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Brief History of

Western
Philosophy
The first Philosophers and
Philosophies in the West.
Objectives
• Recognize human activities that emanated
from deliberate reflection specially the from
the birth of philosophy;
• Realize the value of doing philosophy in
obtaining a broad perspective on life;
• Identify the different philosophers from the
ancient Greece up to contemporary period.

Tell us something about
Ancient Greece
It all started in
6th

Century BCE
Pre-Socratic Period
Thales of Miletus
Thales of Miletus

• Father of Modern Science.


• Used Science and Logic.
• First known Philosopher in Greece.
• Also an expert in Mathematics.
• Used geometry to measure the height
Of a Pyramid and the distance between
ships in the shore.
Anaximander of Miletus
Anaximander of Miletus
• A student of Thales who latter succeeded
him.
• Also an Astronomer, Mathematician and
Scientist.
• Inferred that the universe is also
composed of laws like human societies.
Once it is disturbed, there will be turmoil.
• Created a map.
• Introduced Gnomon in Greece.
Gnomon
Pythagoras of Samos
Pythagoras of Samos

• Great Contributions to Math


• Pythagorean Theorem
• Had an idea that the world is round
• Idea of a square.
Heraclitus of Ephesus
Heraclitus of Ephesus
• Everything is constantly
changing.
• Believed in Libertinism.
– Everyone is free to make their own
choice and everyone has a free
will.
• Everything is made out of fire.
Paraminedes of Elea
Paraminedes of Elea
• Things don’t change - the past and
the present are set.
• Time and free will are just illusions
• Fatalism – We have a fate and we are
stuck to it.
• Determinism – Everything in this world
was already determined by someone
before us.
Empedocles of Sicily
Empedocles of Sicily

• Everything is made out of 4 elements:


– Earth, Water, Wind and Fire.
• There are two great forces in this world:
– Love and Strife.
• Love connects everything while strife
pushes it all away.
Democritus of Thrace
Democritus of Thrace

• Invented the Atomic Theory.


• The lights in the sky are distant stars
and different worlds.
The Socratic Period
Socrates (470-399 BCE)
Socrates
• Credited as one of the founders of
Western Philosophy.
• Father of Political Philosophy, Ethics/
Moral Philosophy.
• Developed the Socratic Method or
Elenchus.
• Socratic Dialogues – Conversations of
Socrates with other Philosophers written
by Plato.
Sentenced to Death by the
following charges:
• Corrupting the minds of the Youth
• Religious Impiety.
Execution: Death by drinking the
Hemlock Poison.
Plato(428-347 BCE)
Plato
• One of the Forefathers of Western
Philosophy.
• The student of Socrates and Teacher
of Aristotle.
• Focused more on his beliefs in
Metaphysics, Epistemology and
Politics.
• Founded the Academy – The first
institution of Higher Learning in the
Western World.
Written Works and
Contributions:
• Socratic Dialogues
• The Republic – Opposed Athenian
Democracy and argued that the
state must be ruled by Philosopher
Kings.
• Theory of Forms or Platonic
Realism – Things perceived by the
Senses are only “shadows” of what
is real.
Aristotle (384-322 BCE)
Aristotle
• A philosopher and a Scientist at the
same time.
• Known to be the Father of Biology
• Founded the Lyceum
• The student of Plato and the
Teacher of Alexander the Great.
Contributions:
• His writings covered physics, biology,
zoology, Metaphysics, Logic, ethics,
aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music
rhetoric, linguistics, politics.
• Instituted the first comprehensive
system of Western Philosophy:
Ethics, Aesthetics, Logic, Politics,
Science and Metaphysics.
Contributions:
• Disagreed with Plato’s Theory of
Forms: “If our senses can’t perceive
it, doesn’t make any sense at all”
• Developed Syllogism in Logic
– First Premise
– Second Premise
– Conclusion
Theory of 4 cause:
• Anything that comes into existence
needs 4 factors:
– Matter
– Form
– Source
– Final Cause
Schools of Thought
Cynics
• Live in virtue and agreement with
nature
• Live a life free of possessions
• Living in poverty
• Said to have influenced the
principles of Christianity
Skepticism
• All of information must be
supported with a lot of evidence.
• Places doubt in our own senses.
Ethics

Stoicism Epicureanism
Epicureanism by
Epicurus
• Negative Hedonism
– Hedonism =“All good things are
good”
• You must eliminate all desires for
it is the cause of suffering.
• Death is not a bad thing.
– Because it gives us freedom from all
suffering.
Stoicism by Zeno
• Virtue is good and vice is bad.
• Pleasure is also a kind of vice so we
must reject it.
• Suffering is cause by unrealistic
expectations.
Medieval Period
Philosophy
Scholasticism
• Developed by St. Anselm but
popularized by St. Thomas Aquinas
and St. Augustine during the Middle
Ages in Europe.
• Linked Greek Philosophy and way of
reasoning to the Christian Faith.
• Focused mainly in the existence of
God and His relationship to us
humans.
Famous Works:
• Monologion and Proslogion of St.
Anselm – Focused on the existence
of God through citing metaphysical
proofs.
• Argument by Analogy of St.
Augustine – Contradicted solipsism.
• Summa Theologica of St.Thomas
Aquinas – Views on creation and
government of the Universe.
Modern Period:
Rationalism
Rationalism
• Founded by Rationalists Reně
Descartes, Baruch Spinoza and
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
• Reason is the sole source of
knowledge.
• Verification of the truth is through the
Correspondence Theory of truth.
• Types of knowledge are limited only
to analytic or formal knowledge of
Mathematics and Logic
Empiricism
Empiricism
• Famous Empiricist were John Locke,
George Berkeley and David Hume.
• They argued that reason is not the only
capable of giving us knowledge,
experience plays a vital role as well.
• The five senses connected to the world
can be used to determine what can be
known.
• Truth is based on what corresponds to
reality. The world is also accepted as
knowledge
Concept of Tabula Raza
Immanuel Kant and a
Synthetic Priori
Knowledge
Immanuel Kant
• Human Reason is capable of
Priori(Formed beforehand)
knowledge.
• Criticize reason by reason itself to
establish a secure and consistent
basis of science, religion and
morality.
• The rational mind is capable of
interpreting the sense experience.
Contemporary Period
Analytic Tradition
• Focused on logical analysis of
language to solve problems which
beset philosophy.
• Method of Verification – things that
can be investigated by science is the
only thing that is meaningful and true.
Continental Tradition
• Scientific method is insufficient to
provide explanation in this world.
• Focuses on the centrality of human
actions.
• Seek reconstruction of what
philosophy is and its role in
understanding knowledge,
experience and reality.