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Czech Technical University in Prague

Faculty of Electrical Engineering


Department of Electroenergetics

Philosophy Summary

Author:
Minh-Quan Dang

January 12, 2016


Prague

CONTENTS

Contents
Glossary

1 An
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5

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2 Milesian school
2.1 Thales of Miletus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2 Anaximander of Miletus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3 Anaximenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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9

overlook on western ancient philosophy


Philosophy definition . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Branches of philosophy . . . . . . . . . . . .
Philosophy by period . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mythological background of philosophy . . .
Pre-Socratic Philosophy . . . . . . . . . . .

3 Pythagoreans school
3.1 Pythagoras of Samos .
3.2 Alcmaeon from Croton
3.3 Philolaos . . . . . . . .
3.4 Archytas of Tarentum
3.5 Heraclitus of Ephesus .

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Colophon
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5 Pluralist
5.1 Empedocles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2 Anaxagoras from Clazomenae . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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6 Atomism
6.1 Leucippus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6.2 Democritus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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7 The
7.1
7.2
7.3

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4 Eleatic school
4.1 Xenophanes of
4.2 Parmenides .
4.3 Melissus . . .
4.4 Zeno of Elea .

Sophist
Protagoras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Gorgias . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Thrasymachus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

8 Classical period
8.1 Socratic School .
8.2 Megarian School
8.3 Cynic School . .
8.4 Cyrenaic School .

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9 Platonism
9.1 Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
9.2 Aristotle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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10 Epicureanism

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11 Stoicism

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12 Scepticism

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References

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CONTENTS

Glossary
1. Mysticism: Mysticism in its simplest and most essential meaning is a type of
religion which puts the emphasis on immediate awareness of relation with God,
direct and intimate consciousness of Divine Presence. [1]
2. Mythology : is a collection of myths, hiespecially one belonging to a particular
religious or cultural tradition of a group of peopletheir collection of stories they
tell to explain nature, history, and customsor the study of such myths.[2]
3. Ontology: ontology deals with questions concerning what entities exist or may
be said to exist, and how such entities may be grouped, related within a hierarchy,
and subdivided according to similarities and differences.
4. anthropomorphism: treating gods, animals or objects as if they had human
qualities.

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1 AN OVERLOOK ON WESTERN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

An overlook on western ancient philosophy

1.1

Philosophy definition

What is philosophy? The word philosophy comes from the Greek words philein-to
love and sophia-wisdom. This term is said by Phythagoras when he called himself a
lover of wisdom. But philosophy has been both seeking of wisdom and the wisdom
sought.The first purpose is to explain everything in a rational way, to find a general
principle for all facts. This thinking is very close to science.[1] But the difference
between philosophy with Mythodology or Mysticism is its critical systematic processes.

1.2

Branches of philosophy

Metaphysic deals with subject-matter is being as such, is the first causes


of things and which does not change. (Ontology, Cosmology, Cosmogony, Determinism and free will, Identity and change, Mind and matter, Necessity and
possibility, Religion and spirituality)[2]
Epistemology episteme, meaning knowledge, understanding, and logos, meaning word) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of
knowledge and is also referred to as theory of knowledge. Much of the debate
in this field has focused on the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge
and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification.
(Noetics, Gnosiology ).[2]
Ethics is moral philosophy, ethics investigates the questions What is the best
way for people to live? and What actions are right or wrong in particular
circumstances?.In practice, ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality,
by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice,
justice and crime.[2]
Aesthetics dealing with the nature of art, beauty, and taste, with the creation
and appreciation of beauty.[2]
Philosophy of law studies basic questions about law and legal systems, such as
what is law?, what are the criteria for legal validity?, what is the relationship
between law and morality?, and many other similar questions.[2]
Logic concerned with the use and study of valid reasoning. Logic is often divided into three parts: inductive reasoning, abductive reasoning, and deductive
reasoning.[2].
Political philosophy is the study of topics such as politics, liberty, justice,
property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they
are, why (or even if) they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government
legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it
should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate
government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever.

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1 AN OVERLOOK ON WESTERN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

Social philosophy is the study of questions about social behavior and interpretations of society and social institutions in terms of ethical values rather than
empirical relations. The social contexts for political, legal, moral, and cultural
questions, and to the development of novel theoretical frameworks, from social
ontology to care ethics to cosmopolitan theories of democracy, human rights,
gender equity and global justice. [2]
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the
mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness, and
their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mindbody
problem, i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as one
key issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the
nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body, such as
how consciousness is possible and the nature of particular mental states. [2]
Philosophy of language is concerned with four central problems: the nature
of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language and reality.

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1 AN OVERLOOK ON WESTERN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

1.3

Philosophy by period

Figure 1: Period of philosophy

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1 AN OVERLOOK ON WESTERN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

Figure 2: Period of philosophy

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1 AN OVERLOOK ON WESTERN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

Figure 3: Period of philosophy

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1 AN OVERLOOK ON WESTERN ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY

1.4

Mythological background of philosophy

Mythos in Greek is speech, tale or story. Myths are not true in literal sense but
they describe the facts of us, of our surrounding world and how we interpret the world.
They contain inside it the typical or archetype model of insight or understanding. The
truth in myths are hidden in figurative and metaphoric symbols.
The role of myth as a story is for old people narrate to their offspring. In
myths they give the younger answer for many question even rule and regulation which
play significant roles in human life and the life of society. Many facts is explained by
connecting to supernatural being, heroes, gods. For that reason, myth is used as basis
of religion.
The philosophers desire to go further and attempt to formulate truth explicitly
(metaphysics). This attempt eventually leads to science but if we look back into myths
we could see the truth is hidden inside the fog of mystery and fantasy. Things are
only myths once maybe have the truth in it. Myths before writing is invented is only
by mouth spreading. Only their existence until now can proof that they must contain
certain meaning in it.
Myth in ancient Greek were formed into 2 great epics (the Iliad and the Odyssey)
by Homers poet (8-7th century BC). In his poet, the god is immortal and merely
stronger than humans. They demand obedience. Fate is applied to god as to human. God interferes with human affair and punish people for their lack of moderation.
Homers poet is anthropomorphism that means all gods, or nature behave in a
unpredictable way but not follow laws.
Another ancient Greek poet is Hesiod (8th century BC). His 2 works are Works
and Days and the Theogony. He divides time in to 5 ages which is similar to the Indian
and the gods will control nature and behave in a less human way than Homers idea.
Instead the gods commands are aim for the good of mankind.

1.5

Pre-Socratic Philosophy

The pre-Socratic philosophers had attention to nature (Physis) and can be considered as primitive scientists. Under certain places when several condition converge the
philosophy was born. The objective conditions for born of philosophy is :
1. SCHOLE the free time designed for self-cultivation.
2. Development of language to describe abstractive idea
3. Homers methodology - anthropomorphism
4. Culture exchange
5. Wealth
6. Hospitable climate
7. Freedom
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2 MILESIAN SCHOOL

2
2.1

Milesian school
Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus (636-546 BC) is the first philosopher and founder of Milesian
school. He was was proficient in mathematics and physics. He found Thales theorem
about right triangle formed by 3 points on a circle. Thales predicted a solar eclipse in
585 BC (11A5), introduced geometry into Greece from Egypt (11A11), and produced
some engineering marvels.
Thales philosophical approach: The entire world can be explained as various
forms of one single elementary cosmic matter call ARCHE.. For Thales the
Arche is water. The actual reason is unclear. The most important thing is he had raised
the question about nature of the world and shift the explanation from mythological
approach to a scientific approach. However Thales still accepted the existence of soul
(PSYCHE) like in the case of magnetism.
Thales sees nature as a complete and self-ordering system, and sees no reason to call
on divine intervention from outside the natural world to supplement his accountwater
itself may be divine, but it is not something that intervenes in the natural world from
outside [3]
Thales is a monism who attempt to view everything from the position of a single
principle. His Reductionistic approach is very important and it is basis of all science
and technology today. If we want to explain some unknown phenomenon we reduce it
to known phenomena.

2.2

Anaximander of Miletus

Anaximander of Miletus (610-549 BC)is the student of Thales and inherited


his masters idea about Arche. For Anaximander, Arche is APEIRON - the infinite
or limitless and indeterminate. He tried to explain the process of the formulation of
things form APEIRON as separation. Apeiron is identify with matter (HYLE) of divine
origin.
Anaximander is reported to have invented the gnomon, that raised piece of a sundial
whose shadow marks time (12A1), and to have been the first to draw a map of the
inhabited world (12A6).
Anaximanders notion of cosmos are cutting edge ideas. First, he said that the
celestial bodies make full circles and pass also beneath the Earth. Second, the Earth
floats freely and unsupported in space. And third, the celestial bodies are located at
various distance and they lie behind each other.
Anaximanders evolution theory is quiet similar to Darwins theory. The life came
from the sea and time to time it come out onto dry land. He said In the beginning
men were born from creatures of a different sort, because the other animals quickly
manage to feed themselves, but man alone requires a long period of nursing; hence had
he been like that in the beginning too, he would never have survived.

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2 MILESIAN SCHOOL

2.3

Anaximenes

Anaximenes (585-528 BC) said Arche is Apeiron and it is AER - air. By


changing the concentration (MANOSIS-rarefraction and PYKNOSIS-condensation) of
air everything is formed. From epistemological view Anaximenes has stated the idea
of differences in quality are caused by differences in quantity.

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3 PYTHAGOREANS SCHOOL

Pythagoreans school

3.1

Pythagoras of Samos

Pythagoras of Samos (582-494 BC) was a philosopher, mathematician, guru.


He had found a school or a religious philosophical society. This society followed many
strict rules and strange religion compared to the same era standard.
Pythagoras classified 3 way of life respected to 3 types of soul (Psyche). The lowest
class pursuit wealth, the middle class pursuit honor or fame. The highest or noble class
is philosopher who pursuit knowledge.
Pythagorean philosophical approach was spread to many disciplines then new concepts and terms is formed.
1. Mathematica is not only mathematics in nowaday meaning but it means anything which can be learned. This doctrines could be secret - ESOTERIC (not for
the public). It could be public - ACUSMATA and has the EXOTERIC (open)
character. They believe in power of knowledge and by study mathematics and
science will purified the soul.
2. Arithmos for the Greek is positive integer 1,2,3... The ratio is called LOGOS.
Numbers give forms, limit or bounds to the APEIRON. In that sense
the numbers is ARCHE. Morever they believe that the number is not only can
create anything but also can be used to differentiate one thing from another.
The Crisis of Mathematics is that the natural numbers and their ratio cannot
express all value. For this problem the irrational number is introduced. But
during the time of Pythagoras this leaded to the unthinkable mysterious infinite
boundless - Apeiron.
3. Cosmos original meaning from Homers epic is jewel or order, discipline. Pythagoras used this word for Universe because order they observed and assumed.
4. Harmonia means harmony or consonance. It unifies everything in the world.
5. Musica Phythagoras introduced concept of music of the spheres as the sounds
made by movement of transparent rotating sphere has stars attached on it.
6. Medicine body like musical instrument and health is achieved when body is in
harmony or proper ratio of certain opposite such as hot and cold, wet and dry...
7. Theoria the original meaning is theater but Pythagoras view Theoria is looking
by inner, mental sight.
8. Psyche and Metempsychosis the soul-Psyche and the body has independent relationship. The soul can immigrate to various sorts of living creaturesMetempsychosis (reincarnation).
9. Metrology Pythagoras wanted the unification of measurement and weights.

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10

3 PYTHAGOREANS SCHOOL

3.2

Alcmaeon from Croton

Alcmaeon from Cronton (5th century BC) was an astronomer and physician.
He thought that the human soul was immoral and has a similar nature to the divine
heavenly bodies and godly being- sun, planets. He performed the first autopsy and
investigated the nerves ans the brain.

3.3

Philolaos

Philolaos (5th century BC) Central fire of the universe. The planetary system
10 planets and anti-earth beneath the earth. The planets has spherical shape.

3.4

Archytas of Tarentum

Archytas of Tarentum (aprox. 428-347 BC) student of Philolaos and believe


in mathematics provided the path to the understanding of all things.
Mathematics: astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, music.
He said that the universe is infinite.

3.5

Heraclitus of Ephesus

Heraclitus of Ephesus (535-475 BC) thought Arche is fire - PYR and it is not
static but process, becoming. Everything is in a process of enternal flux and both gods
and human must be inside the flux and finally come to destruction.
EKPYROSIS the world arose from fire ended in fire and raise again.
Because the principle of the universe is flux then in the same time everything is and
is not. However even everything is changing but the remain their kernel of identity.
Human have ability to know the eternal wisdom but cannot because of strife. But
strife is the cause of change, no strife nothing can exist.

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4 ELEATIC SCHOOL

Eleatic school

The thinking of Eleatic philosophers attempt to eliminate time, change and becoming. They considered time and changes were our illusions.

4.1

Xenophanes of Colophon

Xenophanes of Colophon (570-475 BC)was the founder of Elastic school. He


refused the anthropomorphic polytheism of old Homeric religion and said there was
only one God, spherical in form and penetrating all things. He is intelligent and has
the same nature as the universe. In one hand his God presents everywhere but in the
other hand you cannot know the god presence. (Monotheism, pantheism, atheism)
His idea about nature is whatever is, always has been from eternity. So maybe at
the beginning there is always something exist and there is no nothing exist because if
nothing exist then no evidence for it existence.
He believe nature is One and without limit. One is same infinite, homogeneous
incapable of change.

4.2

Parmenides

Parmenides (540-470 BC) was the ruler of Elea. He wrote a philosophical


didactic poem PERI PHYSEOS (on nature). He rejects the reality of change. He said
if Arche exist then any change is absurd logically. He thought everything exist must
exist absolutely or not at all. The thing can be thought (NOEIN) that can be exist.
One important thought of Parmenides is we have to be careful in characterizing anything as non-being (negative attributes). Things must be characterized
by positive features what they are not by what they are not.

4.3

Melissus

Melissus (5th century BC) was a philosopher and admiral. He supported Parmenidess idea about things exist as always and he use the concept of vacuum - KENON
for nothing. Being of nothing is not being.

4.4

Zeno of Elea

Zeno of Elea (489 BC) formulated as set of paradoxes - APORIA. This paradoxes have to group against multiplicity and against motion. The arguments against
multiplicity show that the continuous cannot be composed of units even small and
many.(paradox of a line segment). Arguments concerned motion (Achilles and the
tortoise, the arrow) prove that motion was not possible.

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5 PLURALIST

5
5.1

Pluralist
Empedocles

Empedocles (490-430 BC) was a poet, philosopher and statesman. He was a


eclecticism. He was influenced by Parmenides but instead of the One he purposed
RIZOMATA - roots element as fire, air, earth and water. Also 2 principle PHILIA-love
and NEIKOS-strife created the world. Life and death is only mixture and separation
of the roots. The roots is infinite but other things is not. Empedocles also realised
that atmospheric air is something by experiment with pipette - KLEPSHYDRA

5.2

Anaxagoras from Clazomenae

Anaxagoras from Clazomenae (500-428 BC) was the one brought philosophy
to Athens. He claimed that the Sun and stars are not gods but only burning rocks.
He thought there are the ultimate element- SPERMATA. At the beginning everything
is together then mind-NOUS came and arranged them. This made him an Deism.
He tried to give a mechanical explanation for everything he could (typical feature of
materalism)
Deism is a philosophical approach explain that god provided only action at the
beginning of the world and let it develop itself.
There were several opposition to Anaxagoras about his idea of NOUS. Socrates and
Aristotle said he had not had the clear explanation on how Nous oder things and Nous
is used like a theatrical device to answer the difficult question.
Even though Anaxagoras idea is close to natural science when he try to explain
everything not as something control or create by gods but formed and operate with a
principle.

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6 ATOMISM

Atomism

Main concepts of Atomism are: Space, Atom and ANANKE (Order of Necessity)
The atomists said that the universe is not governed by purpose but by unreasonable
nature. Everything happens by fate and no free will exists.

6.1

Leucippus

Leucippus (500BC-440BC) from Miletus was the founder of atomic teaching.


He said space like a container that could be empty in some places and full in others.
Everything is made by ATOMOI- atom, which is indivisible, no space inside, many
size and shape.
The beginning of cosmos by Leucippus is eternal number of atom constantly
impinge upon each other until irregular shape atom combine into form and round atom
become soul and fire.

6.2

Democritus

Democritus (460-370 BC) from Abdera, Greece. His main works are MACROCOSMOS and MICROCOSMOS.
Physical theories about motion, all motions are result of active and passive affection.
Body and soul consisted of atoms. The sensation is caused by affect of outside atoms
(images-EIDOLA) to soul atoms. He said belief in God caused by our incapacity to
understand the phenomena we witness.

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7 THE SOPHIST

The Sophist

They were mostly professional teacher than philosophers. They teached many subject but mostly about rhetoric to young politicians. They trained to gain influence on
people and beat the opponents. They have nihilistic attitude toward truth and ethics.
About Atheism
1. Diagoras of Melos: God is used to fulfill the incapability of human.
2. Critias: religion is device of the rulers to make people comply with the laws.

7.1

Protagoras

Protagoras (480-411 BC) from Abdera. He practiced his profession for 40 years.
He believe in God but not try to reason God existence. He is the first antimetaphysicist
MAN IS THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS; OF WHAT ARE THAT THEY ARE;
OF WHAT ARE NOT THAT THEY ARE NOT.
Each individual person is the standard of what is true to him.

7.2

Gorgias

Gorgias (483-378 BC) from Sicily was a rhetorician. Influenced by Elastic school
but not follow it seriously.

7.3

Thrasymachus

Thrasymachus (4 century BC) believed justice belong to the stronger and


morality is decided by power

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8 CLASSICAL PERIOD

Classical period

8.1

Socratic School

Socrates from Athens. He was a reformer.


The Socratic method of teaching involved two stages:
1. negative stage, ask opponent question till he confess ignorance of the subject
discussed. (Socratic irony)
2. positive stage, use next series of questions to bring out some phase or aspect of
the subject. Main aim is express knowledge under concepts or definition
Socrates did not concern the natural science which is not a positive heritage of him.
Socrates though about virtue or good as knowledge and ignorance is evil or wrong.
Then he reduced ethics to epistemology.
WHATEVER EXISTS FOR A USEFUL PURPOSE MUST BE THE WORK OF
SOME INTELLIGENCE.

8.2

Megarian School

They develop the doctrines of Socrates in a one-sided way only.


Euclid of Megara (430-360BC) not the famous one, he loved controversy Reductio ad Absurdum (Reduction to the impossible) used for proofing. Epimenides
paradox of liars

8.3

Cynic School

They combined the dialectical and rhetorical method of Socratic, Eleatics and
Sophists.
1. Antisthenes (450-360BC) he denied the exist of universal object and everything is individual, unique
2. Diogenes of Sinope (403-323BC) He was student of Antisthenes. His syndrome is disoder characterized by extreme self-neglect. He practiced self-control.
- NOT TO HAVE ANY NEEDS IS GODLIKE

8.4

Cyrenaic School

They had trend to encourage the persuit of pleasure feeling and avoid painful one.
1. Aristippus founder, pleasure of body = virtue, culture, knowledge and artistic
enjoyment.
2. Hegesias happy life is illusion and pursuit pain, death. (Death-Persuader)

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9 PLATONISM

Platonism

9.1

Plato

Plato (428-347BC) from Athens was one of 3 most famous classical philosophers
and a poetic writer. He became Socratess student at the age of 20. He despaired of
democracy.
In 387 BC he founded the ACADEMY. His works include 36 dialogs. That was
discussion between Socrates with others.
Platos division of philosophy:
1. Dialectics - the science of Form in itself; a method of discovering the truth
of ideas by discussion and logical argument and by considering ideas that are
opposed to each other
2. Physic - knowledge of the Form as phenomena
3. Ethic - theory of the state, the Form in human actions and society.
Plato conclude the world as we see it is just shadow world. The real world, Platonic Forms, we reach not by sense but by intuitive consideration and by memory
(ANAMNESIS)
Plato divided various degree of reality (divided line). The lower part is visible
physical world, the upper part is the ineligible world - world of the Forms (Ideal).
Later he was influenced by Pythagorean and though Form could be interpreted in
terms of mathematics.
Platos approach to physic and cosmology: The world is animated by a divine
World-soul, which do everything for the best. The world at the beginning is CHAOS
and then divine craftsman- DEMIURGOS made the world. The matter made by 5
solids - Platonic bodies ( Octahedron, cube, tetrahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron),
Platos Ethic: mans highest good is happiness and can be archive by practice virtue
and getting wisdom.
Platos Idea state has 3 orders: ruler, producers and warriors. After that he removed
the role of ruler and replace by impersonal law.

9.2

Aristotle

Aristotle (ARISTOTELES)(384-322 BC) from Stagira, Greece. At the age of


17 Aristotle went to Athens and became student of Plato at the Academy. He was the
teacher of Alexander the Great. He founded the Lyceum in Athens.
Aristotles works:
First period when he was under Plato instruction, Aristotle wrote poetic language
with Platonic vision of the world (predetermined, fiction)
Second period he formed the scientific writing style and turned away from Platonism.
Third period when he was in Lyceum, Aristotle composed great number of writing.
Aristotles Philosophy:
1. Logic (Analytic): double-valued logic (right or not right)
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9 PLATONISM

2. Theoretical philosophy (Metaphysic, Mathematic..):


Ultimate causes of being are Material, Formal, Efficient and Final cause.
Aristotle said any substance is a composite of form (MORPHE) and matter
(HYLE). They exist together and never exist separately.
According to Aristotle, all things were analyzable down to the basic bodies (air,
fire ,earth, water). Motion of things, action contain inside its material. Things
move to reach it nature places and then stop when they had reached.
About time and space, time is connected with movement and change. If we are
unaware of change then we also unaware of time.
Earth is the center of the whole comic system, spherical and stationary.
3. Practical philosophy
Ethics: Intellectual virtual (understanding, science, wisdom, art, and practical
wisdom)
Politics: Man is a social animal then they can only have complete happiness
within society.
Type of good government : monarchy, aristocracy, constitutional republic.
Type of wrong government: Tyranny, oligarchy, democracy.
4. Philosophy of art:
Arts purpose is imitation of nature on a higher level, more perfectly.

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REFERENCES

10

Epicureanism

11

Stoicism

12

Scepticism

References
[1] Dictionary of philosophy, http://www.ditext.com/runes/p.html.
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org.
[3] P. Curd, Presocratic philosophy, in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
(E. N. Zalta, ed.), winter 2012 ed., 2012.

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