Greek Philosophy Essay

Submitted By Heatherly777
Words: 779
Pages: 4

Heather Zinck
Kim Bauman
Humanities 1301
24, January 2014
Understanding Greek Philosophy In the complexity of Greek Philosophy, it is best to take a look into the life of Socrates first. Socrates, (469-399 BCE), was among three very influential philosophers for the Greeks and his work is still studied at length today. He believed in enjoying life and also that truth, beauty, and justice have objective content and that we are born with an innate understanding of their existence. (www.watson.org). The term Socratic Irony came from Socrates claiming that he knew nothing and this form of feigning ignorance was his way of letting all know that he had no set doctrine. Eventually his outspoken disregard for the government caused his enemies to bring him to trial. He was charged with corrupting the youth of Athens and with impiety. Socrates was found guilty and sentenced to death. Although Socrates never wrote a word, his devoted student Plato, recorded Socrates last month of life while he was in prison. Socrates stayed true to his beliefs and refused to recant any of his former statements. Plato wrote about his beloved teacher in the Apology, the Phaedo, and the Crito. Socrates major contribution to Greek philosophy was to redirect inquiries away from the natural sciences and toward the contemplation of systems of ethics and questions of ethical conduct (www.watson.org). Plato, (427-347 BCE), was born into a wealthy, highly political family. He is also considered one of the most influential Greek philosophers in Western civilization. Plato expanded on the beliefs and teachings of Socrates in all of his writings. He travelled to the Greek city of Syracuse as a young man where he encountered followers of Pythagoras, their beliefs about the soul and the afterlife, greatly influenced Plato. After this trip, Plato returned to Athens and later he founded his school named after Academus, a mythical hero. His academy was among the first organized institutions in Western civilization for higher education. Plato remained at the academy for twenty years, and then returned to Syracuse for a short time. He composed over twenty dialogues during his career and a series of philosophical letters. Many of Plato’s works were lost during the Middle Ages, and then resurfaced in the 14th and 15th centuries. One of his most famous writings, The Republic, is said to have had the biggest impact on European History, second only to Aristotle. Aristotle, (384-322 B.C.E.), a famous Greek philosopher, had many different beliefs and his high standard for man is evident in all his work. He made a great contribution to ethics, a branch of philosophy that sets forth the principles of human conduct. The answer to “the good life,” or the Greek word eudaimonia, means both the good life and happiness, is the only goal that should be reached as a means to an end instead of a means to any other end. Since happiness is the pursuit of every human life, Aristotle believed that this…