archive-org.com » ORG » H » HISTORY-WORLD.ORG

Total: 1156

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Aristotle
    which is tentative and it differs from sophistry which is a pretence of knowledge without the reality The axioms of science fall under the consideration of the metaphysician insofar as they are properties of all existence Aristotle argues that there are a handful of universal truths Against the followers of Heraclitus and Protagoras Aristotle defends both the laws of contradiction and that of excluded middle He does this by showing that their denial is suicidal Carried out to its logical consequences the denial of these laws would lead to the sameness of all facts and all assertions It would also result in an indifference in conduct As the science of being as being the leading question of Aristotle s metaphysics is What is meant by the real or true substance Plato tried to solve the same question by positing a universal and invariable element of knowledge and existence the forms as the only real permanent besides the changing phenomena of the senses Aristotle attacks Plato s theory of the forms on three different grounds First Aristotle argues forms are powerless to explain changes of things and a thing s ultimate extinction Forms are not causes of movement and alteration in the physical objects of sensation Second forms are equally incompetent to explain how we arrive at knowledge of particular things For to have knowledge of a particular object it must be knowledge of the substance which is in that things However the forms place knowledge outside of particular things Further to suppose that we know particular things better by adding on their general conceptions of their forms is about as absurd as to imagine that we can count numbers better by multiplying them Finally if forms were needed to explain our knowledge of particular objects then forms must be used to explain our knowledge of objects of art however Platonists do not recognize such forms The third ground of attack is that the forms simply cannot explain the existence of particular objects Plato contends that forms do not exist in the particular objects which partake in the forms However that substance of a particular thing cannot be separated from the thing itself Further aside from the jargon of participation Plato does not explain the relation between forms and particular things In reality it is merely metaphorical to describe the forms as patterns of things for what is a genus to one object is a species to a higher class the same idea will have to be both a form and a particular thing at the same time Finally on Plato s account of the forms we must imagine an intermediate link between the form and the particular object and so on ad infinitum there must always be a third man between the individual man and the form of man For Aristotle the form is not something outside the object but rather in the varied phenomena of sense Real substance or true being is not the abstract form but rather the concrete individual thing Unfortunately Aristotle s theory of substance is not altogether consistent with itself In the Categories the notion of substance tends to be nominalistic i e substance is a concept we apply to things In the Metaphysics though it frequently inclines towards realism i e substance has a real existence in itself We are also struck by the apparent contradiction in his claims that science deals with universal concepts and substance is declared to be an individual In any case substance is for him a merging of matter into form The term matter is used by Aristotle in four overlapping senses First it is the underlying structure of changes particularly changes of growth and of decay Secondly it is the potential which has implicitly the capacity to develop into reality Thirdly it is a kind of stuff without specific qualities and so is indeterminate and contingent Fourthly it is identical with form when it takes on a form in its actualized and final phase The development of potentiality to actuality is one of the most important aspects of Aristotle s philosophy It was intended to solve the difficulties which earlier thinkers had raised with reference to the beginnings of existence and the relations of the one and many The actual vs potential state of things is explained in terms of the causes which act on things There are four causes Material cause or the elements out of which an object is created Efficient cause or the means by which it is created Formal cause or the expression of what it is Final cause or the end for which it is Take for example a bronze statue Its material cause is the bronze itself Its efficient cause is the sculptor insofar has he forces the bronze into shape The formal cause is the idea of the completed statue The final cause is the idea of the statue as it prompts the sculptor to act on the bronze The final cause tends to be the same as the formal cause and both of these can be subsumed by the efficient cause Of the four it is the formal and final which is the most important and which most truly gives the explanation of an object The final end purpose or teleology of a thing is realized in the full perfection of the object itself not in our conception of it Final cause is thus internal to the nature of the object itself and not something we subjectively impose on it God to Aristotle is the first of all substances the necessary first source of movement who is himself unmoved God is a being with everlasting life and perfect blessedness engaged in never ending contemplation Philosophy of Nature Aristotle sees the universe as a scale lying between the two extremes form without matter is on one end and matter without form is on the other end The passage of matter into form must be shown in its various stages in the

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/aristotle.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive


  • Cyrenaics
    beyond these experiences to gain any knowledge about the objects themselves that cause these experiences or about the external world in general Some of their arguments prefigure the positions of later Greek skeptics and their distinction between the incorrigibility of immediate perceptual states versus the uncertainty of belief about the external world became key to the epistemological problems confronting philosophers of the modern period such as Descartes and Hume In

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/cyrenaics.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Diogenes of Sinope
    But no notice is taken of this by other ancient writers who have mentioned this philosopher It cannot be doubted however that Diogenes practiced self control and a most rigid abstinence exposing himself to the utmost extremes of heat and cold and living upon the simplest diet casually supplied by the hand of charity In his old age sailing to Aegina he was taken by pirates and carried to Crete where he was exposed to sale in the public market When the auctioneer asked him what he could do he said I can govern men therefore sell me to one who wants a master Xeniades a wealthy Corinthian happening at that instant to pass by was struck with the singularity of his reply and purchased him On their arrival at Corinth Xeniades gave him his freedom and committed to him the education of his children and the direction of his domestic concerns Diogenes executed this trust with so much judgment and fidelity that Xeniades used to say that the gods had sent a good genius to his house During his residence at Corinth an interview between him and Alexander is said to have taken place Plutarch relates that Alexander when at Corinth receiving the congratulations of all ranks on being appointed to command the army of the Greeks against the Persians missed Diogenes among the number with whose character he was acquainted Curious to see the one who exhibited such haughty independence of spirit Alexander went in search of him and found him sitting in his tub in the sun I am Alexander the Great said the monarch And I am Diogenes the Cynic replied the philosopher Alexander then requested that he would inform him what service he could render him Stand from between me and the sun said the

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/diogenes_of_sinope.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Epictetus
    of an edict against philosophers at that time This event the only one in his life the date of which can be assigned is said to have taken place in 89 CE in the eighth year of Domitian s reign Epictetus then retired to Nicopolis in Epirus and it is a question whether he ever returned to Rome The chief ground for believing that he did is a statement of Spartianus Hadr 16 that Epictetus lived on terms of intimacy with the emperor Hadrian It is true that his discourses contain frequent references to Nicopolis and no internal evidence that they were delivered in Rome However this is not sufficient to overthrow the testimony of Spartianus It is not known when he died Suidas says that he lived till the reign of Marcus Aurelius yet the authority or Aulus Gellius is strong on the other side He writing during the reign of the first Antonine speaks of Epictetus in two places as being dead Noct Att ii 8 xvii 19 Epictetus led a life of exemplary contentment simplicity and virtue practicing the morality which he taught He lived in a small hut for a long while with no other furniture than a bed and a lamp and without an attendant He benevolently adopted a child whom a friend had been compelled by poverty to give up he also hired a nurse to look after the child Epictetus was the most dominant teacher of Stoicism during the period of the Roman Empire His lessons were principally if not solely directed to practical morality His favorite maxim and that into which he resolved all practical morality was bear and forbear anexou kai apexou He appears to have differed from the Stoics on the subject of suicide which he condemned We are told

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/epictetus.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Hippias
    he is represented as excessively vain and arrogant Hippias is chiefly memorable for his efforts in the direction of universality He was the enemy of all specialization and appeared at Olmpia gorgeously attired in a costume entirely of his own making down to the ring on his finger He was prepared to lecture to anyone on anything from astronomy to ancient history Such a man had need of a good memory and we know that he invented a system of mnemonics There was a more serious side to his character however This was the age when people were still optimistic of squaring the circle by a geometrical construction The lunules of Hippocrates of Chios belong to it and Hippias the universal genius could not be left behind here He invented the curve still known as the quadratix which would solve the problem if it could be mechanically described Hippias appears to have originated the idea of natural law as the foundation of morality distinguishing nature from the arbitrary conventions or fashions differing according to the different times or regions in which they arise imposed by arbitrary human enactment and often unwillingly obeyed He held that there is an element of

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/hippias.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • PLATO
    best known and most influential Plato s influence spread into Islam as well through the writings of the philosophers Avicenna and Averroes Plato was born in Athens in about 428 BC and grew up during the decades of conflict with Sparta and other city states His parents Ariston and Perictione were one of the most distinguished and aristocratic couples in the city Of the details of Plato s early life almost nothing is known Because of his family s position it is likely that he was acquainted with Socrates from childhood Plato probably intended to go into politics but the fate that Socrates met at the hands of Athenian politicians changed his mind With the forced suicide of Socrates in 399 Plato and other followers took temporary refuge in Megara Some early biographers say that he then traveled around the Mediterranean world visiting other Greek city states Egypt Italy and Sicily None of the reports can be confirmed except for a trip to Sicily There he met and befriended Dion brother in law of the ruler of Syracuse Dionysius I Sometime after the death of Socrates Plato decided to devote himself to philosophy and teaching He opened the Academy and remained with it as teacher with two brief interruptions until his death in about 348 BC The interruptions had to do with the government in Syracuse Dionysius I died in 367 and was succeeded by Dionysius II an uneducated youth Dion called on Plato to come to Syracuse to teach the new ruler Plato agreed but the cause proved hopeless and he returned to Athens He made one more journey to Syracuse in 361 360 Plato s complete body of work has come down to the present No genuine writing was lost though a number of false writings were passed

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/plato.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Protagoras
    are not informed about whether he accompanied the colonists to Thurii but at the time of the plague 430 we find him again in Athens Between his first and second visit to Athens he had spent some time in Sicily where he had acquired fame He brought with him to Athens many admirers from other Greek cities through which he had passed His instructions were so highly valued that he sometimes received 100 minae from a pupil Plato says that Protagoras made more money than Phidias and ten other sculptors Protagoras wrote a large number of works of which the most important were entitled Truth Alethia and On the Gods Peritheon The first contained the theory refuted by Plato in the Theaetetus In 411 he was accused of impiety by Pythodorus one of the Four Hundred The charges were based on his book On the Gods which began with the statement Respecting the gods I am unable to know whether they exist or do not exist Diog Laert ix 52 The impeachment was followed by his banishment or as others affirm only by the burning of his book His doctrine was in fact a sort of agnosticism based upon the impossibility of attaining any absolute criterion of truth Plato gives a vivid picture of the teaching of Protagoras in the dialogue that bears his name Protagoras was especially celebrated for his skill in the rhetorical art By way of practice in the art he was accustomed to make his pupils discuss theses communes loci an exercise which is also recommended by Cicero He also directed his attention to language and tried to explain difficult passages in the poets He is said to have been the first to make the grammatical distinctions of moods in verse and of genders in nouns

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/protagoras.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Pythagoras
    the Olympic Games The lowest consists of those who come to buy and sell and next above them are those who come to compete Best of all are those who simply come to look on Men may be classified accordingly as lovers of wisdom lovers of honor and lovers of gain That seems to imply the doctrine of the tripartite soul which is also attributed to the early Pythagoreans on good authority though it is common now to ascribe it to Plato There are however clear references to it before his time and it agrees much better with the general outlook of the Pythagoreans The comparison of human life to a gathering like the Games was often repeated in later days Pythagoras also taught the doctrine of Rebirth or transmigration which we may have learned from the contemporary Orphics Xenophanes made fun of him for pretending to recognize the voice of a departed friend in the howls of a beaten dog Empedocles seems to be referring to him when he speaks of a man who could remember what happened ten or twenty generations before It was on this that the doctrine of Recollection which plays so great a part in Plato was based The things we perceive with the senses Plato argues remind us of things we knew when the soul was out of the body and could perceive reality directly There is more difficulty about the cosmology of Pythagoras Hardly any school ever professed such reverence for its founder s authority as the Pythagoreans The Master said so was their watchword On the other hand few schools have shown so much capacity for progress and for adapting themselves to new conditions Pythagoras started from the cosmical system of Anaximenes Aristotle tells us that the Pythagoreans represented the world as

    Original URL path: http://history-world.org/pythagoras.htm (2016-02-11)
    Open archived version from archive



  •