Something About Ancient Philosophers and Philosophy

Ancient philosophy is a fascinating area of study, and one which can help us to better understand the origins of some of our most fundamental ideas about the world. It represents the culmination of centuries of intellectual development, and offers us a unique perspective on the great philosophical questions which continue to intrigue us today.

Origin of Ancient Philosophy

Ancient philosophy is the product of what was once a vibrant intellectual tradition. It occurred from roughly 1750 BC to 200 AD, and originated in both Greece and India, which were the two earliest civilizations that promoted both individual personhood and philosophical inquiry. The Ancient Greek philosophers opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for human discovery, while their Indian contemporaries were preoccupied with metaphysical questions about nature and reality. These early philosophers were evolutionary thinkers who challenged the status quo, and believed that human beings could better themselves by inspecting and analyzing their surroundings.

Ancient Greek Philosopher

The Ancient Greek philosophers were largely concerned with questions surrounding the nature of reality and existence:

“What is beauty?

What is justice?

What constitutes a good life?”

The course Philosophy in Greece course will help you understand the concepts of Virtue, The Golden Mean, Rhetoric, Logic & more.

Ancient Greek philosophers also pondered many great questions about the nature of reality, including:

“What is truth?”

“Can we trust our senses?”

These foundational thinkers laid the groundwork for much of our own thinking on these issues today. By looking closely at their thoughts and ideas we can begin to construct a better understanding of ourselves as human beings.

Ancient Indian Philosophers

The Indian philosophers too were mostly concerned with metaphysical issues, such as how we detect the real world, whether our perception of the real world changes it (or even if there is such a thing as ‘the real world’), and whether all things are interconnected.

The original philosophical traditions of India included Jainism, Nyaya , Vaisheshika , Sānkhya , Yoga , Mimānsa and Vedanta . Of these, Vedanta came to be most prominent. Hinduism grew partly out of the Vedas, and thus Vedanta came to be regarded as “the essence” of the Vedas. Most of the great early Indian philosophers (including Gautama Buddha) were associated with or influenced by Jainism and/or Buddhism .

The course Philosophy in India course will help us to understand the concepts of Karma, Samsara , Moksha, Atman , Brahman , Maya , Enlightenment & more.

An ancient philosopher once said “Know thyself.” This is perhaps one of the most important lessons that we can learn from this time period. By exploring the thoughts and ideas of these ancient thinkers we can come to a better understanding of who we are and what our place is in the world.

Comparison of Greece and Indian philosophy

In both Ancient Greece and India philosophy was an important part of everyday life as well as intellectual discourse . In fact it may have been the case that all educated people were expected to have some degree of knowledge of philosophical thought.

Both Greece and India were famous for their schools of philosophy, which began as both an educational pursuit and a means to examine the world around them. The great thinkers who founded these schools are still regarded with high esteem today .

The course Ancient Greek Philosophy & Indian Philosophy course will help you understand the

Greeks (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle)

Indian philosophers (Vedanta, Jainism, Buddhism ).

Western Philosophers

In the Western tradition, the most famous early philosopher was Plato, who founded the Academy in Athens. The Academy was an institution for higher learning that attracted many of the brightest minds of its time. In fact, many of the ideas espoused in Plato’s seminal work The Republic were first developed in discussions that took place at the Academy. Other great Greek philosophers include Socrates, Aristotle, and Epicurus.

Arabic philosophers

The Arabic philosophy emerged after Greeks and Indians, with Al-Kindi being the first major figure. He wrote extensively on topics such as metaphysics, theology , mathematics , music , optics , medicine and astronomy . After him, a flurry philosophical activity took place in Baghdad during Abbasid Caliphate. Al-Kindi was followed by another great thinker, Ibn Rushd , who systematized the philosophy of Aristotle and placed it within a Islamic theological framework.

In medieval Europe, there were three schools of thought that dominated:

  1. Aristotelianism
  2. Sigerism
  3. Thomism

These ideas would find their way into modern philosophy via Scholasticism . The Scholastic philosophers such as William of Ockham were less enamored with the classical philosophy and attempted to reconcile it with the Christian faith.

Lastly, we will touch upon medieval Islamic philosophy and Modern Western Philosophy.

The Ancient Greek Philosophers:

Thales , Anaximander , Anaximenes , Heraclitus , Parmenides , Zeno of Elea , Empedocles , Anaxagoras , Leucippus & Democritus .

Socrates  – Plato – Aristotle – Epicurus – Pyrrho – Stoics  – Skeptics .

The Middle Eastern figures

Ibn Sina ( Avicenna ), al-Ghazali, Yahya ibn Adi, Averroes  and Maimonides.

Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Mill, Kierkegaard, Marx, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein.

Recommended Books for Further Exploration:

Metaphysics:

The Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant

Theory of Knowledge:

An Introduction to Philosophy of Knowledge by A. C. Ewing

Epistemology:

Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes

Philosophy of Mind:

A Treatise of Human Nature by David Hume

Ethics:

Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

The Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Political Philosophy:

The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Philosophy of History:

The Idea of History by R. G. Collingwood

Philosophy of Religion:

Theology and Metaphysics in Aristotle by St. Thomas Aquinas

An Introduction to Islamic Philosophy by Majid Fakhry

Modern Western Philosophy:

An Outline of English-Language Philosophy Since the Seventeenth Century by Leonard Linsky

We hope you have found this article helpful! If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. And be sure to check out our other articles on philosophy for more information on this fascinating topic. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Comment