Greek Influence On Western Philosophy

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Greek philosophy is widely considered as the beginning of organized Western thought. Mathematics, science (including biology, cosmology, and physics), political theory, psychology and more were all developed in the Greek era. Ancient Greece’s influence on philosophy is so abundant that the works of Plato are often considered the footnotes of western philosophy. In making such a bold conviction it is only to say that Ancient Greece marked the starting point for Western philosophy. In this paper I will explore the the cultural components of Greek philosophy and how it has impacted and given me a better understanding of American culture. Deep thought began with the Ancient Greeks. Of course that is not to imply that civilizations such as ancient …show more content…
Plato found himself disgusted with the political incompetence of his time. The skepticism and moral relativism he experienced in his political career are what drove him to devote his life to that of philosophy. Plato strived to construct an ideal state and to place it on a firm moral and metaphysical foundation. This foundation, he held, was the world of Forms, a world full of unchanging, and perfect objects existing in a non-natural and non-temporal dimension, a world that is the source of, and more real than, the bodily world in which we live. To know this concept, he believed, is to know the Forms, not the observable objects around us. Plato most famously captured this idea in his work Allegory of the Cave. Man’s condition was represented as being chained in a dark cave, with only the false light of a fire behind him. The only way man was able to perceive the outside world watching the shadows on the wall in front of him, without realizing that this view of actuality was limited or wrong. Plato’s writing goes on to further explain what would occur if some of the chained men were suddenly released from their captivity and let out into the world. These released men would encounter the divine light of the sun and receive reality as it “truly” is. Describing that some people would be frightened and want to immediately return to the familiar darkness of the cave while …show more content…
The individual, self-sufficiency, and peace of mind were in Epicureanism like other Hellenistic philosophies. What set Epicureanism apart was its common sense approach to life. By nature man seeks please and looks to avoid pain, so Epicurus (the man in which Epicureanism is based) deemed man’s principal good as pleasure. The emphasis that Epicurus placed on pleased earned a faulty reputation in both ancient and modern times. This is where we now have derived the term epicure, or a person who is devoted to the pleasers of the senses and to luxury. Epicurus was misunderstood. Seeing pleasers as the absence of pain and pain as a displeased desire for pleasure, did not mean that every desire was to be satisfied. Dividing bodily pleasure into three categories:) physical and necessary (e.g., food, drink, clothing, shelter) 2) physical and not necessary (e.g., sex) 3) neither physical nor necessary (e.g., luxurious clothing or any luxury). By indulging in the pleasures and avoiding the pains now would achieve ataraxia and reach the ultimate happiness in human life. As far as virtue, Epicurus took a practical view which he saw as a secondary importance to the avoidance of pain. Virtues that brought pain were not to be practiced, but being virtuous was viewed as a way to avoid serious

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