Who are we? How can we be happy? Does the universe have a purpose? Greek philosophers approached the big questions of life sometimes in a genuine scientific way, sometimes in mystic ways, but always in an imaginative fashion. Pythagoras considered a charlatan for claiming the doctrine of reincarnation, a half-naked Socrates haranguing people in... [continue reading]
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Bust of the Greek philosopher Plato, mid-1st century CE copy from a 4th century BCE original statue by Silanion. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
Protagoras of Abdera (c.485-415 BCE) is considered the greatest of the Sophists of ancient Greece. A Sophist was a teacher of rhetoric, politics, and logic who served as a private tutor to the youth of the upper classes. As Greece, particularly Athens, was extremely litigious, a knowledge of the art of public speaking was highly... [continue reading]
Pythagoras (ca. 571- ca. 497 BCE) was a Greek philosopher born on the island of Samos, off Asia Minor, where his ancestors had settled after leaving Phlius, a city in the northwest Peloponnese, after the civil war there in 380 BCE. While this 'fact’ of Pythagoras’ life is held to be true, it, like so much else written of the man, is impossible to verify... [continue reading]
published on 26 April 2012
The famous`School of Athens' by Raphael, painted between 1510-1511 CE, depicting all of the major philosophers of antiquity with Plato and Aristotle at the centre. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A mid-2nd century CE copy of a Greek original depicting the Greek philosopher Socrates. (The Vatican Museums, Rome).
Socrates (469/470-399 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and is considered the father of western philosophy. Plato was his most famous student and would teach Aristotle who would then tutor Alexander the Great. By this progression, Greek philosophy, as first developed by Socrates, was spread throughout the known world during Alexander's conquests.  ... [continue reading]
submitted on 17 June 2014
ANCIENT SOURCES: The Dialogues of Plato (any edition), especially Apology, Euthyphro, Crito, Charmides, Laches, Protagoras Xenophon (any edition): Apology, Symposium,…
Traditionally regarded as the first Western philosopher and mathematician, Thales of Miletus (a Greek colony on the west coast of present day Turkey) lived c. 585 BCE. He accurately predicted the solar eclipse of May 28, 585 BCE and was known as a skilled astronomer, geometer, statesman and sage. Thales, it is said, was the first to ask the question... [continue reading]
Xenophanes of Colophon (ca. 570-ca.478 BCE) was a Greek philosopher born fifty miles north of Miletus, a city famed for the birth of philosophy and home to the first Western philosopher, Thales. He is considered one of the most important of the so-called Pre-Socratic philosophers for his development and synthesis of the earlier work... [continue reading]
Zeno of Citium (c. 336 – 265 BCE) was a Greek philosopher and the founder of the Stoic School of philosophy, born in the Phonecian-Greek city of Citium on Cyprus in the same year that Alexander the Great ascended to the throne of Macedonia. His father was a merchant who travelled often to Athens, and Zeno naturally took up his father’s profession... [continue reading]