Poem About Western Philosophy

Poem About Western Philosophy
Four elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire
Sophists ~ 450BC
First attempt at a fullfledged philosophical doctrine
Considered the first sophist
Professional teachers
Despised by Plato
Because they charged fees
Because they used rhetorical sleightofhand
Pythagoreans ~ 500BC
Believed in reincarnation
Heavily influenced by mathematics and mysticism
Transmigration of the Soul was a core belief
Were vegetarians
Heraclitus 535475BC
"No man steps in the same river twice."
Diogenes primary biographer
Parmenides ~ 450BC
Only known work was "On Nature" a poem
Claimed that truth cannot be know through
sensory perception, only through logos.
Zeno of Elea 490430BC
Reducto ad Absurdum
Zeno's Paradox
Arhilles and the Tortoise
Herodotus 484425BC
Greek Historian
First known writer to collect and document his
ideas systematically.
Thucydides 460395BC
The Pelopomnesian War his greatest
contribution to history.
"The Father of Scientific History"
"The Father of the school of political realism"
Classical Greek
Socrates 469-399BC
Ethical truth was absolute
"To Know the Good is to Do the Good"
Invented Metaphysics
The Socratic Method
Shadows on the Cave Wall
Women should hold political power
Political leaders chosen from among best & brightest
What is Justice?
Give each man his due
Might makes right
No nuclear family
No private property
Philosopher "guardians" of
Reason will rule
Asked the question "What is virtue?"
Invented Dualism of Mind and Body
Democratic principles
Invented term "physics"
Greek for "Nature"
Criticism of The Republic/Plato
Family is rooted in human nature
Idea of private property is 'natural'
Rejected concentration of power
Supported rule by middle class
Defined ethics as "What is the
good goal of human life?"
Happiness is the life lived by
the virtuous person
Happiness is the goal of human life
Happiness originally meant "success"
Happiness means good at
being human
Four Primary Virtues
We acquire our knowledge of
the world via our senses
We are made of atoms
No afterlife
Abstain from Political Life
Abstain from sexual involvement
Take nothing to excess
Zeno of Citium 334-262BC
Considered founder of Stoicism
"Happiness is a good flow of life"
Pathos is a disturbance of the mind
repugnant to Reason and against
Virtua is the consistency of the soul with
Right Reason and Universal Reason
Zeno of Elea 490-430BC
Best known for his Paradoxes
Critical response to epicureanism
Freedom from suffering
through discipline
Duty to community
Considered philosophy a way of life
Actions more important than beliefs
Cicero 106-43BC
Brought Greek philosophy to the Romans
Combined Skeptics, Epicureanism
Virtue is happiness from Aristotle
Epicurean principle of refined
and disciplined pleasure
Sextus Empiricus
Raised the question "How do
we know what we know?"
Can we trust any of our own
Hebrew Bible
Explores the relationship between God and the people of
Central theme is the Covenant
Jacob (Israel)
Old Testament
Book of Job
Asks the question "Why do the righteous suffer?"
Satan challenges Lord
Lord inflicts cruelty on Job
Job does not forsake his Lord
New Testament
Early author
The Gospels
Baptism as the means by
which Jews become Christians
Rejects circumcision as a
necessary rite to become
Augistine 354-430
Combined christian with platonic
Wrote "Confessions"
The Grace of God
Is grace a gift of god, or must
it be earned?
Predestination God knows from
the start who will receive The
Aquinus 1225-1274
Argues that the eternity of the world
cannot be demonstrated by pure
Wrote the "Summa Theologica"
Truth could be achieved through natural or
divine reason
Four Cardinal Virtues
Five Ways on the Nature of God
God is simple, without composition of parts
God is perfect, lacking nothing
God is infinite
God is immutable
God is one
Medieval Thought
Words have meaning in and of
Words have no inherit meaning
Luther 1483-1546
Disagreed with Augustine's automatic granting of grace by god
Wrote the 95 Theses
In response to Indulgences
sold by the Pope
Strongly believed that freedom from God's
punishment could not be purchased with money.
Earned grace through belief in Jesus
Salvation is not earned by good deeds
Faith in Jesus brings salvation
Once justified, you can be condemned through the commission of sin.
Calvin 1509-1564
Grace was given by god
Knowledge of God not attainable through
experience, only through studying of scripture
Rejected catholic doctrine of merit
Supported the notion of predestination
Once justified, always justified
Justification comes through having a conversion experience
Proponent of the concept of the original sin
The Enlightenment
Adam Smith 1723-1790
The Wealth of Nations: The
Division of Labor
Specialization of job function
leads to massive gains in
Coordination and cooperation
between specialists is done out of
We get what we need from others
out of their selfinterest, not their
The Theory of Moral Sentiment
Offers an explanation and basis for the
cooperation and coordination that are required for
the division of labor described in Wealth of
We want the approval of others
The reactions of others to us
and our behaviors is important
to us.
We generally seek to behave as if there
were an impartial spectator observing our
behaviors. Would they approve of them?
Our conscience is a product
of these factors.
Obeying the law
We do so because of the utility of doing so.
In general, we derive benefit when we do
He was aware of the dangers and problems
that could arise from too much specialization
of labor and the social isolation that could
He worried about the moral impact on someone
who shifted from a villagecentric social context
to that of a large city and the anonymity that
could result.
Smith is also concerned about class and
wealth disparity and that impacts that
would have on society.
Rousseau 1712-1778
Critiqued the progress of
modern society
Moral decadence always
accompanies cultural
American Indians in their simplistic life
compare favorably to Europeans in their
levels of happiness and virtue.
Claimed that enlightenment beliefs
led to eventual collapse of
Called for a return to nature
Social Contract
All power is given to the state
Your happiness is calculated as your
share of the overall societal
David Hume 1711-1766
Ideas are copies of our sense
Three relations among ideas
Reason alone cannot justify
our belief in experience
Belief in our experiences as representing the
external world accurately is based on our
instinct or custom, and cannot be proven with
Scientific theory of morality
Moral judgment cannot be based on rational
deliberation, because simpletons and infants
are also capable of making more judgments.
There is no evidence that indicates that the
most intellectually capable members of our
species are the most moral.
Therefore, our sense of morality is based in
part on our biology and in part by our social
What makes a moral rule a universal more rule?
Primarily, its utility
All government and political
institutions have their basis in utility
to society.
We have a natural appreciation for virtuous
behavior, and are thus naturally moral at
least in part.
You cannot deterministically go from
an "is" to an "ought"
Basing religious belief on
inference from experience has
four flaws
It means that religion is probable at best,
because all ideas are derived from
experience, not reason.
In all scientific inquiries, negative evidence counts more
than positive evidence. So we would require positive
evidence with zero negative evidence in order to justify our
belief in god through experience.
Effects do not prove a cause.
In the end, Hume is dismissive of both religion
in general and in the ability to base religious
belief on experience.
Montesquieu 1689-1755
Objected to Locke's
Epistemological Relativism
The laws of nature are demonstrable across
cultures, therefore not all knowledge is
Believed that democratic republics are the
most morally desirable but least stable forms
of association
Greatly influenced American
Must limit the ability of
government to grow in power
Affluence eventually leads to
Bishop Berkeley 1685-1733
There is no existence
independent of perception
To exist is to be perceived
Disagreed with Locke's argument that human
knowledge depends on the existence of
material objects independent of minds.
Claimed that materialism was
dogmatic superstition.
All of our ideas are derived
from our experiences
Mandeville 1670-1733
The Fable of the Bees
Central Human Traits
Vico 1678-1744
Philosophy of history
Human societies are cyclical
Worship of gods
Emergence of Heroes and kings
Age of man
Inherently unstable
Leads to collapse
Disagreed with social contract
Society is not a contract but the
natural progression from customs and
Leibniz 1646-1716
Coinventory of Infinitesimal Calculus
Asserted "The best of all
possible worlds"
Metaphyics La Monadologie
An attempt to resolve the
problem of mind/body dualism
Nothing arises from nothing
Everything that exists has a
reason to exist
Everything which exists is
better than anything nonexistent
Reason and faith are gifts from God
Sin and Suffering are the result
of metaphysical imperfections
Although God has unlimited reason and
willpower, humans do not which makes sin and
suffering possible.
Early developer of formal/algebraic logic
John Locke 1632-1704
A man is free when he is subject only to
political authority to which he has
Natural liberty is freedom from
the arbitrary power of others
Beginning of modern
democratic political theory.
Denies need for authoritarian power,
which leads to despotism and
Denies that fear is the primary
motivator of men
Natural Rights
Men are governed by laws
from a legislature
Opposed monarchies
Modern social contract theory
An agreement among free and equal men to
exit the state of nature and by forming a
limited polity.
Stressed that equality was legal
equality, not equality of material
Ideas are acquired via experience
Two forms of experience
The external world
Reflection on the mind's own
There are no innate ideas
The mind is a Tabula Rasa
Ethics are learned, not innate
Ethics are derived from experience, and
thus relative to our experience of the