HIST Lecture #5 9-6

HIST Lecture #5 9-6 - Lecture#5 Greek Philosophy Historical...

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Lecture #5 9/6/11 Greek Philosophy, Historical Thinking, and the Western Tradition of Rational Thought The Greeks had contact with other civilizations, and learned astronomy and math from the Egyptians. Math was the first attempt to use logic and reason to measure and make sense of the world. The Athenians were a bit cosmopolitan and somewhat open to outside ideas. Human beings had agency and a certain amount of control over their destiny. They could use reason, solve problems, and come up with alternatives. Greek religion may have played a role as well. It was as much about the human condition (anthropomorphic gods) as the gods themselves. The fact that there was no single powerful priesthood with a monopoly on ‘truth’ allowed philosophy to emerge. The political context played a role as well. Open democratic floors opened room for debate and reason that led to a creative, intellectual culture. In the end, creative individuals began to ask questions and come up with answers that were more secular and based on evidence and reason. Earliest philosophers come from Ionia and Greek islands. Earliest philosophers were mostly concerned with the nature of the universe and what made it work. They weren’t necessarily always right, but they began to use reason and try to understand natural phenomenon. One of the first natural philosophers is Thales of Miletus (642-548). Founder of natural philosophy, believed that water was base element of the universe. Thought Earth was round. He left out a concept of god in all of his explanations for nature, but still believed in god. He and others
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2012 for the course HIST 151 taught by Professor Hunziker during the Fall '07 term at UNC.

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HIST Lecture #5 9-6 - Lecture#5 Greek Philosophy Historical...

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