Questions tagged [ancient-philosophy]

Ancient philosophy consists, at least in the west, of the work by philosophers before around ~480 CE.

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How do we know which dialogues Plato didn't write?

I understand that there are dialogues of Plato for which the authorship is contested, with some more than others. How are the dialogues determined to be spurious? Is it a different process for ...
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Socrates' absence in Plato's Laws

Is there any significance in Socrates not being present in Laws; the only dialogue of undisputed authenticity to not feature him? It is my understanding that Plato's early dialogues depict a more ...
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No treatise by Plato exists or ever existed

In Plato's second epistle appears the following line: For this reason I myself have never yet written anything on these subjects, and no treatise by Plato exists or will exist, but those which now ...
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According to Aristotle, how many unmoved movers are there in the universe?

In On The Heavens, Aristotle described there are multiple unmoved movers in different celestial spheres as the final causes of celestial movements, however, in the Physics, Aristotle concluded there ...
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Did alchemy originate from the ancient Greeks?

Did alchemy originate from the ancient Greeks? I heard alchemy is based on ancient Greek philosophy. Is this true?
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Is Thales's claim that everything starts with water/wetness, in ontological meaning, in agreement with his claim that: “Everything is full of gods”?

Thales claimed water as his arche, but Aristotle says that he also said that "Everything is full of gods". Are those two claims in agreement?
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Who first said that he who cannot govern himself cannot govern others?

What philosopher said that he who cannot govern himself cannot govern others? I heard that Foucault said something similar, but surely Aristotle or even King Solomon may have said something similar.
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I am looking for a parable that tells about a tyrant and an honest poor man

Brief paraphrase: In a certain city there lived a tyrant and a poor man, the tyrant did not know about his tyranny and believed that he was doing the right thing, the poor man saw the tyrant's ...
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75 views

What is known of Anaximander's reasoning behind his belief that the Earth floated?

Anaximander was the first philosopher (at least that I know of) to argue that the Earth floated in space without support and without being enveloped by the cosmic ocean. I have heard his reasoning for ...
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Does the Platonic triad originate with Plato?

A Platonic triad of Good, True, and Beautiful is something I run into online and in popular philosophy books. For example: https://catholicgnosis.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/the-platonic-triad/ It's been ...
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Number of causes in Porphyry

Aristotle proposed a well known and much studied doctrine of Four causes. Seneca the Younger in the first years of the new era wrote that his quintam Plato adicit exemplar, quam ipse idean vocat (as ...
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Where in Aristotle's Topics did he say there's no exact/clear way to distinguish two concepts?

I've heard that Aristotle supposed in his Topics that there's no exact/clear way to distinguish two concepts. What exactly did he say?
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Why did Aristotle claim we can't wish our friends be gods?

Aristotle asks at the close of Book VIII, Chapter 7 of the Nicomachean Ethics: Can one wish their friend the highest good, namely, to be a god? He seems to provide several reasons to think not. ...
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Academic consensus on Egypt as origins/impetus of Ancient Greek philosophy

My question concerns the thesis about the controversial thesis about Ancient Egypt being the origins or the cause of Ancient Greek philosophy. I understand that the pendulum has swung on this issue ...
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Plato Symposium - Is Socrates's Response to Agathon Warranted?

I'm reading Plato's symposium and I had a question about the section 199b - 201c where Socrates responds to Agathon. This comes after Agathon's speech, but before Socrates tells the tale of Diotima. ...
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Original Text Sources for 2 Aristotle ideas - 1/ nous on nous , 2/ sprial of knowledge - which texts did Aristotle first mention these in?

I am trying to track down the first mention original sources of some ideas of Aristotle in philosophy that some philosophy professors made in some university lectures. The first idea is 1/ Nous on ...
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What is the most internally-consistent theory of forms?

I'm trying to construct a fictional reality out of the Socratic-era (ideally) theories of Forms, but every philosopher's attempt seems to have at least one fatal flaw (and most of them several big ...
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According to Plato, can there be forms for a certain class of particulars?

In the beginning of Parmenides, Plato seems to think that most, or possibly all, particulars do not have corresponding forms; but he is not very explicit about why. My question is, does it not make ...
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Apart from Religious content, what philosophical doctrines can be found in the Bible?

today i read the Eclesiastes, and found it quite alike of Stoicism, so i wondered, since the bible is just a compilation of books that are not necessarily related, i wanted to know what other ...
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The concept of nature in the Greek philosophy

My question is: Is it possible to point to a development in the concept of "nature" in the period between pre-Socratic philosophers and Aristotle (inclusive)? Thank you very much.
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What percentage of extant Greek texts from Antiquity constitute philosophy?

I recently asked on Literature Stack Exchange, What percentage of clay tablets found in Mesopotamia contain literature? and was only able to define an upper limit 4% literature in the overall corpus ...
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“Corresponding behaviour” in text on Socrates' philosophy

I don't know if this is the right place to post this question, but as I was reading Diogenes Laertius' 'The Life of Socrates', I came upon the following line: "He recommended to the young the ...
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“There is no difference, if no difference can be detected”

As far as I remember there was an ancient philosopher who said something like "there is no difference (between two objects) if no difference can be detected", but I don't remember who was that and how ...
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I'm trying to identify a rhetorical device

I already asked this question on the writing forum, but I suppose the subject matter is better suited here. Once again, I am writing a commentary on the book of Galatians, while employing a socio-...
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Are there any Good Compilations of Socrates?

Fellow Thinkers, does anyone know of a book that has compiled all the main sources that we know Socrates from (Plato, Xenophon, Aristophanes, ...)? Thank you for your time. - SDH
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What are some arguments against the third man argument?

I'm working on a paper concerning the third argument. I have my own solution in mind but I need other arguments to refute so that I can then move onto my argument. I found another thread on this topic ...
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What are the important questions about pre-socratic philosophy?

I am self-studying pre-socratic philosophy. I want to know what are the relevant questions that I need to ask to myself. The idea is to ensure that I understood the important parts of this period in ...
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Are there any ancient Greek philosophers with a 'complete' philosophy that never made it to prime time?

There are at least a couple-dozen Greek Philosophers (in my estimation) whose ideas were both popular and comprehensive enough that they were taught throughout antiquity. Pythagoras, Democritus, Plato,...
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Where can I access or purchase Aristotelis Opera (edited by Immanuel Bekker)?

I have been trying to find the following as I am very interested in reading Aristotle in the original Greek: Aristotle. Aristotelis opera. Edited by Immanuel Bekker, Christian August Brandis, and ...
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For Aristotle, how and why does friction generate heat?

I'm still a bit new to Aristotle, so this question may be imperfect: In Meteorology, Aristotle uses friction to explain how the sun generates heat. Although it's composed of aether, and not fire, ...
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Is there any evidence that Nietzsche read anything by Zarathustra?

Here are two verses of Zarathustra from his Gathas published in the The Hymns of Zoroaster: A New Translation of the Most Ancient Sacred Texts of Iran by M. L. West: 40.10 And that reward, Mindful ...
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Random Emergence

In De Caelo 300b, Aristotle introduces the idea of the random emergence of the natural: "it is possible that with this disorderly motion some of the elements might have unified in those combinations ...
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Allegory of the cave and Forms?

In my philosophy class, the professor told us about the allegory of the cave and how it relates to the Forms. From what I understood, regular people only see shadows of the Forms; but by doing ...
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What sort of philosophy does this come into?

Okay so I'm going to have a very hard time trying to convey what I want to because I myself am unsure on how to frame this question. Is there any philosophical branch that deals with 'binarial' ...
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Does the concept of Axis Mundi imply the idea of a symmetric universe?

In the mythologies of many cultures the universe is thought to have a center ( i do not mean the geographical concretisations which are obviously not accurate, i mean the philosophical conception ) ...
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Did Ancient Greeks believed that only God can give Agape Love, the unconditional love for everyone?

Ancient Greeks defined love as 6 different types. Eros, Philia, Ludus, Agape, Pragma, Philautia. Agape love is Unconditional Love. Can God only give Agape Love, the unconditional love for everyone? ...
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How similar were Epicureans and Stoics to Buddhism on suffering?

One of the main goals of the Buddhist philosophy/religion is to be free of suffering. Buddhism identifies ego, desire, non acceptance of impermanence, ignorance and all negative emotions(because the ...
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Which ancient Greeks are known to have commentated on Zeno's Paradoxes?

The Stanford Encycl. of Philosophy mentions that we know of Zeno's work only through various secondary sources, "principally through Aristotle and his commentators." I was wondering, which other ...
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Which works of Plato and Aristotle (Ancient Greek if there is more worth it) should I read to get a context to study Continental Rationalism?

I'm trying to get a better ground to get into Continental Rationalism between Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, etc. I read on the Plato Encyclopedia of Philosophy that Plato and Aristotle influenced them, ...
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How does one understand the second and third triad in Hegels Logic?

The first dialectical triad in Hegels Logic and put in a mathematical form is Being + Nothing = Becoming Although a strange sum, I find this understandable. His second dialectical triad takes the ...
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Do wholes tell us what the parts are?

According to one reading of the atomic hypothesis it is parts that are fundamental and they tell us what wholes are, and in fact, what wholes are possible. For example: A tree is made up of roots, ...
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Dasein and know thyself

Socrates famously asked the question 'know thyself'. When I first read of this it impressed me. It seemed like an important question. What could be more important than knowing your own self? It seems ...
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Is there an ur-philosophy behind the philosophy of Pythagoras and Lao Tze Tung?

Chapter forty-two of the Dao De Jing has the following: The Dao engenders One One engenders Two Two engenders Three And Three engenders the many myriad things This looks rather like how ...
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Some similarity of Leibniz and Anaxagoras

As early as 1666 Leibniz was able to compose "A Conjecture Why It Seems That Anaxagoras Could Have Said That Snow Is Black" (A II, 1, 4-5). Later, as a librarian, he became extraordinarily well read ...
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What is the meaning of the quote from Anaxogoras? “even those who have occasion for a lamp supply it with oil.”

According to Plutarch, When Pericles heard that Anaxagoras was starving himself, Pericles approached Anaxagoras begging him to stop starving himself since if Anaxagoras were to die,Pericles will lose ...
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The clay theory of the universe

The Aristotelian notion of hylomorphism involves the form/matter duality where the matter in question is not the atomist conception we learn in physics, but a kind of primordial clay that all forms ...
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According to Aristotle, can knowledge of geometry exist outside of particular subjects?

In the Categories, Aristotle gives the example of Socrates' knowledge of grammar for something that is 'present in' a subject, i.e. inseparable from it. That makes sense to me: if Socrates dies, his ...
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Why does Philo skip Genesis 1?

In Νόμων Ἱερῶν Ἀλληγορίαι, (Legum Allegoriæ), Stoic Philosopher Philo of Alexandria sets out to make an allegorical commentary on Genesis 2-3. Why does Philo choose to pick up with chapter 2 instead ...
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Marsilio Ficino' commentary on the Symposium on Love guidance

Is Marsilio Ficino's commentary on the Symposium on Love a good book to read alongside the Symposium for someone who is reading the Platonic dialogue? Does it give a good understanding of the ...
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Why is it true that anything that changes must be divisible according to Aristotle?

Aristotle states in Physics 6:4: Further, everything that changes must be divisible. For since every change is from something to something, and when a thing is at the goal of its change it is no ...