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> History of philosophy Issue: 2005-3 Section: Other




He was born in Stagira and taught by Plato. When Plato died, Aristotle returned to his native Macedonia, where he is supposed to have participated in the education of Philip's son, Alexander (the Great). He went back to Athens with Alexander's approval in 335 and established his own school at the Lyceum, spending most of the rest of his life engaged there in research, teaching, and writing. The aim of Aristotle's logical treatises (known collectively as the Organon) was to develop a universal method of reasoning by means of which it would be possible to learn everything there is to know about reality. In Metaphysics Aristotle tried to justify the entire enterprise by grounding it all in an abstract study of being. Although Aristotle rejected the Platonic theory of forms, he defended his own vision of ultimate reality, including the eternal existence of substance. On The Soul uses the notion of a hylomorphic composite to provide a detailed account of the functions exhibited by living things — vegetable, animal, and human — and explains the use of sensation and reason to achieve genuine knowledge. That Aristotle was interested in more than a strictly scientific exploration of human nature is evident from the discussion on literary art (particularly tragedy) in Poetics and the methods of persuasion in Rhetorics.

Philosophy is one of the oldest studies in the World. The name comes from the Greek philosophos: lover of wisdom. The term, however, has acquired several related meanings: (1) the study of the truths or principles underlying all knowledge, being, and reality; (2) a particular system of philosophical doctrine; (3) the critical evaluation of such fundamental doctrines;(4) the study of the principles of a particular branch of knowledge; (5) a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs and (6) a philosophical spirit or attitude. It is divided into 3 main parts – Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy and Modern Philosophy. Ancient Philosophy is thought usually referred to as – Greek, Hellenistic and Late one. But you’ll ask why the Greeks? Well the answer lies in their culture. The Greeks had a very rich mythology and that lead to self-justifying and self-judgment. The second age – Hellenistic Philosophy overlaps the Hellenistic Period (from Alexander the Great, d.323, to Cleopatra, d.30 b.C.) and the Early Roman Empire (30 BC to the death of Alexander Severus, 235 a.D.).


Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas was the student of Albert the Great, a brilliant Dominican experimentalist. Aquinas reintroduced Aristotelian philosophy to Christianity. He believed that there was no contradiction between faith and secular reason. He believed that Aristotle had achieved the pinnacle in the human striving for truth and thus adopted Aristotle's philosophy as a framework in constructing his theological and philosophical outlook. He was a professor at the prestigious University of Paris. Thomas Aquinas was a contemporary of St Bonaventure, whose approach differed significantly from Aquinas'.


After Socrates' death, his disciple Plato developed the first comprehensive philosophical system and founded the Academy, the first formal philosophical school. Plato contended that knowledge must regard universals (that is, of general types or kinds) and not particulars order to know a particular in living thing, the individual must first know what it is in general. Otherwise he or she will not be able to recognize the particular characteristics in that living thing. These universals, Plato claimed, were the basic elements from which the world was formed. They are called the Forms, or Platonic Ideas. Mathematics provides the most obvious case of these Forms. They are known not by sense perception but by reasoning. They are known by the mind, not by bodily organs. The world of Platonic Ideas is the unchanging Forms of things. The philosopher should turn away from this world of appearance and concentrate on the world of Forms. Plato, in his most famous work, The Republic, said that the world would be perfect when philosophers were kings and kings were philosophers. He believed that the philosopher-kings would know what justice really is, and, because of their knowledge of the Forms, they could then achieve justice in all societies.


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