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Greek and Hellenistic Philosophy

The Greek and Hellenic cultures brought about huge changes for the world, the Greek achievements were exemplified mostly in the fine arts as well as in the search for wisdom, called philosophy, while the Hellenistic culture was formed from the eastern kingdoms and empires. The many philosophers that were brought forth in these eras were alike in several ways. They all wanted self peace and thought that was important to the empire. However; these men found many different ways to go about it. The Greek society brought forth the very first of the great philosophers.

One of the first was Socrates who lived from 470-399 B. C. E.. He was one of the first to focus on the ethical and truth establishing questions that have worried the thoughtful since the dawn of creation. He felt it was important to focus on the human being instead of the physical nature. Socrates believed that intellectual excellence could be obtained. So he often engaged in systematic questioning with his young disciples. The very essence of the Socratic method was that everything should be fearlessly examined and justified before it should be taken as truth.

Socrates was a wonderful teacher wich was why his pupils used his information in their works. Plato was a dedicated student of Socrates. He defended him against the unjust accusations of Socrates corrupting the youth. Regardless of how dedicated he was to his predecessor his thought process was very different. Plato wanted more than anything to solve the problem of how the mind can experience and recognize truth. Plato began to analyze the politics of the Greeks. He was an anti-democrat, and he often argued about the turmoil in Greece, this thermal is what probably influenced his conservative political views.

Just like Plato was a pupil of Socrates, Aristotle another great philosopher, was a student of Plato’s. Aristotle was said to be the closest thing to a universal genius that Greece had ever seen. He was extremely interested in the sciences and had great knowledge of almost all of them. He was an author of many books including Politics, Physics, and Metaphysics,. Many people referred to him as master while other believed he was a pagan saint. The Greek philosophers believed and created the Gods to be in their own image.

This societies “love of wisdom” created an empire rarely touched by any other. As time changed so did thinking and reasoning process wich led to the Hellenistic philosophers and their separate beliefs. The first philosophy was Cynicism wich began as an organized school. A famous philosopher involved was Diogenes. It was said that he roamed the streets daily looking for an honest man. He called for a return to absolute simplicity and a refection of artificial divisions, wether political or economical.

Very few people were able to adapt to the rigid poverty and absence of egotism that the Cynics required, regardless of the few followers this philosophy had a huge impact on society. The second philosophy Epicurenism, was named after the founder Epicurus. This group taught that the principal good of life was pleasure, wich he defined as the avoidance of pain. He also believed that inner peace was to be obtained only by consciously rejecting the values and prejudices of Athens. The problem with these beliefs is said that it led to political indifference and even withdraw of the Greek people.

The bottom line of Epicurus was its better to ignore the public affairs of the world and focus on finding your own serenity. The final Philosophy is Stoicism, created by a freed slave named Zeno. This captured the largest following group among the population. The emphasis was placed on the brotherhood of all men and disdained the social conventions that falsely separated them. He taught that to be a good man you must participate in public life and help the less fortunate. He insisted that trying to do good was the most important thing; and that virtue was its own reward.

The popular concept was an overarching natural law that governed all human affairs. This philosophy guided ideals of what a human being could, and should be. All six of these philosophers are alike in many ways. They believed that their way of thinking was the best way for the people to live at that time in history. However; some believed in inner peace while others required outside help. Different techniques were created to make this society the best possible, but together as a whole all six philosophy’s make this time era what it is remembered for.

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