From the Greek 'philo’, Love, and 'Sophia’, wisdom, Philosophy is, literally defined, “the love of wisdom”. More broadly understood, it is the study of the most basic and the most profound matters of human existence. Philosophy, in the West, began in the Greek colony of Miletus with Thales (who, according to ancient sources... [continue reading]
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Plato, whose dialogues on Truth, Good and Beauty have significantly shaped Western thought and religion, wrote and taught under a nickname. His real name was Aristocles. Names In Ancient Greece In ancient Greece a child was given the name of the grand-parent; the grand-father if a boy and grand-mother if a girl. The remembrance of the dead was a sacred... [continue reading]
Plato's Euthyphro is a dialogue between Socrates and the young 'prophet' Euthyphro outside the court in Athens just before Socrates is to go to trial. As Socrates has been charged by the Athenians with 'impiety', and as Euthypho claims to understand piety perfectly (5a) Socrates, sarcastically, asks the younger man to explain "what is piety and what is impiety?"... [continue reading]
In his famous work Republic, Plato discusses the concept of the `True Lie' or the `Lie in the Soul'. Through a conversation between Socrates and Adeimantus (Plato's brother) Plato defines the `true lie' as believing wrongly about the most important things in one's life. The `lie in the soul' can be understood as Plato's answer... [continue reading]
Protagoras of Abdera (ca. 490-ca.420 BCE) is most famous for his claim that "Of all things the measure is Man, of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not"(DK 80B1) usually rendered simply as "Man is the Measure of All Things". In maintaining this stance he pre-figures the existential relativism of writers like... [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]
Sicily evokes the fiery majesty Mt. Etna, the wine-dark hues of the surrounding sea, and the delicious flavors of arancini and limoncello. Situated at a pivotal intersection between Greece, Italy, and North Africa, Sicily is not only the largest island in the Mediterranean, but the site of over 5,000 years of human history. Few are aware... [continue reading]
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]
Josiah Ober, Stanford University
published on 07 November 2011
A primary motive for certain Athenian rule changes in the direction of increased legal access and impartiality in the fourth century B.C. was Athenian awareness of the increased instrumental value of foreigners. New Athenian rules were aimed at persuading foreigners to do business in Athens. Foreigners gained greater access to some Athenian institutions... [continue reading]