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Western philosophers, their works, their quotes, their thoughts and their insights.

Transcript of Philosophers

  • 1.A Summary
    Collected & edited by Riquette Mory
    Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
    Philosophy and Philosophers


  • The philosophers were seekers of wisdom who tried to study the world in a systematic way.

3. Believed people could understand the universe through logic and reason. 4. The earliest group was known as sophists-men of wisdom. 5. Their main concern was political and social success. 6. Many were teachers who trained the children of the wealthy.2
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
Thales:Traditionally considered the first ever western philosopher. None of his writings survived.
Zeno:founder of Stoicism which denies the importance of all bodily conditions. The only factor seen as essential to human happiness was virtue.He believed that a divine lawgiver had a fixed plan for the universe. Happiness resulted from accepting whatever life brought; even misfortune. Also believed that all people were alike and should be treated well.
Heraclitus (ca. 540 ca. 480 BCE):One cannot step twice inin the same river.
His message was that reality is constantly changing , its an ongoing process rather than a fixed and stable product. All reality is fleeting and impermanent.
The unapparent connection is more powerful than the apparent one.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
SOCRATES (469-399-BC):
Socrates, Ancient Greek, changed philosophy from a study of natural science to ethics and politics, but didn't write anything.
The Socratic Method is a question and answer technique of studying which was designed to make people examine their beliefs.
Socrates is famous for arguing that one must know himself, that the unexamined life is not worth living. Therefore it is a cruel irony that he was condemned to death for corrupting the youth he was teaching to search the truth.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
PLATO (429 - 347 B.C.): Ancient Greek, student of Socrates, most influential philosopher of all time.
Plato based his philosophy on two principles Truth and simplicity
Plato was a brilliant man, one of the greatest philosophers of the past 2,500 years. Both Socrates and Plato knew that a good society must be founded on wisdom derived from truth and reality.
In The Republic-Plato outlines his ideas of the ideal society. He believed no one should have wealth or luxury, and all should do what they are best suited to.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
Platoalso had a good understanding of human nature.
He later began to develop his own philosophy - The fundamental aspect of Plato's thought is the theory of "ideas" or "forms."
Plato, like so many other Greek philosophers, was stymied by the question of change in the physical world.
Plato's philosophy developed largely from that of his teacher Socrates. Under their influence Greek philosophy shifted its focus from problems of the physical world to ethics, politics, knowledge and ideas.
In his great books, The Laws and The Republic, Plato elaborated his doctrines of education, the role of laws and the structure of the ideal state.
ARISTOTLE(384 BC 322 BC): Ancient Greek, student of Plato, second most influential philosopher of all time.
Tutor to the young prince of Macedon, Alexander the Great.
Works: The Nichomachean Ethics, Metaphysics and the Politics.
The first philosophy (Metaphysics) is universal and is exclusively concerned with primary substance ... (Aristotle)
Aristotle was the first philosopher to formalize the subject of Metaphysics. As he explains, Metaphysics is the study of the One Substance (God/Nature) which exists and causes all things, and is therefore the necessary foundation for all human knowledge.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
Aristotle(and Leibniz)thought that One Substance must have properties that cause matter's interconnected activity and Motion.
"Since nature is a principle of motion and change, and since our inquiry is about nature, we must not overlook the question of what motion is. For without understanding motion, we could not understand nature.
Aristotle believed that the world could be understood at a fundamental level through the detailed observation and cataloging of phenomenon.
Therefore his ideas are very important, for within them are the clues to the solution of this most profound of all problems, 'what exists',and what it means to be 'human'. That is, knowledge must be based on fundamental empirical evidence.
As a result of this belief, Aristotle literally wrote about everything: poetics, rhetoric, ethics, politics, meteorology, embryology, physics, mathematics, metaphysics, anatomy, physiology, logic, dreams, and so forth.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
William of Ockham (12851349?)Scholastic: Science of simplicity
Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily
Commonly known for Ockhams razor - the idea that in judging among competing philosophical or scientific theories, all other things being equal, we should prefer the simplest theory. Scientists currently speak of four forces in the universe: gravity, the electromagnetic force, the strong nuclear force, and the weak nuclear force. Ockham would certainly nod approvingly at the ongoing attempt to formulate a grand unified theory, a single force that encompasses all four.
The ultimate irony of Ockhams razor may be that some have used it to prove God is unnecessary to the explanation of the universe, an idea Ockham the Franciscan priest would reject.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
14. Thomas Hobbes (1588 1679): Political Philosopher
The life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Referring to the original state of nature, a hypothetical past before civilization, Hobbes saw no reason to be nostalgic.
Thomas Hobbes saw Society as a giant machine (perpetually in motion), thus the title of his great work, The Leviathan, which is founded on Mechanics (the Motion of Bodies / Matter). In Leviathan, Hobbes argues that the natural state of man (without any civil government) is war, ... the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. ... The condition of man ... is a condition of war of everyone against everyone. (Hobbes, Leviathan)
According to Hobbes - Men, In pure self-interest and for self-preservation, entered into a compact by which they agreed to surrender part of their natural freedom to an absolute ruler in order to preserve the rest.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
Ren Descartes (1596 1650): Father of Modern Philosophy
Work: A Discourse on Method Meditations and Principles
Descartes began his philosophy by doubting everything in order to figure out what he could know with absolute certainty. Although he could be wrong about what he was thinking, that he was thinking was undeniable.
I think therefore I am Cogito ergo sum
I think I exist as a material bodyand there are other material things including other thinking things (human)
one common space
Upon the recognition that I think, Descartes concluded that I am.
On the heels of believing in him, Descartes asked, what am I? His answer: a thinking thing (res cogitans), as opposed to a physical thing, extended in three-dimensional space (res extensa). So, based on this line, Descartes knew he existed, though he wasnt sure if he had a body. Its a philosophical cliff-hanger.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
Spinoza (1632 - 1677): Pantheism - work: EthicsFamous Philosopher - (Baruch) Benedictus de Spinoza
Metaphysics / One Infinite Substance (God, Nature, Space) & the Interconnected Motion of Matter 'Deus sive Natura' (God or Nature) .... we are a part of nature as a whole, whose order we follow. (Ethics, 1673)
Baruch Spinoza was born in Amsterdam in 1632 into a Jewish family. He had a Jewish education, resisted orthodoxy and was later excommunicated of heresy and changed his name to Benedictus de Spinoza in 1656 . The Christians didn't think much of Spinoza either (though his whole philosophy is based on God) and the orthodox accused him of atheism. Due to such ill treatment and unpopularity, his main philosophical work 'Ethics' was published posthumously.
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary-Riquette Mory
Spinozalived a simple and noble life polishing lenses, displaying an indifference to money, fame and power. As Spinoza writes;
A free man, who lives among ignorant people, tries as much as he can to refuse their benefits. .. He who lives under the guidance of reason endeavors as much as possible to repay his fellows hatred, rage, contempt, etc., with love and nobleness. (Ethics).
When a number of bodies of the same or different size are driven so together that they remain united one with the other, those bodies are called reciprocally united bodies (corpora invicem unita), and we say that they all form one body or individual, which is distinguished from the rest by this union of the bodies. (Ethics)
Philosophy and Philosophers - A summary