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Silva 1 Katrina Silva Lane Essay #1 Test for Chapters 1-4 20 September 2012 Discuss Socrates, Plato, and

d Aristotles contributions to Western Civilization.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were early Greek philosophers, which means that they had a great love of wisdom. In general, early Greek philosophers thought that the expansion of information about the nature of the universe was very interesting. Most of these philosophers wanted to explain how the universe worked. There were also other types of philosophers, though, called the Sophists. They believed that it was beyond human ability to understand the universe. Instead, they stressed how important rhetoric is in Athens. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle came up with questions of the universe and even came up with basic questions that have been discussed for many thousands of years. Socrates, although he left no written proof of his own existence, is known by his pupils. He loved philosophy even though his actual occupation was as a stonemason. He was well-known for his nontraditional teaching techniques. He believed that education was created to improve oneself. He invented a teaching method called the Socratic method, after him, which employs a question-and answer technique to lead pupils to see things for themselves using their own reason, (Spielvogel, 80). While he did teach, he did not teach in a formal school, nor did he charge payment for his teachings. He believed that you should enjoy life. He believed that truth, beauty, and justice have objective content, and that we all were born with some sort of knowledge of their existence (Denault).

Silva 2 Plato was one of Socrates pupils. His many writings led us to the knowledge of Socrates, who contrarily wrote nothing. Plato was regarded by many other scholars as one of the most influential philosophers of Western civilization. He found the question of reality very fascinating, How do we know what is real? (Spielvogel, 81). With his thoughts on reality, he divided reality into two parts: ontos and phenomena. Ontos are ideas or ideals, while phenomena are expressions of ideals. Ontos were seen as ultimate reality, permanent, eternal, *and+ spiritual, while phenomena were regarded as things associated with matter, time, and space, (Boeree). He had also believed that people couldnt live a realistic life unless they lived in a just and rational state, (Spielvogel, 81). This belief can be viewed as a pyramid, with a top, middle, and bottom layer. Its not a bad sort of pyramid, though, like those of a caste system with the wealthy and powerful on top, and the poor and people who get stepped over on the bottom. On the top of this pyramid was the upper class with the elite and famous kings. The second layer was made up of people who were considered to be courageous: warriors who would protect Greek society. And the bottom layer consisted of everyday people, the masses, people driven by desire rather than wisdom or courage. I like this idea for the structure of a republic better than others that I have heard of before. It seems as if it has a more respect for each layer, even for the people at the bottom of the pyramid. Plato was more concerned about the community, rather than certain individuals. He believed that they should do whats best for the community as a whole. He even said that people of each part of the pyramid, no matter how rich or poor, should live together, and that women could be rulers, too. Aristotle was one of Platos students. He attended the school that Plato established in Athens called the Academy, (Spielvogel, 81). Aristotle, in turn, later tutored Alexander the Great. Aristotle was both a scientist and a philosopher. He was fascinated by nature. According to Boeree, Aristotle invented modern logic, and, except for its symbolic form, is pretty much the same today. Aristotle didnt exactly agree on all of Platos beliefs. Instead of believing in ideas or the ideal, Aristotle believed in essence and

Silva 3 matter. And, similarly to Plato, Aristotle wanted a more effective form of government. He believed that a constitutional government was best for the people. He also believed that marriage should be about equality, but still regarded women inferior to men, saying, A woman is, as it were, an infertile male. She is female in fact on account of a kind of inadequacy, (Spielvogel, 81). Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle came up with many concepts that we still regard today. Instructors today still use the Socratic method when teaching their students. Plato brought up the concept that man and woman should be equals, although equality between sexes didnt really change until somewhat recently, and is still ongoing in some places. The philosophical and political ideas of Aristotle developed thought in the Middle Ages. They brought new thoughts and concepts to Western civilization and are thought of as great philosophers.

Silva 4 Works Cited Boeree, Dr. C. George. The Ancient Greeks, Part Two: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Webspace. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. Denault, Leigh T. Philosophy: The Athenian Philosophers: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The Glory that was Greece. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization. Ed. Suzanne Jeans, 8th edition. Boston: Cengage Learning, 2006. 80-81. Print.