisdom in Greek
"Philosophy," means the love of wisdom.

Philosophy: the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.

The Idea of Philosophy

The study of philosophy is asking questions like,
~ Who are we?
~ Does the universe have a purpose?
~ How can we be happy?
~ What is the earth made of?
~ What is life?
~ What is beauty?
~ What is the right thing to do?

Philosophers spend most of their life coming up with theories and explanations to these questions.

Three Important Ancient Greek Philosophers

Beliefs

Socrates

His beliefs included the idea that no one willingly does evil, or wants to do wrong actions. He also developed the Socratic method which helps people determine their beliefs with a series of questions. Now people use Socratic seminars to have a sophisticated discussion about a topic, like we did earlier this year.

Plato

His beliefs helped him develop the Theory of Forms. The main idea of the Theory of Forms was that non physical forms represent the most accurate reality. According to Plato reality consists of two realms. First, is the physical world that we can observe with our five senses. And second, there is a world made of eternal perfect "forms," or "ideas." For example, a desk in your house is a non perfect copy of a perfect desk in another dimension.

Aristotle

His beliefs were that all people, concepts, and all of their knowledge is ultimately based on perception. For example, let's imagine a person named Bob who is looking at an orange. The orange has the form of an orange in actuality. Before he looks at it, Bobs eyes has the potential of becoming or receiving the form of the orange. As soon as he starts to look at it, however, his sense organ becomes acted upon and undergoes change. And the words of Aristotle, "...when once it has been acted upon, it is similar and has the same characters as the sensible object."

Writings

Socrates

He wrote the Socratic Method which is described above.

Plato

He wrote the Socratic Dialogues which were written in the form of discussions between Socrates and other people of his time. He also wrote the Theory of Forms, in this he wrote out the forms and described each one.

Aristotle

He wrote many things including the history of animals. Most of his writings include precocious accuracy and curious errors. What this means is that most of his writings were factual, but sprinkled in his writings were his own beliefs which caused errors and not true statements.

How They Were Treated

Socrates

He was treated very poorly. He was put on trial and sentenced to death. He was given the option to quit philosophy and go free, or die. He choose death by drinking poison hemlock.

Plato

He was highly respected throughout his life.

Aristotle

He was treated highly by some and poorly by others.

How It Impacts Us Today

We still use their theories and ideas. Current philosophers build off their theories and praise them for their great work.