03 Genesis of Phi - The Origins of Western Philosophy...

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The Origins of Western Philosophy Begins about 600 BCE in ancient Greece – why did phi begin in Greece? Why not Persia, Egypt, Western Africa, continental Europe, elsewhere? What about ancient Greece generated this tradition? Four attempts to explain: I. Aristotle had his answer: a. The Greeks alone had leisure time to wonder – wondering is the central thing philosophers do (unstated: the fact that Greeks had slavery, thus the aristocrats were freed from the burdens of day-to-day tasks [digression: Orlando Patterson’s Slavery and Social Death – startling claim: real appreciation of freedom we owe to the existence of slavery]). b. This is a necessary condition for philosophizing, but it is not a sufficient condition. A ) B, but just because A is present does not mean that B is necessarily present. Without A, however, B cannot be. II. Trade Route Theory a. Traders from Asia Minor crisscrossed ancient Greece over the trade routes and brought in new theories, ideas, etc., and stimulated the Greeks to thinking. b. Goes along with Ib, though. III. Absence of Strong Priesthood a. In other areas, if religious beliefs were not sufficiently conforming to the “standard”, then those holding the beliefs would be punished. But in Greece, there was much more tolerance for differing ideas/beliefs. b. Gilbert Murray – Cambridge Scholar – one of the three great classisists of the 20 th century – wrote The Five Stages of Greek Religion – also wrote
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2008 for the course PHI 151H taught by Professor Dearmey during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .

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03 Genesis of Phi - The Origins of Western Philosophy...

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