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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Was Socrates a fictional character invented by Plato?

I have read a lot of websites that suggest Socrates was a fictional character created by Plato (albeit without the citation of any corroborating evidence), but I have also read the opposite (and by "...
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Why did Epicureanism become "the main opponent" of Stoicism?

I was reading about Epicureanism on Wikipedia, and there I saw that, apparently, Epicureanism was in conflict with Stoicism and Platonism. I then read up on those two philosophies, and well, they do ...
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Does Plato see tyranny as final?

Plato's Republic famously describes the decay of the regimes, a process by which a society decays from the best regime, that of aristocracy, to the lowest, that of tyranny. However, the purpose of ...
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Is virtue necessary to achieve eudaimonia?

Stoics believe that virtue (ἀρετή) is necessary and sufficient to achieve happiness (εὐδαιμονία). It was the "sufficient" portion that marked Stoics out from other ancient philosophy, but I suspect ...
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Are Hellenistic schools of philosophy also therapeutic regimes?

Martha C. Nussbaum argues in The Therapy of Desire: Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics that all three major Hellenistic schools (Epicureanism, Stoicism, Skeptics) shared a practical, ...
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How do Neoplatonic interpretations differ from original Platonic ideas?

The Wikipedia entry on Neoplatonism says: Neoplatonists would have considered themselves simply Platonists, and the modern distinction is due to the perception that their philosophy contained ...
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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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Was Socrates a monotheist?

I know my question seems weird, but in Plato's books Apology, Crito, and Phaedo (and probably in other books since I've read only these three and I am in the middle of the third one), when Socrates ...
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Did Thales really argue this?

Neil deGrasse Tyson in “Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still” (Cosmos) says something to the following effect. The ancient Greek philosopher Thales argued that natural events such as weather patterns weren'...
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What triggered the philosophical movement in the ancient West?

The history of civilization in the West (i.e. Europe) goes back many thousands of years. Since well before 1000 BC there have been people living in what is now Turkey, Greece, and even Italy, in such ...
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What was ancient Philosophy written on/with?

What did ancient philosophers, like Plato, use to write their works on/with, physically? (Tree bark, animal skin, types of writing utensils, etc)
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Did Greek philosophers know about Eastern philosophies?

Were the philosophers of Ancient Greece aware of Eastern Philosophies, such as Zoroastrianism or Buddhism? Is there any mention of them, either directly, or similar concepts in existing writings?
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Why is Nietzsche so against Socrates?

Nietzsche recalls the story that Socrates says that 'he has been a long time sick', meaning that life itself is a sickness; Nietszche accuses him of being a sick man, a man against the instincts of ...
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If Parmenides denied the reality of void, would he then have affirmed the reality of space?

Lucretious, in his poem de rerum natura had atoms moving through the void. It seems at least from a modern perspective that his void is what we would call space. The interesting question, which I ...
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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 ...
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Is Aristotle's "Poetics" the first work of literary criticism?

Is it accurate to characterize Aristotle's Poetics as the first work of literary criticism, or does something earlier than this survive—fragmented or otherwise? Poetics goes through what a work of ...
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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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What Did Plotinus Mean by Contemplation?

Plotinus' philosophy is intriguing, but his use of contemplation stumps me. In particular, he speaks of non-humans (even non-living things IIRC) contemplating. So what does he mean by contemplation? ...
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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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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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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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In greek philosophy, what is the difference between "gnosis" and "episteme"?

In greek philosophy, Plato especially, what is the difference between "gnosis" and "episteme" ? Both apparently designate different types of knowledge, but I couldn't find any precise description of ...
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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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Is there a theory of time consistent with Heraclitus?

Heraclitus is recorded as saying: Upon those who step into the same river, different and again different waters flow (Arius Didymus, Dox. Gr.) It is not possible to step twice into the same river......
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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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Formal treatments for Stoic Logic

Philosophers such as Susanne Bobzien have provided work that provides a basis for axiomatising Stoic logic, however, the treatments I have seen focus on exposition of ancient works, with little ...
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In what sense are a brown horse and a dark ox "three together"?

Confuzius started the fight against the sophists back then. After his death other sophists like Kung-sun Lung came and stated things like: "The shadow of a flying bird doesn't move." Ok, this ...
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Does Aristotle think universals are identical to particulars?

In this passage: (Physics 189a7-9) For that which is universal is more easily known in the former way, since accounts are of what is universal, and that which is particular in the latter, since ...
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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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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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Why were books of philosophy available in the orchestra in Platos time?

This isn't a philosophical question per se; but asking for some clarifying background information on a classic book of philosophy. In Platos dialogue Apologia Socrates mentions that Anaxagoras books ...
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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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What does Timaeus mean in this saying?

The proportion perfectly achieves this goal. For, when three numbers, three masses or three forces whatever, the mean is to the last what the first is to the mean and to the first what the last is to ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Chrysippus and Strict Implicature

In A History of Ancient Philosophy, Karsten Friis Johansen claims that Chrysippus offers a theory of truth for conditionals that is a version of strict implicature and intensional semantics. However, ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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Is "the mind" in Phaedo the same as "Nous" in Neoplatonic philosophy?

Phaedo 97c speaks about Anaxagoras that he says "that it is the mind that arranges and causes all things. I was pleased with this theory of cause, and it seemed to me to be somehow right that the mind ...
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Must everything in time be subject to time?

Take Lucretian atoms, are they subject to time? For how they arrange themselves, when they move and collide; they are subject to time; but this is in relation to other atoms, or to the place they ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Can Euclid's Elements be used to rigorously prove 2+2=4?

It is possible to formally prove that 2+2=4 using Peano's five axioms for the natural numbers and elementary set theory (actually a long and tedious process). Is it possible to prove it based on the ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Does entelechy have a contrary?

As I understand it, entelechy is a term that is associated with Aristotle who used it in the sense of the actualisation or complete realisation of an entity's potential. As far as we know, was ...
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3 votes
3 answers
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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3 votes
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What Epictetus meant in "Enchiridon" XLVI?

In Enchiridon ch. XLVI Epictetus wrote: If any conversation should arise among uninstructed persons about any theorem, generally be silent [...] And when a man shall say to you, that you know ...
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Who was the Greek philosopher that created a punctuation mark meaning "or so it seems to me at the moment"?

In high school I read about an ancient Greek philosopher who developed a punctuation mark that signified "or so it seems to me at the moment." This made it easy for this philosopher to qualify his ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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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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Who were the major innovators of new types of syllogisms?

Who were the major innovators of new kinds of syllogisms (i.e. introduced disjunctive syllogisms, etc) in the ancient and medieval periods aside from Aristotle, Theophrastus, the Stoics, and Goclenius?...
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3 votes
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How does Democritus account for eidola in terms of his atomic theory, if in fact he does?

'Eidola' is the peeling away of images from an object that then enters the eye, in Democritus' theory of optics. However, given his atomic theory, it seems puzzling that he doesn't attempt to explain ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Is Oedipus Rex as an encounter of reason with myth?

I'm interested in alternate readings of Oedipus Rex, as opposed to the orthodox modern position embedded in Philosophy since Freud. I've noticed, that the wikipedia entry on Sophocles treatment of ...
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3 votes
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Translation of a greek word in Stoic thought

I'm reading this article on Ariston of Chios. On the 9th page of the article Schofield uses " ἡγεμονιχόν", stating that the "What Ariston had noticed was that, although committed to a plurality of ...
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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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