Ancient Greece and the Hellenistic WorldCulture in Classical GreeceBoundless World History
Classical Greek PhilosophyThe three most famous Classical Greek philosophers are Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.LEARNING OBJECTIVESUnderstand the main philosophical beliefs of Socrates, Plato, and AristotleKEY TAKEAWAYSKey PointsSocrates is best known for having pursued a probing question-and-answerstyle of examination on a number of topics, usually attempting to arrive at adefensible and attractive definition of a virtue.In 399 BCE, Socrates was charged for his philosophical inquiries, convicted,and sentenced to death.IQ Test: What Is Your IQ?Answer 20 questions to 9nOpenAdBrainable IQ Test
Plato was a student of Socrates, and is the author of numerous dialogues andletters, as well as one of the primary sources available to modern scholars onSocrates’ life.In his defining work,The Republic, Plato reaches the conclusion that a utopiancity is likely impossible because philosophers would refuse to rule and thepeople would refuse to compel them to do so.Aristotle was a student of Plato, the tutor of Alexander the Great, and founderof the Lyceum and Peripatetic School of philosophy in Athens. He wrote on anumber of subjects, including logic, physics, metaphysics, ethics, rhetoric,politics, and botany.Key Termsallegory of the cave: A paradoxical analogy wherein Socrates argues that theinvisible world is the most intelligible, and the visible world is the leastknowable and obscure. Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of peoplewho have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blankwall upon which shadows are projected. The shadows are as close as theprisoners get to viewing reality.aporia: In philosophy, a paradox or state of puzzlement; in rhetoric, a usefulexpression of doubt.Socrates: A classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of thefounders of Western philosophy. Known for a question-answer style ofexamination.Plato: The student of Socrates and author of The Republic. A philosopher andmathematician in classical Greece.Aristotle: The student of Plato, tutor to Alexander the Great, and founder ofthe Lyceum. A Greek philosopher who wrote on a number of topics, includinglogic, ethics, and metaphysics.Classical Greece saw a flourishing of philosophers, especially in Athens during its Golden Age.Of these philosophers, the most famous are Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
SocratesSocrates:Bust of Socrates, currently in the Louvre.Socrates, born in Athens in the 5th century BCE, marks a watershed in ancient Greekphilosophy. Athens was a center of learning, with sophists and philosophers traveling fromacross Greece to teach rhetoric, astronomy, cosmology, geometry, and the like. The greatstatesman Pericles was closely associated with these new teachings, however, and his politicalopponents struck at him by taking advantage of a conservative reaction against thephilosophers. It became a crime to investigate issues above the heavens or below the earthbecause they were considered impious. While other philosophers, such as Anaxagoras, were