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Greek Philosophy by Mind Map: Greek Philosophy
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Greek Philosophy


Socrates early interest in natural philosophy progessed into an intense search for wisdom, knowledge , and virtue.  He believed that he was the wisest man for acknowledging his own ignorance.

469-399 B.C.E.

conversation and cross examination

"How should one live"

He sought the universal definition of qualities that improve the soul, such things as virtue, impiety, and justice, by questioning and challenging the people who claimed to have, or understand, or teach them.

attacked sophist

Unlike the professional Sophist of the time, Socrates pointedly declined to accept payment for his work with students

Socratic Method

is a form of philosophical inquiry in which the questioner explores the implications of others' positions, to stimulate rational thinking and illuminate ideas. This method often involves an oppositional discussion in which the defense of one point of view is pitted against another; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, strengthening the inquirer's own point.

Athenian hoplite

Though little is known of him, it is known that he served as an Athenian hoplite.

Teacher of Plato

Though much is not known of Socrates, much of his understandings can be found through his pupil PLato.


"As for me, all I know is that I know nothing."


Suggested that the intellectual soul exist prior to birth and survives death.  PLato also believed that true knowledge can never be achieved through sense perception of the material world because some concepts cannot be apprehended through sense perception and because sense perception can be deceptive and illusionary.


Ethics and politics

The Academy

Plato founded the Academy in Athens , which was the first European university, and in which philosophy, mathematics, politics, psychology, and aesthetics were studied.


"A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers."


He saw potential and purpose in everything from inanimate objects to human beings to planetary movements, and he sought to identify and understand the ways in which this potential could be actualized, or fulfilled.

384-322 B.C.E

Plato's Pupil

Although Aristotle was Plato's pupil, he sharply disagreed with Plato's ideas.

"While both are dear, piety requires us to honor truth above our friends"


Aristotle founded the School Lyceum, philosophers from this school were called Peripatetics.

The complete works of Aristotle

The only piece of his work left.  His most famous works concerns ethics, politics, metaphysics, rhetoric, and poetics.

the Nicomachean Ethics

He was deeply concerned about ethics and politics, and wrote the first systematically ethical treatise.


"A friend is a second self."

Father of botany, zoology, physics, linguistics, and logic.

Both scientist and philosopher

Presocratic Philosophy-Before Socrates

Two fundamental assumptions

If we wish to understand things thoroughly we must understand its origins.

a reasoned explanation of causes of things is both possible and profitable.

Presocratic Philosophers

They are also called natural Philosophers, because they were concerned with the nature of reality, the physical world, and explanations for change.  Presocratic Philosophy originated in Ionia.

Early Pre-Socratic philosophers sought to identify a primarily material substance of the world.

Thales, 620-527 B.C., Father of Philosophy, Had no written records, Believed that all things were made of the same basic element, water., More mathematician than Philosopher, Remembered for his famous theorem

Anaximander, 610-546 B.C., Thought the universe came from one substance, Came from Miletus, Questioned mythes, the heaven and the gods, First meteorologist, founded the science of geography and astronomy, apeiron

Anaximenes, 585-525 B.C

Heraclitus, 535-475 B.c., embraced change as constant movement between opposites within an ordered pair reasonable cosmological system., Quote, "it is not possible to step twice in the same river."

Democritus, 460-370 B.C.E.

Empedocles, 484 B.C.E.-424 B.C.E., universe made from four elements

Parmenides, 585 B.C.E.

Pre-Socratic philosophy and Geometry, Pythagoras 571-497, Pythagoreans, Pythagorean Theorem, In any right triangle, the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs, 1. Is the world governed by abstract mathematical principles or not, 2. How can we use this knowledge to do something practical., The universal formula

Hellenistic Philosophy


Believed that the cosmos and nature are merely atoms at work.  they believed that there is no immortal soul to save, no divine plan or purpose to assertion, and no religious claim to fret over. 

sought to live in accordance with this understanding of the universe by seeking moderate pleasure in life.

Epicurus 341-270 B.C.E.


Stoics believed that human beings can control only one thing: their own reactions.  They argued that a divinely rational principle, not the random swerving of atoms, determines the cosmos and events.  Stoics also argued that virtue, rather than pleasure, is the chief good, and they sought a state of calm by living virtuously and rationally in accordance with cosmic order, or with natural law.

Zeno 336-265 B.C.E


Cicero 106-43 B.C.E


Skeptics claimed that human reason is incapable of providing us with knowledge about the substance of things, and we can only know how things appear to us, through our senses.  Because the same things appear differently to different people. 

Pyrrho- 360-270 B.C.E


Cynics claimed that virtue is wisdom, but this wisdom is expressed in negative terms.  It is independence of al possessions and pleasures, the absence of desire, and freedom from wants.  they argued that virtue is sufficient by itself for happiness.  They held that money, power, and passions are not truly good, and that suffering, poverty, and contempt are not truly evil. 

Diogenes of Sinope- 400-325 B.C.E


Comes from Greek word Philo-loving and sophia-wisdom.

A philosopher seeks wisdom, and philosophy is the study of ideas including moral, religious, and scientific ideas.

a process of rigorous inquiry, and structured argumentation through which human assumptions, opinions, and beliefs can be revealed and examined.

Three types of Philosophy

Metaphysics-Existence, being, and reality


Ethics-Living well and flourishing as a human

Early Philosophy

Same as Presocratic Philosophy










Study of the nature of the universe.  They wanted to understand how the universe and the world around them originated, what they were made of, and what forces or elements were operating in them.

Study of nature

Sophists-"wise guys", "learned experts"

They claimed to be able to teech "skills."  Sophist were more concerned with practical success than with either speculation or natural philosophy.  They concerned themselves with such issues as moral behavior, the relationship between the individual and society, and the nature of wisdom. Philosophy attempted to define and educate good leaders and citizens. RHETORIC, or the art of using words effectively in writing and speaking, became an important part of education.

Believed that knowledge is situational or relative.

used rhetorical argumentation to point out contradictions in traditional values and knowledge.

Sophist Philosophers

The sophists were itinerant teachers who accepted fees in return for instruction in oratory and rhetoric, and many claimed they could teach anything and its opposite (thesis and antithesis). Another aspect of their method was the ability to make the weaker argument the stronger. The term sophist in classical Greek was a general appellation denoting a "wise man." They were important figures in Greece in the 4th and 5th centuries, and their social success was great.

Protagoras 490-420 B.C.E, Quotes, As to gods, I have no way of knowing either that they exist or do not exist, or what they are like. Protagoras, Man is the measure of all things., The Athenians are right to accept advice from anyone, since it is incumbent on everyone to share in that sort of excellence, or else there can be no city at all., First Sophist, Taught grammar, rhetorical, and interpretations of poetry., Believed that...., 1. That man is the measure of all things., Each mans opinion differs, what is true for one person can be false for another., 2. That he could make the worse argument seem stronger, 3. That one could not tell if the gods exist or not.

Gorgias 483-376 B.C.E, Sicilian Philosopher, orator, and rhetorician, Quote, In arguing one should meet serious pleading with humor, and humor with serious pleading.

Isocrates 436-338 B.C.E., Isocrates Philosophy, Quote, Reality is immediate human experience: "What you see is what you get."

Athenian Philosophy

Athens; center of Greek Philosophy

Shift from cosmology to human affairs

They concerned themselves with such issues as moral behavior, the relationship between the individual and society, and the nature of wisdom. Philosophy attempted to define and educate good leaders and citizens. RHETORIC, or the art of using words effectively in writing and speaking, became an important part of education. A number of learned men, called SOPHISTS, taught rhetoric and the various branches of philosophy in Athens.


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