The Great Thinkers "The Greeks" By: Steven Austad

Greeks first started as a society that was based firmly in polytheism. God's represented natural features and disasters, things they feared and things they loved. The big three were: Poseidon the god of the sea, Hades the god of the underworld, and finally the most prominent Zeus the god of the sky. These gods and their heroes still didn't fulfill gaps. They were not perfect and if they were all powerful why would they mess with human life? Thus the first philosophers needed to explain the gaps. They decided to brake tradition and form some of the earliest philosophers. Early philosophers tried to explain what was happening around them by using science, reason, and observation. Many philosophers are known today such as Socrates and Plato. Both of whom started their own schools and were well accepted by the people and as the oracle at the time said the smartest and wisest of their times.

Statue of Socrates

Who are we?

How can we be happy?

Does the universe have a purpose?

These are just a few questions that frequented talks among philosophers. Philosophers in the Grecian era frequently debated other philosophers and even normal civilians asking questions like this in Greek life.

'Greek society played a prominent role in their society. Politics was particularly affected by it. Politicians tended to be philosophers themselves, they deemed themselves more fit to rule. Their were to main groups of politicians at that time, like modern day Republicans vs. Democrats, these were both political optimism and political pessimism. Political optimism is essentially the belief that mankind is naturally good and could essentially be given freedom and aloud to govern themselves. Political pessimism is essentially the belief that mankind is evil and must be careful watched and governed (Fernández-Armesto, Felipe). Plato, who is still a renowned philosopher, was essentially a communist. He was a political pessimist and he believed that the state should suppress certain ideas and should be governed by superior "guardians of the cities" (Fernández-Armesto, Felipe).

As the Greek world became larger by way of conquest their influence grew. As their reach grew their influence did as well. Under a great conquer by the name of Alexander the great who believed in philosophy contributed to the spread of Hellenism throughout Afroeurasia during his reign. Greek influence continued to in that part of the world even after he was long gone.

We see Greek philosophy still influencing mathematics, science, and even modern philosophy. Pythagoras, helped develop modern day geometry. In science we still recognize and refer to Aristotle's observation methods and his theories in physics are still respected by the mainstream. Lastly today we still ask the same questions that the Greeks asked when they were contemplating almost unanswerable questions.

Works Cited

Cristian. "Greek Philosophy." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. "The World: A History, Volume 1, CourseSmart EText, 3rd Edition." Fernandez-Armesto, The World: A History, Volume 1, CourseSmart EText. Person, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Fjordmari. "The Ancient Greeks and the Invention of Natural Philosophy | The Brussels Journal." The Ancient Greeks and the Invention of Natural Philosophy | The Brussels Journal. N.p., 4 Dec. 2009. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

"Hellenistic." Ancient World History. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.

Violatti, Cristian. "Greek Philosophy." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., 11 June 2013. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.


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