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NURS 774 Educational Theory & Philosophy for Nursing

Module 2 Ancient Philosophers Margaret Louis, RN, PhD, BC

Objectives for Module

Comparison of ancient philosophers Discussion of how these philosophers impact or influence education today Discussion of impact on nursing knowledge and education

Ancient Map of Mesopotamia

Ancient World
Preliterate societies
Mesopotamia 7000 BCE Sumerians 3000 2250

Egyptian civilization legacy

Consider papyrus with black ink still legible 5000 years later. Will digital be accessible in 5000 years?

Ancient China
Confucius 551-479 BCE

Ancient World - Ancient China

Confucius 551-479 BCE

China's most famous teacher, philosopher, and political theorist, whose ideas have influenced the civilization of East Asia.

Confucius Quotes
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. Respect yourself and others will respect you. Study the past if you would define the future. Ignorance is the night of the mind, but a night without moon and star. Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it. Some of these struck me as timely for this discussion and course. Especially the first one.

Ancient China

Ancient Philosophers
Quest for knowledge = throughout history Aristotle in Metaphysics All men[sic] by nature desire to know
Do you see this with nurses? Give example of how this is supported or not supported

Time Periods
BCE = Before Common Era CE = Common Era or current historical period

Pre-Socratic Greeks Interest in Cosmos (world around them) Mostly Deductive Underlying unity and diversity
Problem of the one and the many In health care - Who gets the treatment?
One with great need costing $$$$ or Many who can be helped in prevention for much less per person?

Classical Greek
Socrates Academic freedom of right of teacher to teach and learner to learn without arbitrary political authority or countering public opinion Socrates Socrates: Wisest is he who knows he knows not
Plato & Aristotle

Plato Idealist Probed meaning of life Aristotle Realist Purpose of education to cultivate human excellence Higher education started at 21

Knowledge concerned with universal

Level of existence surpassed physical reality Plato


Built on Socrates and Plato Speculative (theoretical) sciences = goal of creating knowledge
1st philosophy (metaphysics) physics, mathematics Practical Sciences - focus on ability to act in light of knowledge ethics, politics & economics Productive Sciences - goal to produce something Fine arts, medicine, architecture, rhetoric

knowledge for knowledge sake True of nurses? Majority?
Why true or not?

Shift to Sophists
Used empirical, inductive Looked for practical ends Search for Absolute Truth =
Universally True, without doubt, not subject to change

Relative Truth =
Dependent on context, relative to specific context or situation

Which do you fit with? Which do most nurses you know fit with?

Practical End!!!

Key with Ancients

Sought to achieve universal, objective Truth about the world, To be certain about what they knew to the greatest degree possible Same as today???

Thank Aristotle for them Derive Truth from fundamental element of logic
3 statements (simplest truth, basic and final more comprehensive truth or general conclusion and middle connects the first and last)


Classical Roman
Self control and discipline Father primary teacher of children Power of Oratory
Consider commercials, political debates etc. Use in Nursing and Health care?

Greek slaves tutored the Roman children

Philosophy of Education
Look at development in relation to life & times of the philosopher Confucius - response to time of social unrest & practical turmoil Plato - multidimensional nature and basic human questions Aristotle - Natural Realism and ideas on schooling Quintilian - rhetorical education, Roman who incorporated Greek concepts about education

Ancients Today?
What is the enduring impact of
Egyptians Greeks Romans

What if any of these can we use in nursing education today? What of the following All men by nature desire to know The metaphysics by Aristotle
Is this quote true of Nurses today? Why, Why not?

Issues for Consideration

How does nursing use or not use Ancient Philosophy? What Education Philosophy of Ancients would you say is useful today?
Why? How? In Nursing? What of folklore, myths, legends?

What is your Philosophy of

Education related to Nursing?
Any influence from ancients? Which ones and why?