GRK MYTH-PHILOS11 - 1. Myths explain. Greek Religion and...

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Unformatted text preview: 1. Myths explain. Greek Religion and Philosophy 1 2 Demeter Myths satisfy on many levels 1. answer the question 2. put faith in divine justice 3. suggest order in the universe Hades and Persephone 3 Proserpine ( Persephone) Dante Gabriel Rossetti, oil on canvas, 1874 4 Myths make sense of a threatening universe. Myths explore the incomprehensible. • existence is precarious • powers beyond our control 5 6 Myths show the consequences of bad behavior. Myths entertain. 7 8 In Greek mythology, 12* gods and goddesses ruled the universe from atop Mount Olympus Our knowledge of Greek myths comes from the works of • • • Homer—Iliad and Odyssey Hesiod—the Theogony tragic playwrights: Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripidies • Greek gods and goddesses were unpredictable • they provided no particular set of rules • they sometimes mingled with mortals • the human characteristic of “hubris” angers gods the most 9 10 *The list varies. 14 are included here. Zeus’ brothers and sisters Zeus and Hera, King and Queen of the Gods • Zeus’ 2 brothers • Zeus’ sisters 1. 2. 11 1. 2. 12 Zeus’ sons Zeus’ twins 1. • 2. Zeus’ twins 1. 3. 2. 13 14 This god sometimes make the list as well... Zeus’ daughters 1. 2. 15 16 “The basic theme of mythology is that the visible world is supported and sustained by an invisible world.” Philosophia - Joseph Campbell • “love of wisdom” This was not enough for some people. So they began to ask questions: (term coined in the 6th c. BCE) Do traditional beliefs = wisdom? Philosophers, then, are lovers of wisdom Do traditional beliefs help understand the universe? Have we been taught all there is to know?  —or is there more? • this curiosity and desire for wisdom led to the creation of a new word: 17 18 The Pre-Socratic philosophers asked: what is the primary matter than makes up the universe? 6th century BCE Greek philosophers lay the foundation for Western philosophical and scientific inquiry: Thales “The first principle and basic nature of all things is water.” Thales, the first recorded philosopher, introduces the idea of reductionism. They begin by asking: How does nature work? Reductionism show us that an object that appears to be one kind of thing can be reduced to more basic things at a deeper but less obvious level of analysis. This kind of analysis is a major function of modern science. • gods are not the answer • there must be natural laws In other words, there must be natural rather than supernatural (gods) explanations 19 20 The Pre-Socratic philosophers Heraclitus Reality is composed not of a number of things but of continual creation and destruction. The only thing that does not change is change itself. Pythagoras Reality can be expressed in terms of mathematical laws. Many laws of nature are expressed mathematically. E=mc He suggests that there is an unobservable Logos (logic) governing change. Change, then, is a rational phenomenon, rather than a chaotic one. 2 Democritus • all things are composed of “atomos” which were indivisible, eternal, and specific to the material they made up. “You cannot step into the same river twice.” 21 The Pre-Socratic philosophers John Dalton (1766-1844) is the founder of modern atomic theory, which states that matter is composed of discrete units called atoms. 22 5th century BCE Focus shifts from nature to man: • mind • morality • wisdom The Pre-Socratics noted, correctly, that: • the universe is governed by natural laws • man can understand the order of nature They took the gods out of the equation; paving the way for true scientific endeavor. Some people thought, however, that the Pre-Socratics had created only confusion. They had undermined traditional values but left nothing in their place. 23 The Thinker Bronze and Marble Auguste Rodin, 1902 24 Socrates 469-399 BCE Socratic Method • believed in absolute truth (truth was not relative) • saw philosophy as requirement for life (“The unexamined life is not worth living.”) • Socrates professed to know nothing, yet the Oracle at Delphi called him the wisest of all men. Why? • if you want wisdom, nourish the Psyche (mind or soul) with knowledge acquired through debate (exchange of ideas) Socrates ideas were written down by his student, Plato, who published them as dialogues. Each dialogue emphasized a specific question, such as “What is justice?” 25 Socrates asked his students a series of questions in order to • reveal gaps in knowledge • create desire to learn more “Know thyself.” • develop critical thinking skills • examine the validity of beliefs • give rational justification for actions 26 Jacques-Louis David The Death of Socrates 1787 • Socrates gained many students but also many enemies due to —cross examinations —religious skepticism —opposition to Spartan government installed in Athens after Peloponnesian War • at age 70, Socrates charged with teaching false doctrines, corrupting youth and impiety; goes to trial • might have been released had he promised to remain silent (or chose to escape) 27 • refused both; chose death over dishonor 28 Plato In The Republic put forth the idea of 2 levels of reality... 427-347 BCE 1. The visible world —understood through our senses • what we see, hear, experience • world of change and uncertainty • Socrates’ most famous student • founded first university: the 2. The world of higher reality — understood through our intellect • absolute, eternal unchanging truths (permanent facts) which Plato calls the Forms Academy, where studied Socratic dialogues, • wrote over 20 dialogues; these arguments are usually put in the mouth of Socrates • what we experience are copies of the Forms 29 • For instance... 30 The “Form” or “Idea” of a horse is abstract, applies to all horses, and is unchanging. THIS is a copy of the Form of the horse: an imperfect and changing manifestation. This horse will grow old and die. The “idea” of the horse will always be. The thing itself—a universal form. 31 Its shadow—a copy of the form. 32 THE GOOD—the ultimate Form (the source of all reality) sun World of Highest Reality the things themselves reflections shadows The Forms—absolute, unchanging, eternal truths: pure reason Reason—ideas based on principles, theories Visible World (The Cave) Beliefs, Opinion, Conjecture, Imagination— all ideas based on sense perception M 33 Beauty The Form of Beauty The Concept of Beauty Individual beautiful entities What deceives the prisoners in the cave? 34 Plato suggests that we are born with the Truth, having seen the Forms before birth. We forget, however, and must spend the rest of our lives working to remember what we already know. • How? Through mental exercise (using our ability to reason.) Philosophy educates our Psyche or soul, by sharpening mental skills. An imitation of a beautiful entity (photos, paintings, reflections, shadows) 35 Socrates’ role was to help his students “remember,” much like a psychoanalyst does today. 36 Plato’s 2 worlds 1. The visible world —understood through our senses • what we see, hear, experience • world of change and uncertainty 2. The world of higher reality — understood through our intellect • absolute, eternal truths he calls the Forms • unchanging Questions Plato might want you to ask yourself: • What • What illusions might you be living under right now? things do you value that may not be important? • What could you be ignoring that is actually of real value? assumptions might you be making about your life that are based on appearance and not reality? For Plato, this was the “real” world. • What 37 38 Aristotle’s world This one! —understood through our senses • Aristotle believed (unlike Plato) that our senses do not deceive us, but help us understand our world • in other words, to gain knowledge, use the empirical method— observe and experience the world • Aristotle is realistic— focused on practicality Aristotle 384-322 BCE For Aristotle, this is the only world. 39 40 One practical form of philosophy is ethics Ethical theory: Epicureanism • ethics is the branch of philosophy that evaluates human conduct and explores the nature of the rules we live by Founder: Epicurus The good life: a state of pleasure: tranquility, and freedom from fear Two essential components of ethics: 1. a definition of what is a good life 2. a method for achieving that good life “...we do not mean the pleasure of the profligates...but (eedom (om pain in the body or trouble in the mind.” So what makes a life good? How to achieve the good life: Maximize pleasure by minimizing pain Lead a simple life. Why is wrong with always wanting more? Epicurus 41 42 Ethical theory: Virtue Ethics Ethical theory: Stoicism Founder: Aristotle Founder: Zeno of Citium The good life: to be happy—but what is happiness to Aristostle? The good life: peace of mind and certainty of moral worth How to achieve the good life: How to achieve the good life: • Fulfill your function in life • Everything is governed by natural law. “Fate is the endless chain of causation...the reason or formula by which the world goes on..” Zeno Ar What is a human being’s function? • In other words, everything happens for a reason • Peace of mind and certainty of moral worth are both achieved when one accepts natural law 43 “Happiness is an activity of the soul in conformity with exce+ence.” Aristotle What does he mean by “excellence?” 44 How does using reason make us happy? Happiness results when you act in accord with your proper function. If you seek, possess, and use wisdom (which you acquire by reasoning,) you will be happy. Even the pursuit of excellence brings contentment or self-fulfillment. • “The ultimate purpose in studying ethics is not...the attainment of theoretical knowledge...but...to become good, else there would be no advantage in studying it.” Aristotle • • • sound reasoning (not luck, whim, etc.) brings about good conduct—how? Through the Golden Mean— Ideal conduct lies in the balance a nd moderation “ Virtue, then, is a state of character concerned with choice...defined by reason.” Being good can become a habit. Ethical dilemmas • involve a conflict between values • solutions involve doing some wrong in order to do what is right (because you can’t choose more than one solution) • therefore, solutions are not right or wrong but better or worse • Dilemmas, by their nature, demand that we take a closer look at our values. 45 46 Resolving ethical dilemmas Two Ethical Approaches Step 1: Gather the facts: the who, what, where, when, and why of the situation. Step 2: List possible courses of action and analyze the consequences of those actions. •Who will be helped? • Who will be hurt? • What kind of benefits and harms? • How will your decision look over the long run as well as the short run? • After looking at all options, which one produces the best mix of benefits over harms? Rules are not enough. As mature, rational, good people, we must justify our views with ethical arguments. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates 47 Step 3: Analyze the actions • Don’t think about consequences. Concentrate strictly on the actions. • How do they measure up against principles like honesty, justice, respecting people’s rights, recognizing the vulnerability of weaker or less fortunate people? • If there’s a conflict between principles or between rights of different people involved, is there a way to see one principle as more important than the others? Step 4: Make a decision Take both parts of your analysis into account and make a decision. 48 ...
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This note was uploaded on 06/01/2011 for the course HUM 101 taught by Professor Neubeck-connor during the Spring '11 term at Moraine Valley Community College.

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