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Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece were struggling to repel devastating invasions from the east. Greek philosophy continued throughout the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
and the period in which Greece and most Greek-inhabited lands were part of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period of . As a it included large territorial holdings around the in , , and ruled by . From the t ...

Roman Empire
.
Philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is real or existen ...

Philosophy
was used to make sense out of the world using reason. It dealt with a wide variety of subjects, including
astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
,
epistemology Epistemology (; ) is the concerned with . Epistemologists study the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge, epistemic , the of , and various related issues. Epistemology is considered a major subfield of philosophy, along with other major ...

epistemology
,
mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers ( and ), formulas and related structures (), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (), and quantities and their changes ( and ). There is no general consensus abo ...
,
political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or un ...

political philosophy
,
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, m ...

ethics
,
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
,
ontology Ontology is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum o ...

ontology
,
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit ...

logic
,
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
,
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
and
aesthetics Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality R ...

aesthetics
. Greek philosophy has influenced much of
Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired b ...
since its inception.
Alfred North Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of ...
once noted: "The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato". Clear, unbroken lines of influence lead from
ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient Greek was the language of an ...
and Hellenistic philosophers to
Roman philosophy Ancient Roman philosophy was heavily influenced by the ancient Greeks and the schools of Hellenistic philosophy; however, unique developments in philosophical schools of thought occurred during the Roman period as well. Interest in philosophy was ...
,
Early Islamic philosophy Early Islamic philosophy or classical Islamic philosophy is a period of intense philosophical development beginning in the 2nd century AH of the Islamic calendar (early 9th century Common Era, CE) and lasting until the 6th century AH (late 12th ce ...
,
Medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
Scholasticism Scholasticism was a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people ...
, the European
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
and the
Age of Enlightenment The Age of Enlightenment (also known as the Age of Reason or simply the Enlightenment); ger, Aufklärung, "Enlightenment"; it, L'Illuminismo, "Enlightenment"; pl, Oświecenie , "Enlightenment"; pt, Iluminismo, "Enlightenment"; es, link=n ...
. Greek philosophy was influenced to some extent by the older
wisdom literature Wisdom literature is a genre of literature common in the ancient Near East. It consists of statements by sage (philosophy), sages and the Wisdom, wise that offer teachings about divinity and virtue. Although this genre uses techniques of traditiona ...
and mythological cosmogonies of the
ancient Near East The ancient Near East was the home of early civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and symbol A symbol is a mark ...
, though the extent of this influence is debated. The classicist
Martin Litchfield West Martin Litchfield West, (23 September 1937 – 13 July 2015) was a British philologist and Classics, classical scholar. In recognition of his contribution to scholarship, he was awarded the Order of Merit in 2014. West wrote on Music of Ancient ...
states, "contact with oriental
cosmology Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approx ...
and
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
helped to liberate the early Greek philosophers' imagination; it certainly gave them many suggestive ideas. But they taught themselves to reason. Philosophy as we understand it is a Greek creation". Subsequent philosophic tradition was so influenced by
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
as presented by
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
that it is conventional to refer to philosophy developed prior to Socrates as
pre-Socratic philosophy Pre-Socratic philosophy, also known as early Greek philosophy, is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, marking the end of the Greek Dark Ages The Greek Dark Ages is the period of Greek history from ...
. The periods following this, up to and after the
wars of Alexander the Great The wars of Alexander the Great were a series of wars, fought over a span of thirteen years (from 336-323 BC), that were carried out by King Alexander the Great, Alexander III of Macedon (his moniker being Alexander "The Great"). The wars bega ...
, are those of "Classical Greek" and "
Hellenistic philosophy Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy Western philosophy encompasses the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
", respectively.


Pre-Socratic philosophy

The convention of terming those
philosophers A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
who were active prior to the death of
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
as the ''pre-Socratics'' gained currency with the 1903 publication of
Hermann Diels'
Hermann Diels'
''Fragmente der Vorsokratiker'', although the term did not originate with him. The term is considered useful because what came to be known as the "Athenian school" (composed of Socrates, Plato, and
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
) signaled the rise of a new approach to philosophy;
Friedrich Nietzsche Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (; or ; 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, me ...

Friedrich Nietzsche
's thesis that this shift began with Plato rather than with Socrates (hence his nomenclature of "pre-Platonic philosophy") has not prevented the predominance of the "pre-Socratic" distinction.Greg Whitlock, preface to ''The Pre-Platonic Philosophers'', by Friedrich Nietzsche (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2001), xiii–xix. The pre-Socratics were primarily concerned with
cosmology Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approx ...
,
ontology Ontology is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum o ...

ontology
, and mathematics. They were distinguished from "non-philosophers" insofar as they rejected mythological explanations in favor of reasoned discourse.


Milesian school

Thales of Miletus Thales of Miletus ( ; el, Θαλῆς Thales of Miletus ( ; el, Θαλῆς (ὁ Μιλήσιος), ''Thalēs''; ) was a Greek mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (fr ...

Thales of Miletus
, regarded by
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
as the first philosopher, held that all things arise from a single material substance, water. It is not because he gave a
cosmogony Cosmogony is any model concerning the origin of either the cosmos The cosmos (, ) is another name for the Universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and ...
that John Burnet calls him the "first man of science," but because he gave a naturalistic explanation of the
cosmos The cosmos (, ) is another name for the Universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxy, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and energy. The Big Bang theory is the prev ...

cosmos
and supported it with reasons. According to tradition, Thales was able to predict an
eclipse ECLiPSe is a software system for the development and deployment of Constraint Programming applications, e.g. in the areas of optimization, planning, scheduling, resource allocation In economics Economics () is the social science that s ...

eclipse
and taught the Egyptians how to measure the height of the
pyramids A pyramid (from el, πυραμίς ') is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single step at the top, making the shape roughly a pyramid in the geometric sense. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilater ...

pyramids
. Thales inspired the
Milesian school The Milesian school () was a school of thought founded in the 6th century BC. The ideas associated with it are exemplified by three philosophers from the Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: wikt:Ἰωνία, Ἰωνία /i.ɔ ...
of philosophy and was followed by
Anaximander Anaximander (; grc-gre, Ἀναξίμανδρος ''Anaximandros''; ) was a who lived in ,"Anaximander" in '. London: , 1961, Vol. 1, p. 403. a city of (in modern-day Turkey). He belonged to the and learned the teachings of his master . He s ...

Anaximander
, who argued that the substratum or ''arche'' could not be water or any of the
classical element Classical elements typically refer to Water (classical element), water, Earth (classical element), earth, Fire (classical element), fire, Air (classical element), air, and (later) Aether (classical element), aether, which were proposed to expla ...
s but was instead something "unlimited" or "indefinite" (in Greek, the ''
apeiron ''Apeiron'' (; ) is a Greek word meaning "(that which is) unlimited," "boundless", "infinite", or "indefinite" from ''a-'', "without" and ''peirar'', "end, limit", "boundary", the Ionic Greek form of ''peras'', "end, limit, boundary". ''Apeir ...
''). He began from the observation that the world seems to consist of opposites (e.g., hot and cold), yet a thing can become its opposite (e.g., a hot thing cold). Therefore, they cannot truly be opposites but rather must both be manifestations of some underlying unity that is neither. This underlying unity (substratum, ''arche'') could not be any of the classical elements, since they were one extreme or another. For example, water is wet, the opposite of dry, while fire is dry, the opposite of wet. This initial state is ageless and imperishable, and everything returns to it according to necessity. Anaximenes in turn held that the ''arche'' was air, although John Burnet argues that by this, he meant that it was a transparent mist, the ''aether''. Despite their varied answers, the Milesian school was searching for a natural substance that would remain unchanged despite appearing in different forms, and thus represents one of the first scientific attempts to answer the question that would lead to the development of modern atomic theory; "the Milesians," says Burnet, "asked for the ''φύσις'' of all things."


Xenophanes

Xenophanes was born in
Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancient ...
, where the Milesian school was at its most powerful and may have picked up some of the Milesians' cosmological theories as a result. What is known is that he argued that each of the phenomena had a natural rather than divine explanation in a manner reminiscent of Anaximander's theories and that there was only one god, the world as a whole, and that he ridiculed the
anthropomorphism Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, l ...
of the Greek religion by claiming that cattle would claim that the gods looked like cattle, horses like horses, and lions like lions, just as the Ethiopians claimed that the gods were snub-nosed and black and the Thracians claimed they were pale and red-haired. Xenophanes was highly influential to subsequent schools of philosophy. He was seen as the founder of a line of philosophy that culminated in
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism Philosophical skepticism (American and British English spelling differences, UK spelling: scepticism; from Ancient Greek, Greek σκέψις ''skepsis'', "inquiry") is a family of Philosophy, p ...
, possibly an influence on Eleatic philosophy, and a precursor to
Epicurus Epicurus, ''Epíkouros'', "ally, comrade" (341–270 BC) was an and who founded , a highly influential school of . He was born on the Greek island of to parents. Influenced by , , , and possibly the , he turned against the of his day and e ...

Epicurus
' total break between science and religion.


Pythagoreanism

Pythagoras Pythagoras of Samos, or simply ; in () was an ancient and the eponymous founder of . His political and religious teachings were well known in and influenced the philosophies of , , and, through them, . Knowledge of his life is clouded b ...

Pythagoras
lived at roughly the same time that Xenophanes did and, in contrast to the latter, the school that he founded sought to reconcile religious belief and reason. Little is known about his life with any reliability, however, and no writings of his survive, so it is possible that he was simply a
mystic A mystic is a person who practices mysticism, or a reference to a mystery, mystic craft, first hand-experience or the occult. Mystic may also refer to: Places United States * Mistick, an old name for parts of Malden and Medford, Massachusetts * ...
whose successors introduced rationalism into Pythagoreanism, that he was simply a rationalist whose successors are responsible for the mysticism in Pythagoreanism, or that he was actually the author of the doctrine; there is no way to know for certain. Pythagoras is said to have been a disciple of
Anaximander Anaximander (; grc-gre, Ἀναξίμανδρος ''Anaximandros''; ) was a who lived in ,"Anaximander" in '. London: , 1961, Vol. 1, p. 403. a city of (in modern-day Turkey). He belonged to the and learned the teachings of his master . He s ...

Anaximander
and to have imbibed the
cosmological Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
concerns of the Ionians, including the idea that the cosmos is constructed of spheres, the importance of the infinite, and that air or aether is the ''arche'' of everything. Pythagoreanism also incorporated
ascetic Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις ''áskesis'', "exercise, training") is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their ...
ideals, emphasizing purgation,
metempsychosis Metempsychosis ( grc-gre, μετεμψύχωσις), in philosophy, refers to transmigration of the soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a socie ...
, and consequently a respect for all animal life; much was made of the correspondence between mathematics and the cosmos in a musical harmony. Pythagoras believed that behind the appearance of things, there was the permanent principle of mathematics, and that the forms were based on a transcendental mathematical relation.


Heraclitus

Heraclitus must have lived after Xenophanes and Pythagoras, as he condemns them along with
Homer Homer (; grc, Ὅμηρος , ''Hómēros'') was the presumed author of the ''Iliad'' and the ''Odyssey'', two epic poems that are the foundational works of ancient Greek literature. The ''Iliad'' is set during the Trojan War, the ten-year s ...

Homer
as proving that much learning cannot teach a man to think; since
Parmenides Parmenides of Elea (; grc-gre, Παρμενίδης ὁ Ἐλεάτης; ) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit ...

Parmenides
refers to him in the past tense, this would place him in the 5th century BCE. Contrary to the
Milesian school The Milesian school () was a school of thought founded in the 6th century BC. The ideas associated with it are exemplified by three philosophers from the Ionia Ionia (; Ancient Greek language, Ancient Greek: wikt:Ἰωνία, Ἰωνία /i.ɔ ...
, which posits one stable
element Element may refer to: Science * Chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all ...
as the ''
arche ''Arche'' (; grc, :wikt:ἀρχή, ἀρχή; sometimes also transcribed as ''arkhé'') is a Greek word with primary senses "beginning", "origin" or "source of action" (: from the beginning, οr : the original argument), and later "first principle ...

arche
'', Heraclitus taught that '' panta rhei'' ("everything flows"), the closest element to this eternal flux being fire. All things come to pass in accordance with ''Logos'', which must be considered as "plan" or "formula", and "the ''Logos'' is common". He also posited a
unity of opposites The unity of opposites is the central category of dialectic Dialectic or dialectics ( grc-gre, διαλεκτική, ''dialektikḗ''; related to dialogue; german: Dialektik), also known as the dialectical method, is at base a discourse Discou ...
, expressed through
dialectic Dialectic or dialectics ( grc-gre, διαλεκτική, ''dialektikḗ''; related to dialogue Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States Engli ...
, which structured this flux, such as that seeming opposites in fact are manifestations of a common substrate to good and evil itself. Heraclitus called the oppositional processes ἔρις ('' eris''), "strife", and hypothesized that the apparently stable state of δίκη ('' dikê''), or "justice", is the
harmonic A harmonic is any member of the harmonic series Harmonic series may refer to either of two related concepts: *Harmonic series (mathematics) *Harmonic series (music) {{Disambig .... The term is employed in various disciplines, including music ...
unity of these opposites.


Eleatic philosophy

Parmenides of Elea cast his philosophy against those who held "it is and is not the same, and all things travel in opposite directions,"—presumably referring to Heraclitus and those who followed him. Whereas the doctrines of the Milesian school, in suggesting that the substratum could appear in a variety of different guises, implied that everything that exists is corpuscular, Parmenides argued that the first principle of being was One, indivisible, and unchanging. Being, he argued, by definition implies eternality, while only that which ''is'' can be thought; a thing which ''is'', moreover, cannot be more or less, and so the rarefaction and condensation of the Milesians is impossible regarding Being; lastly, as movement requires that something exist apart from the thing moving (viz. the space into which it moves), the One or Being cannot move, since this would require that "space" both exist and not exist. While this doctrine is at odds with ordinary sensory experience, where things do indeed change and move, the Eleatic school followed Parmenides in denying that sense phenomena revealed the world as it actually was; instead, the only thing with Being was thought, or the question of whether something exists or not is one of whether it can be thought. In support of this, Parmenides' pupil
Zeno of Elea
Zeno of Elea
attempted to prove that the concept of
motion Image:Leaving Yongsan Station.jpg, 300px, Motion involves a change in position In physics, motion is the phenomenon in which an object changes its position (mathematics), position over time. Motion is mathematically described in terms of Displacem ...
was absurd and as such motion did not exist. He also attacked the subsequent development of pluralism, arguing that it was incompatible with Being. His arguments are known as
Zeno's paradoxes Zeno's paradoxes are a set of philosophy, philosophical problems generally thought to have been devised by Magna Graecia, Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea (c. 490–430 BC) to support Parmenides' doctrine that contrary to the evidence of one's sense ...
.


Pluralism and atomism

The power of Parmenides' logic was such that some subsequent philosophers abandoned the
monism Monism attributes oneness or singleness (Greek: μόνος) to a concept e.g., existence. Various kinds of monism can be distinguished: * Priority monism states that all existing things go back to a source that is distinct from them; e.g., i ...
of the Milesians, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, and Parmenides, where one thing was the ''arche'', and adopted pluralism, such as
Empedocles Empedocles (; grc-gre, Ἐμπεδοκλῆς; , 444–443 BC) was a Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in So ...

Empedocles
and
Anaxagoras Anaxagoras (; grc-gre, Ἀναξαγόρας, ''Anaxagoras'', "lord of the assembly";  BC) was a Pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the i ...

Anaxagoras
. There were, they said, multiple elements which were not reducible to one another and these were set in motion by love and strife (as in Empedocles) or by Mind (as in Anaxagoras). Agreeing with Parmenides that there is no coming into being or passing away, genesis or decay, they said that things appear to come into being and pass away because the elements out of which they are composed assemble or disassemble while themselves being unchanging.
Leucippus Leucippus (; el, Λεύκιππος, ''Leúkippos''; fl. 5th century BCE) is reported in some ancient sources to have been a philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλό ...
also proposed an ontological pluralism with a cosmogony based on two main elements: the vacuum and atoms. These, by means of their inherent movement, are crossing the void and creating the real material bodies. His theories were not well known by the time of
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
, however, and they were ultimately incorporated into the work of his student,
Democritus Democritus (; el, Δημόκριτος, ''Dēmókritos'', meaning "chosen of the people"; – ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...

Democritus
.


Sophism

Sophism arose from the juxtaposition of ''
physis Physis (; grc, φύσις Physis (; grc, φύσις ) is a Greek philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familia ...
'' (nature) and '' nomos'' (law). John Burnet posits its origin in the scientific progress of the previous centuries which suggested that Being was radically different from what was experienced by the senses and, if comprehensible at all, was not comprehensible in terms of order; the world in which people lived, on the other hand, was one of law and order, albeit of humankind's own making. At the same time, nature was constant, while what was by law differed from one place to another and could be changed. The first person to call themselves a sophist, according to Plato, was
Protagoras Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece wer ...
, whom he presents as teaching that all
virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a fr ...

virtue
is conventional. It was Protagoras who claimed that "man is the measure of all things, of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not," which Plato interprets as a radical
perspectivism Perspectivism (also perspectivalism; german: Perspektivismus) is the epistemological principle that perception of and knowledge of something are always bound to the interpretive perspectives of those observing it. While perspectivism regard al ...
, where some things seem to be one way for one person (and so actually are that way) and another way for another person (and so actually are ''that'' way as well); the conclusion being that one cannot look to nature for guidance regarding how to live one's life. Protagoras and subsequent sophists tended to teach
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
as their primary vocation.
Prodicus Prodicus of Ceos (; grc-gre, Πρόδικος ὁ Κεῖος, ''Pródikos ho Keios''; c. 465 BC – c. 395 BC) was a Greek philosopher, and part of the first generation of Sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher ...
,
Gorgias Gorgias; (483–375 BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the f ...
,
Hippias Hippias of Elis Elis or Ilia ( el, Ηλεία, ''Ileia'') is one of the regional units of Greece The 74 regional units ( el, περιφερειακές ενότητες, ; sing. , ) are Administrative divisions of Greece, administrative units of G ...
, and
Thrasymachus Thrasymachus (; el, Θρασύμαχος ''Thrasýmachos''; c. 459 – c. 400 BC) was a sophist A sophist ( el, σοφιστής, ''sophistes'') was a teacher in ancient Greece in the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Sophists specialized in one or ...
appear in various
dialogues Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American and British English spelling differences, American English) is a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people, and a literature, literary and theatrical form that depicts such ...
, sometimes explicitly teaching that while nature provides no ethical guidance, the guidance that the laws provide is worthless, or that nature favors those who act against the laws.


Classical Greek philosophy


Socrates

Socrates, believed to have been born in
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in the 5th century BCE, marks a watershed in ancient Greek philosophy. Athens was a center of learning, with sophists and philosophers traveling from across Greece to teach rhetoric, astronomy, cosmology, and geometry. The great statesman
Pericles Pericles (; grc-x-attic, Περικλῆς, in Classical Attic; c. 495 – 429 BC) was a Greek statesman and general of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Click ...

Pericles
was closely associated with this new learning and a friend of
Anaxagoras Anaxagoras (; grc-gre, Ἀναξαγόρας, ''Anaxagoras'', "lord of the assembly";  BC) was a Pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the i ...

Anaxagoras
, however, and his political opponents struck at him by taking advantage of a conservative reaction against the philosophers; it became a crime to investigate the things above the heavens or below the earth, subjects considered impious. Anaxagoras is said to have been charged and to have fled into exile when Socrates was about twenty years of age. There is a story that
Protagoras Protagoras (; el, Πρωταγόρας; )Guthrie, p. 262–263. was a pre-Socratic Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC, at a time when the inhabitants of ancient Greece wer ...
, too, was forced to flee and that the Athenians burned his books. Socrates, however, is the only subject recorded as charged under this law, convicted, and sentenced to death in 399 BCE (see
Trial of Socrates The trial of Socrates (399 BC) was held to determine the philosopher's guilt of two charges: ''asebeiaAsebeia (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, an ...
). In the version of his defense speech presented by Plato, he claims that it is the envy he arouses on account of his being a philosopher that will convict him. While philosophy was an established pursuit prior to Socrates,
Cicero Marcus Tullius Cicero ( ; ; 3 January 106 BC – 7 December 43 BC) was a Ancient Rome, Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, philosopher and Academic skepticism, Academic Skeptic, who tried to uphold optimate principles during crisis of ...

Cicero
credits him as "the first who brought philosophy down from the heavens, placed it in cities, introduced it into families, and obliged it to examine into life and morals, and good and evil." By this account he would be considered the founder of
political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or un ...

political philosophy
. The reasons for this turn toward political and ethical subjects remain the object of much study. The fact that many conversations involving Socrates (as recounted by Plato and
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens monta ...

Xenophon
) end without having reached a firm conclusion, or aporetically, has stimulated debate over the meaning of the
Socratic method The Socratic method (also known as method of Elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate) is a form of cooperative Argumentation, argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking ...
. Socrates is said to have pursued this probing question-and-answer style of examination on a number of topics, usually attempting to arrive at a defensible and attractive definition of a
virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a fr ...

virtue
. While Socrates' recorded conversations rarely provide a definite answer to the question under examination, several maxims or paradoxes for which he has become known recur. Socrates taught that no one desires what is bad, and so if anyone does something that truly is bad, it must be unwillingly or out of ignorance; consequently, all virtue is knowledge. He frequently remarks on his own ignorance (claiming that he does not know what courage is, for example).
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
presents him as distinguishing himself from the common run of mankind by the fact that, while they know nothing noble and good, they do not ''know'' that they do not know, whereas Socrates knows and acknowledges that he knows nothing noble and good. Numerous subsequent philosophical movements were inspired by Socrates or his younger associates. Plato casts Socrates as the main interlocutor in his
dialogues Dialogue (sometimes spelled dialog in American and British English spelling differences, American English) is a written or spoken conversational exchange between two or more people, and a literature, literary and theatrical form that depicts such ...
, deriving from them the basis of
Platonism Platonism is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy o ...
(and by extension,
Neoplatonism Neoplatonism is a strand of Platonic philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, m ...
). Plato's student
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
in turn criticized and built upon the doctrines he ascribed to Socrates and Plato, forming the foundation of
Aristotelianism Aristotelianism ( ) is a philosophical tradition inspired by the work of Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philo ...
.
Antisthenes Antisthenes (; el, Ἀντισθένης; c. 446c. 366 BC) was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. Antisthenes first learned rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...
founded the school that would come to be known as
Cynicism Cynic or Cynicism may refer to: Modes of thought * Cynicism (philosophy), a school of ancient Greek philosophy * Cynicism (contemporary), modern use of the word for distrust of others' motives Books * ''The Cynic'', James Gordon Stuart Grant 1875 ...
and accused Plato of distorting Socrates' teachings.
Zeno of Citium Zeno of Citium (; grc-x-koine, Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς, ; c. 334 – c. 262 BC) was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emerg ...

Zeno of Citium
in turn adapted the ethics of Cynicism to articulate
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of founded by in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal eudemonic informed by its system of and its views on the natural world, asserting that the practice of virtue is both necessary and suf ...
.
Epicurus Epicurus, ''Epíkouros'', "ally, comrade" (341–270 BC) was an and who founded , a highly influential school of . He was born on the Greek island of to parents. Influenced by , , , and possibly the , he turned against the of his day and e ...

Epicurus
studied with Platonic and Pyrrhonist teachers before renouncing all previous philosophers (including
Democritus Democritus (; el, Δημόκριτος, ''Dēmókritos'', meaning "chosen of the people"; – ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...

Democritus
, on whose atomism the
Epicurean Roman Epicurus bust Epicureanism is a system of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosoph ...
philosophy relies). The philosophic movements that were to dominate the intellectual life of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period of . As a it included large territorial holdings around the in , , and ruled by . From the t ...

Roman Empire
were thus born in this febrile period following Socrates' activity, and either directly or indirectly influenced by him. They were also absorbed by the expanding Muslim world in the 7th through 10th centuries AD, from which they returned to the West as foundations of
Medieval philosophy ; picture from the '' Hortus deliciarum'' of Herrad von Landsberg (12th century). Medieval philosophy is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, exis ...
and the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in m ...

Renaissance
, as discussed below.


Plato

Plato was an
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of the generation after
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
. Ancient tradition ascribes thirty-six dialogues and thirteen
letters Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, Object (philosophy ...
to him, although of these only twenty-four of the dialogues are now universally recognized as authentic; most modern scholars believe that at least twenty-eight dialogues and two of the letters were in fact written by Plato, although all of the thirty-six dialogues have some defenders. A further nine dialogues are ascribed to Plato but were considered spurious even in antiquity. Plato's dialogues feature Socrates, although not always as the leader of the conversation. (One dialogue, the Laws (Plato), ''Laws'', instead contains an "Athenian Stranger.") Along with
Xenophon Xenophon of Athens (; grc, Ξενοφῶν Xenophon of Athens (; grc-gre, Ξενοφῶν, , ''Xenophōn''; – 354 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens monta ...

Xenophon
, Plato is the primary source of information about Socrates' life and beliefs and it is not always easy to distinguish between the two. While the Socrates presented in the dialogues is often taken to be Plato's mouthpiece, Socrates' reputation for irony, his caginess regarding his own opinions in the dialogues, and his occasional absence from or minor role in the conversation serve to conceal Plato's doctrines. Much of what is said about his doctrines is derived from what Aristotle reports about them. The political doctrine ascribed to Plato is derived from the The Republic (Plato), ''Republic'', the Laws (dialogue), ''Laws'', and the Statesman (dialogue), ''Statesman''. The first of these contains the suggestion that there will not be justice in cities unless they are ruled by philosopher kings; those responsible for enforcing the laws are compelled to hold their women, children, and property in communism, common; and the individual is taught to pursue the common good through noble lies; the ''Republic'' says that such a city is likely impossible, however, generally assuming that philosophers would refuse to rule and the people would refuse to compel them to do so.Leo Strauss, "Plato", in ''History of Political Philosophy'', ed. Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1987): 33–89. Whereas the ''Republic'' is premised on a distinction between the sort of knowledge possessed by the philosopher and that possessed by the king or political man, Socrates explores only the character of the philosopher; in the ''Statesman'', on the other hand, a participant referred to as the Eleatic Stranger discusses the sort of knowledge possessed by the political man, while Socrates listens quietly. Although rule by a wise man would be preferable to rule by law, the wise cannot help but be judged by the unwise, and so in practice, rule by law is deemed necessary. Both the ''Republic'' and the ''Statesman'' reveal the limitations of politics, raising the question of what political order would be best given those constraints; that question is addressed in the ''Laws'', a dialogue that does not take place in Athens and from which Socrates is absent. The character of the society described there is eminently conservative, a corrected or liberalized timocracy on the Sparta#Classical Sparta, Spartan or History of Crete#Classical, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine and Arab Crete, Cretan model or that of pre-democratic
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. Plato's dialogues also have metaphysics, metaphysical themes, the most famous of which is his theory of forms. It holds that non-material abstract (but ousia, substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through our physical senses, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. Plato often uses long-form analogies (usually allegories) to explain his ideas; the most famous is perhaps the Allegory of the Cave. It likens most humans to people tied up in a cave, who look only at shadows on the walls and have no other conception of reality. If they turned around, they would see what is casting the shadows (and thereby gain a further dimension to their reality). If some left the cave, they would see the outside world illuminated by the sun (representing the ultimate form of goodness and truth). If these travelers then re-entered the cave, the people inside (who are still only familiar with the shadows) would not be equipped to believe reports of this 'outside world'. This story explains the theory of forms with their different levels of reality, and advances the view that philosopher-kings are wisest while most humans are ignorant. One student of Plato (who would become another of the most influential philosophers of all time) stressed the implication that understanding relies upon first-hand observation.


Aristotle

Aristotle moved to Athens from his native Stageira in 367 BC and began to study philosophy (perhaps even rhetoric, under Isocrates), eventually enrolling at Platonic Academy, Plato's Academy.Carnes Lord, Introduction to ''The Politics'', by Aristotle (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984): 1–29. He left Athens approximately twenty years later to study botany and zoology, became a tutor of Alexander the Great, and ultimately returned to Athens a decade later to establish his own school: the Lyceum (Classical), Lyceum.Bertrand Russell, ''A History of Western Philosophy'' (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1972). At least twenty-nine of his treatises have survived, known as the ''corpus Aristotelicum'', and address a variety of subjects including
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit ...

logic
, physics, optics,
metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity and possibility. It includes questions about the nature of consciousness and the relationship between ...

metaphysics
,
ethics Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, m ...

ethics
,
rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or dialectic – see Martianus Capella), is one of the Trivium, three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or sp ...
, politics, poetry, botany, and zoology. Aristotle is often portrayed as disagreeing with his teacher Plato (e.g., in Raphael's School of Athens). He criticizes the regimes described in Plato's Republic (Plato), ''Republic'' and Laws (dialogue), ''Laws'', and refers to the theory of forms as "empty words and poetic metaphors." He is generally presented as giving greater weight to empirical observation and practical concerns. Aristotle's fame was not great during the
Hellenistic period The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and the conquest of Ptolemaic ...
, when Stoicism, Stoic logic was in vogue, but later Peripatetic school, peripatetic commentators popularized his work, which eventually contributed heavily to Islamic, Jewish, and medieval Christian philosophy. His influence was such that Avicenna referred to him simply as "the Master"; Maimonides, Alfarabi, Averroes, and Aquinas as "the Philosopher."


Cynicism

Cynicism was founded by
Antisthenes Antisthenes (; el, Ἀντισθένης; c. 446c. 366 BC) was a Greek philosopher and a pupil of Socrates. Antisthenes first learned rhetoric Rhetoric () is the Art (skill), art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic (or ...
, who was a disciple of Socrates, as well as Diogenes, his contemporary. Their aim was to live according to nature and against convention. Antisthenes was inspired by the ascetism of Socrates, and accused Plato of pride and conceit. Diogenes, his follower, took the ideas to their limit, living in extreme poverty and engaging in anti-social behaviour. Crates of Thebes was, in turn, inspired by Diogenes to give away his fortune and live on the streets of Athens.


Cyrenaicism

The Cyrenaics were founded by Aristippus of Cyrene, who was a pupil of
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
. The Cyrenaics were hedonists and held that pleasure was the supreme good in life, especially physical pleasure, which they thought more intense and more desirable than mental pleasures. Pleasure is the only good in life and pain is the only evil.
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
had held that
virtue Virtue ( la, virtus ''Virtus'' () was a specific virtue in Ancient Rome. It carries connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin ''vir'', "man"). It was thus a fr ...

virtue
was the only human good, but he had also accepted a limited role for its utilitarian side, allowing pleasure to be a secondary goal of moral action. Aristippus and his followers seized upon this, and made pleasure the sole final goal of life, denying that virtue had any intrinsic value.


Megarians

The Megarian school flourished in the 4th century BC. It was founded by Euclides of Megara, one of the pupils of
Socrates Socrates (; ; –399 BC) was a Greek philosopher from Athens Athens ( ; el, Αθήνα, Athína ; grc, Ἀθῆναι, Athênai (pl.) ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Greece, largest city of Greece. Athens domi ...

Socrates
. Its ethical teachings were derived from Socrates, recognizing a single Form of the Good, good, which was apparently combined with the Eleatic doctrine of monism, Unity. Their work on modal logic, logical conditionals, and propositional logic played an important role in the development of logic in antiquity, and were influences on the subsequent creation of
Stoicism Stoicism is a school of founded by in Athens in the early 3rd century BC. It is a philosophy of personal eudemonic informed by its system of and its views on the natural world, asserting that the practice of virtue is both necessary and suf ...
and
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism Philosophical skepticism (American and British English spelling differences, UK spelling: scepticism; from Ancient Greek, Greek σκέψις ''skepsis'', "inquiry") is a family of Philosophy, p ...
.


Hellenistic philosophy

During the Hellenistic period, Hellenistic and Roman Empire, Roman periods, many different schools of thought developed in the Hellenistic civilization, Hellenistic world and then the Greco-Roman world. There were Ancient Greece, Greeks, Ancient Rome, Romans, Ancient Egypt, Egyptians, History of Syria, Syrians and Arabs who contributed to the development of Hellenistic philosophy. Elements of Iranian philosophy, Persian philosophy and Indian philosophy also had an influence. The spread of Christianity throughout the Roman world, followed by the spread of Islam, ushered in the end of Hellenistic philosophy and the beginnings of
Medieval philosophy ; picture from the '' Hortus deliciarum'' of Herrad von Landsberg (12th century). Medieval philosophy is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, exis ...
, which was dominated by the three Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic traditions: Jewish philosophy, Christian philosophy, and early Islamic philosophy.


Pyrrhonism

Pyrrho of Elis, a Democritus, Democritean philosopher, Indian campaign of Alexander the Great, traveled to India with Alexander the Great's army where Pyrrho was influenced by Buddhism, Buddhist teachings, most particularly the three marks of existence. After returning to Greece, Pyrrho started a new school of philosophy,
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism Philosophical skepticism (American and British English spelling differences, UK spelling: scepticism; from Ancient Greek, Greek σκέψις ''skepsis'', "inquiry") is a family of Philosophy, p ...
, which taught that it is one's opinions about non-evident matters (i.e., dogma) that prevent one from attaining eudaimonia. Pyrrhonism places the attainment of ataraxia (a state of equanimity) as the way to achieve eudaimonia. To bring the mind to ataraxia Pyrrhonism uses epoché (suspension of judgment) regarding all non-evident propositions. Pyrrhonists dispute that the dogmatists – which includes all of Pyrrhonism's rival philosophies – have found truth regarding non-evident matters. For any non-evident matter, a Pyrrhonist makes arguments for and against such that the matter cannot be concluded, thus suspending belief and thereby inducing ataraxia.


Epicureanism

Epicurus Epicurus, ''Epíkouros'', "ally, comrade" (341–270 BC) was an and who founded , a highly influential school of . He was born on the Greek island of to parents. Influenced by , , , and possibly the , he turned against the of his day and e ...

Epicurus
studied in Athens with Nausiphanes, who was a follower of
Democritus Democritus (; el, Δημόκριτος, ''Dēmókritos'', meaning "chosen of the people"; – ) was an Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient w ...

Democritus
and a student of Pyrrho of Elis. He accepted Democritus' theory of atomism, with improvements made in response to criticisms by Aristotle and others. His ethics were based on "the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain". This was, however, not simple hedonism, as he noted that "We do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or of sensuality . . . we mean the Aponia, absence of pain in the body and trouble in the mind".


Stoicism

The founder of Stoicism,
Zeno of Citium Zeno of Citium (; grc-x-koine, Ζήνων ὁ Κιτιεύς, ; c. 334 – c. 262 BC) was a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emerg ...

Zeno of Citium
, was taught by Crates of Thebes, and he took up the Cynic ideals of continence and self-mastery, but applied the concept of apatheia (indifference) to personal circumstances rather than social norms, and switched shameless flouting of the latter for a resolute fulfillment of social duties. Logic and physics were also part of early Stoicism, further developed by Zeno's successors Cleanthes and Chrysippus. Stoic physics, Their metaphysics was based in materialism, which was structured by logos, reason (but also called God or fate). Stoic logic, Their logical contributions still feature in contemporary propositional calculus. Their ethics was based on pursuing happiness, which they believed was a product of 'living in accordance with nature'. This meant accepting those things which one could not change. One could therefore choose whether to be happy or not by adjusting one's attitude towards their circumstances, as the freedom from fears and desires was happiness itself.


Platonism


Academic skepticism

Around 266 BC, Arcesilaus became head of the Platonic Academy, and adopted skepticism as a central tenet of
Platonism Platonism is the philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy o ...
, making Platonism nearly the same as
Pyrrhonism Pyrrhonism is a school of philosophical skepticism Philosophical skepticism (American and British English spelling differences, UK spelling: scepticism; from Ancient Greek, Greek σκέψις ''skepsis'', "inquiry") is a family of Philosophy, p ...
. After Arcesilaus, Academic skepticism diverged from Pyrrhonism. This skeptical period of ancient Platonism, from Arcesilaus to Philo of Larissa, became known as the New Academy, although some ancient authors added further subdivisions, such as a Platonic Academy#Middle Academy, Middle Academy. The Academic skeptics did not doubt the existence of truth; they just doubted that humans had the capacities for obtaining it. They based this position on Plato's ''Phaedo (dialogue), Phaedo'', sections 64–67, in which Socrates discusses how knowledge is not accessible to mortals. While the objective of the Pyrrhonists was the attainment of ataraxia, after Arcesilaus the Academic skeptics did not hold up ataraxia as the central objective. The Academic skeptics focused on criticizing the Dogma, dogmas of other schools of philosophy, in particular of the dogmatism of the Stoics. They acknowledged some vestiges of a moral law within, at best but a plausible guide, the possession of which, however, formed the real distinction between the Sage (philosophy), sage and the fool. Slight as the difference may appear between the positions of the Academic skeptics and the Pyrrhonists, a comparison of their lives leads to the conclusion that a practical philosophical moderation was the characteristic of the Academic skeptics whereas the objectives of the Pyrrhonists were more psychological.


Middle Platonism

Following the end of the skeptical period of the Academy with Antiochus of Ascalon, Platonic thought entered the period of Middle Platonism, which absorbed ideas from the Peripatetic and Stoic schools. More extreme syncretism was done by Numenius of Apamea, who combined it with Neopythagoreanism.


Neoplatonism

Also affected by the Neopythagoreans, the Neoplatonism, Neoplatonists, first of them Plotinus, argued that mind exists before matter, and that the universe has a singular cause which must therefore be a single mind. As such, Neoplatonism became essentially a religion, and had great impact on Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, Gnosticism and Neoplatonism and Christianity, Christian theology.


Transmission of Greek philosophy under Byzantium and Islam

During the Middle Ages, Greek ideas were largely forgotten in Western Europe due to the Migration Period, which resulted in a decline in literacy. In the Byzantine Empire Greek ideas were preserved and studied, and not long after the first major expansion of Islam, however, the Abbasid caliphs authorized the gathering of Greek manuscripts and hired translators to increase their prestige. Islamic philosophy, Islamic philosophers such as Al-Kindi (Alkindus), Al-Farabi (Alpharabius), Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes) reinterpreted these works, and during the High Middle Ages Greek philosophy re-entered the West through Latin translations of the 12th century, translations from Arabic to Latin and also from the Byzantine Empire.Lindberg, David. (1992) ''The Beginnings of Western Science''. University of Chicago Press
p. 162
The re-introduction of these philosophies, accompanied by the new Arabic commentaries, had a great influence on Medieval philosophy, Medieval philosophers such as Thomas Aquinas.


See also

* Ancient philosophy * Byzantine philosophy * Dehellenization * English words of Greek origin * International scientific vocabulary * List of ancient Greek philosophers * Translingualism * Transliteration of Greek into English


Notes


References

* * Nikolaos Bakalis (2005). ''Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics Analysis and Fragments'', Trafford Publishing * John Burnet
''Early Greek Philosophy''
1930. * * * William Keith Chambers Guthrie, ''A History of Greek Philosophy: Volume 1, The Earlier Presocratics and the Pythagoreans'', 1962. * Søren Kierkegaard, ''On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates'', 1841. * A.A. Long. ''Hellenistic Philosophy.'' University of California, 1992. (2nd Ed.) *
Martin Litchfield West Martin Litchfield West, (23 September 1937 – 13 July 2015) was a British philologist and Classics, classical scholar. In recognition of his contribution to scholarship, he was awarded the Order of Merit in 2014. West wrote on Music of Ancient ...
, ''Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient'', Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1971. *
Martin Litchfield West Martin Litchfield West, (23 September 1937 – 13 July 2015) was a British philologist and Classics, classical scholar. In recognition of his contribution to scholarship, he was awarded the Order of Merit in 2014. West wrote on Music of Ancient ...
, ''The East Face of Helicon: West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth'', Oxford [England] ; New York: Clarendon Press, 1997.


Further reading

* Clark, Stephen. 2012. ''Ancient Mediterranean Philosophy: An Introduction.'' New York: Bloomsbury. * Curd, Patricia, and D.W. Graham, eds. 2008. ''The Oxford Handbook of Presocratic Philosophy.'' New York: Oxford Univ. Press. * Gaca, Kathy L. 2003. ''The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics, and Political Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity.'' Berkeley: University of California Press. * Garani, Myrto and David Konstan eds. 2014. ''The Philosophizing Muse: The Influence of Greek Philosophy on Roman Poetry.'' Pierides, 3. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. * Gill, Mary Louise, and Pierre Pellegrin. 2009. ''A Companion to Ancient Greek Philosophy.'' Oxford: Blackwell. * Hankinson, R.J. 1999. ''Cause and Explanation in Ancient Greek Thought.'' Oxford: Oxford University Press. * Bettany Hughes, Hughes, Bettany. 2010. ''The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life.'' London: Jonathan Cape. * Kahn, C.H. 1994. ''Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology.'' Indianapolis, IN: Hackett * Luchte, James. 2011. ''Early Greek Thought: Before the Dawn.'' New York: Continuum. * Martín-Velasco, María José and María José García Blanco eds. 2016. ''Greek Philosophy and Mystery Cults.'' Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. * Nightingale, Andrea W. 2004. ''Spectacles of Truth in Classical Greek Philosophy: Theoria in its Cultural Context.'' Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press. * O’Grady, Patricia. 2002. ''Thales of Miletus''. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. * Preus, Anthony. 2010. ''The A to Z of Ancient Greek Philosophy.'' Lanham, MD: Scarecrow. * Reid, Heather L. 2011. ''Athletics and Philosophy in the Ancient World: Contests of Virtue.'' Ethics and Sport. London; New York: Routledge. * Wolfsdorf, David. 2013. ''Pleasure in Ancient Greek Philosophy. Key Themes in Ancient Philosophy.'' Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.


External links

*
Ancient Greek Philosophy
entry in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Ancient Greek Philosophers
Worldhistorycharts.com

* [https://plato.stanford.edu/index.html Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
Ancient Greek Philosophy and important Greek philosophers
Hellenism.Net {{DEFAULTSORT:Ancient Greek Philosophy Ancient Greek philosophy, Ancient philosophy by culture, Greek