Greek Philosophers

August 17, 2008 at 5:12 am Leave a comment

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SOCRATES (470-399 BC)
– son of stonemaker and midwife
– midwifery or midwife philosophy
– fond of intense mental concentration that lasts the whole day
– brave military soldier
– political leader
– sentenced to death by the senate
– believed in Divine creator or teacher

2 accusations:
1. not worshipping the gods of the state
2. corrupting the minors by inducing them to go against the state

1. IRONIC – clears the mind of prejudices and is understanding about a subject matter that would lead to one’s confession of ignorance.
“The wisest man is one who recognizes his ignorance.”
“The more you know, the more you will know that you do not know what you know.”
2. MAEUTIC – draws out the truth from the mind of the knowledge seeker by means of conversation or dialogue through several examples in points of resemblances or contrasts.

– Theory of Idealism
– “on” one or being – unity, universality

idea or realm of the idea – real thing
space time realm or reality – anything that is bound by space and time
– change, pass in and out of existence
– unreal – imperfect compy of the real

– eternal
– immutable
– universal
– infinite

the perfect/ideal man – a pure mind in the realm of ideas – “the soul”
man’s knowledge (original self) omniscient (all-knowing) –> by direct intuition
man’s perfection – “a guiding star” – ideal exemplar
– constant doing good
ideal exemplar – divine exemplar of virtue
happiness – a virtue attained by constant imitation of the divine exemplar
– recollection and remembering of our past perfect knowledge of all things


– union or communion of the mind with the universal, immutable & eternal ideas
– a way available to mortal men (free ourselves to space-time confinement in order to ascend to the heaven of ideas and thereby commune with the immortal
– universal & eternal divine truths or realities

highest stage of meditation
– makes divine realities its object of concentration
– profounded joy – measurement

1. knowing
2. appreciating
3. doing constantly
– leads to living the good life
Happiness – does not consist merely in feeling good but in being and doing good

Love and Beauty
a) everlasting, not waving or waxing, not growing nor decaying
b) absolute, not relative at all times

earthly beauty, earthly love – steps(ladder) to that absolute beauty which is completely independent of the senses

Highest Form of Love
1. absence of separateness or individuality
2. complete identity of the lover with the beloved
3. complete immersion of all individuality with universality
4. complete absorption of the subject with the object
“Our life must be a fruit of contemplation.” – Plato

ARISTOTLE (384-328 BC)
– Trace, Greece
– Middle Class/physicians
– Father – physician
– Adopted by a family friend
– Tutor of Alexander the Great – > one of the conquerors of the world

Plato – founded Academe – first university in the world
Aristotle – founded Lyceum, his own school

– Peripatetic Philosopher
– Man is not a pure mind
– A composite of body & soul
Reason – rationalism
Contemplation – noblest of all human acts
Eternal truth – ultimate basis or reason
Happiness – well-ordered life guided by reason
– fruit of virtue
Perfection & Happiness – rationally organized activity of the whole man

The Golden Mean – proper exercise of man’s functions in accordance with reason and within rational

– similar to the Middle Way of Buddha
– 300-1300 AD – MIDDLE AGES

ST. AUGUSTINE (354-430 AD)
Plotinus & Plato
– Xtian Philosopher
– Man’s knowledge – senses present
– Liable images of truth
– Inner intuition of intellectual character

The Absolute & Immutable God
– The Living Personal God, creator of all things, Supreme Ruler of the Universe
– God is love
Morality consist mainly of love
– central point/basis of St. Augustine’s ethics
Man – “great mystery”
Virtue – “order of Love”
– a virtuous life which is a dynamic willful living, that is, living a life of love a constant following of and turning towards love. A wicked life is constant turning away from love.
Love and Justice – 2 foundations of ethics
Epicureanism – founded by Epicurus
– earthly and bodily pleasures
– no soul
Stoicism – founded by Stoics in Greece
– the goods of the soul end in themselves and pursued for their own sake

Human Will
1. free
2. irresistibly bound to goodness – we grow naturally, necessity

Golden Principle – do good and avoid evil

Based on the law of conscience

Moral law – guide to voluntary acts(you still have a choice)
Characteristics : immutable, eternal, universal
Physical law – natural & necessary
– “law of gravity”
– speaks of a must(you must do it)
Moral Evil – is a turning away from good due to man’s freedom
– clinging to the goods of the earth at the expense of one’s supreme end
– a wrong or bad choice(moral)


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August 2008


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