A Major Greek Legacy --- Philosophy


        Ancient Greece left many valuable legacies to us, and Greek philosophy is a big gift that we have received from the Ancient Greece. There were many Greek philosophies that developed by many famous Greek philosophers. These philosophies still live on until today, even some of  them are used by us to solve the problems in many fields.

Socrates
         In Ancient Greece, there were three important philosophers who were named Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. They had different opinions of philosophy and achieved differently. But interestingly, some of them have relationships with another one. Socrates was one of the most powerful thinkers in history. He believed that absolute standards and justice. In his life time, he encouraged Greeks to go further and question themselves and their mortal characters. Socrates ever said: ''The unexamined life is not worthy life.''(World History, p124)and "There is only one good, knowledge; and one evil, ignorance.''(World History, p125) The most significant achievement that he has done was inventing a method of teaching by a question-and-answer approach is known as Socratic method. But the majority of citizens could not understand this strange old man and his idea. Even though his idea might be a good way to force Athens and help them to think about their value and actions. But unfortunately, many Greeks thought his ideas will corrupt the youth of Athens and neglect in the city's gods. To avoid these guesses happened, the jury condemned him to death.
 
Plato
        Plato was another philosopher who had studied with Socrates for approximately 28 years. Sometime between 385 and 380 B.C., Plato wrote his famous book, The Republic. In this book, he showed his idea by set forth his vision of a perfectly governed society, all citizens would be dropped naturally into three groups: farmers and artisans, warriors and the ruling class. He thought the person with the greatest insight and intellect from the ruling class would be chosen philosopher--King. His writing dominated philosophic thought in Europe for nearly 1,500 years. In his lifetime, his other great achievement was founding a school. The school that Plato established, The Academy, lasted for about 900 years. His only rivals in importance were Socrates and his own pupil, Aristotle.

Aristotle
        Aristotle was one of the brightest students at Plato's academy. In 335 B.C., Aristotle opened his own school in Athens called Lyceum, but it eventually rivaled the Academy. Aristotle questioned the nature of the world and of human belief, thought and knowledge. He invented a method for arguing according to rules of logic, he later applied his method to problems in fields of psychology, physics and biology. His work provides the basis of the scientific method used today. One of Aristotle's students was the Alexander the Great who was the king of Macedonia. A sentence that Aristotle has ever argued is a good proof of his idea: ''He who studied how things originated and came into being...will achieve the clearest view of them."(World History, p125)

        Many philosophies have developed in Hellenistic Period, but they were different and affected Greeks differently. Like earlier Greek philosophers, Hellenistic scholars believed that the universe followed rational principles which were the fundamental truth that based on the reasons. They felt that philosophy offered the best way to understand these principles. The teaching of Plato and Aristotle continued to be very influential in Hellenistic Period, which were concerned about the perfectly governed society and the method of logic which used for problems in the field of psychology, physics and biology. In third century B.C., however, new schools of philosophy were concerned with how people should live their lives. Two major philosophies developed during the Hellenistic Period-- Stoicism and Epicureanism.
 
        Stoicism and Epicureanism have been two important philosophies during the Hellenistic Period. A Greek philosopher named Zeno founded the school of philosophy called Stoicism.The Stoiciam taught that people should live with the nature law and they should be forbid to desire the power and wealth. Because these desires were dangerous that will distract and corrupt people. Stoicism explained nature and provides an ethical approach to life. This philosophy also promoted social unity and encouraged its followers to focus on things they could control. This doctrine appealed to people of many different races, cultures and economic backgrounds. Epicureanism was a school of thought which founded by Epicurus. He taught the universe was composed of atoms and ruled by gods who had no interest in humans. The five senses(see, smell, hear, touch and taste) perceived is the only real object that can be trusted. Epicurus taught that people should avoid pain and seek the pleasure. They can get whatever they want, but only a few. This is called moderation.
 
        In my opinion, Epicureanism is more realistic. In the real life, human desires are very hard to avoid. Nobody can promise there is no desire ever arisen in one's mind. Therefore, people will feel good and happily to get something they want moderately. In addition, when we live the life, we always want to get safe, happiness and avoid pain. Eupicureanism taught us all of these ideas and they still lived on today. Consequently, I think Epicureanism is more realistic.
 
        "Ancient Greece'' sounds very distant place in time, but these Greek legacies live on and around us today. The Greek philosophers have formed ideas about how life began and what was most important in life, which is known as Greek philosophy (love of wisdom). These philosophies impacted the world and affected humans in many fields. I think these ideas will continue to live on firmly in the future time.

Comments