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Interacting Between Classical Philosophy and the Modern World

Interacting Between Classical Philosophy and the Modern World

As you may be aware, each generation and culture generates its brand of philosophy.

Even if you are not interested in entering into a philosophical debate, learning about classical authors will help sharpen your intellect and critical thinking skills.

Without question, you will also have the advantage of seeing your own life from a different perspective.

Some of the classical authors talked about are;

  1. Socrates

Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher known to be one of the western philosophy founders.

Socrates was born in the 5th century is around 470 BCE in Athens and died in 399 BCE. He was charged with corrupting the youths, convicted, and sentenced to death. He died from drinking poisoned hemlock juice.

His birthplace Athens was known for its excellent learning skills. They traveled around to educate people on cosmology, rhetoric, astronomy, and so on. Socrates was no exception among these teachers.

His teaching method usually termed the ‘Socratic method,’ is a question and answer style. He examined numerous topics and used the conclusions from the answers to develop interesting definitions of virtues.

He teaches and believes that people do not do bad things out of their own will. Instead, they do so out of ignorance.

Also, he believes that courage is simply a virtue, but he doesn’t realize or know what it is all about. He claims he does not know anything good or noble.

His numerous claims and ideas made him acquire many political opponents. Even when he is on trial, he still tells his persecutors that they are not concerned about their souls.

He insisted that they were interested in things around them instead of their souls. He also believed that virtue cannot be nurtured but rather a divine gift.

Socrates most famous quotes

  1.  “The one thing I know is that I know nothing.”
  2.  “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
  3. Plato

Plato was Socrates’ student. He was born around 420 BCE and died around 340 BCE. His real name was Aristotle, while Plato was a nickname given to him for his broad shoulders. He was a wrestler.

He focused on metaphysics as his branch of philosophy. He focused on getting to know the truth and reality about things.

He developed the ‘theory of form’ and has ‘Republic’ as his most famous work. His work condemned democracy just like his teacher Socrates did. He instead believes in the society being perfectly ruled by philosophers.

However, these philosophers in question might not want to rule but want to be compelled by the society to lead, but this compilation cannot happen considering the look of things.

Plato has to his credit 13 letters and 36 dialogues. Most of these dialogues, of course, feature Socrates.

He focused his general works on politics, ethics, and metaphysics. He followed the footstep of his great teacher.

Plato made numerous contributions to society. Some of these contributions are;

  1. a) Establishment of Europe’s first university named ‘the Academia or ‘the Academy.’
  2. b) Originator and definition of spiritual love.
  3. c) Plato’s Timaeus describes the ‘body of the universe,’ which is the four elements: earth, fire, air, and water.
  4. His academy is known to produce many great mathematicians. d) Encouragement of Pythagoras theory in his academy which can be seen as he writes at the academy’s entrance, ‘let nobody oblivious of geometry enter here. Etc.
  1. Aristotle

Aristotle was a student of Plato. He was born in Stageira around 384 BCE and died around 322 BCE.

He previously enrolled under Isocrates to study philosophy and rhetoric but enrolled under Plato at Plato’s Academy after a short while.

After 20 years of been in Athens, he moved over to study zoology and botany, which, after his studies, established his school named ‘Lyceum.’ His school was found when he was 50 years old.

He was Alexander the great’s teacher. And because of his great pay, while teaching Alexander the great, he was considered the wealthiest philosopher.

He encouraged people to learn by induction, which resulted in establishing his school’s peripatetic school of philosophy.

While he lectures, he likes to do so while they take a walk. This method is regarded as peripatetic philosophy.

He believed that one’s nature and not knowledge found virtue as opposed to his teacher’s teachings.

He talked on numerous topics, including ethics, mathematics, biology, logic, politics, optics, physics, metaphysics, botany, poetry, zoology, and many more.

He believes that experiences teach and that formed basis of his facts. He was known to be a great writer, as seen in the many publications he made. He was known to have written about one thousand pamphlets and books.

What is the idea behind classical philosophy?

In some cases, you may believe that studying contemporary philosophy is best to understand your generation.

That said, many of the modern concepts are simply revisions of classical writings. If you read authors like Plato, you will see a rich fabric of thoughts and ideas without question.

You may even find that classical reading authors shed more light on the current situation than you realized.

There is an instance.

Consider a situation where you are concerned about the ever-escalating disaster in the financial markets.

As you may be aware, many politicians are advocating an increased amount of control over business owners.

This level of control will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve without compliance audits and other means of enforcing disclosure guidelines.

Essentially, the government will be demanding that business owners become more open about their financial transactions. 

Glaucon’s Ring

Interestingly enough, if you read the story of Glaucon’s Ring, you will see how this type of thinking develops. Without question, being able to hide one’s actions is a power in and of itself.

And, as you will see from the story of Glaucon’s Ring, even the most moral person will slip into all kinds of mayhem if they can get away with it.

Regardless of how you feel about the financial sector bailout plan, it will help you turn to the classical philosophers and see how they look at human nature.

While their views may be somewhat cynical, no question failing to gauge risks accurately played a crucial factor in the current financial meltdown.

Unfortunately, apply the same understanding to money-driven concepts like “drill baby, drill.” You may also see that destroying the environment for the sake of energy may well lead to the extermination of humanity in the next 20 years.

When driving a car, there is no question that failure to see an obstacle entering your path will cause a collision.


The inability to properly understand the ramifications of risky behavior, such as gambling on a business’s future growth, has already led to at least one global financial crisis.

In some cases, simply going back and reading the works of classical philosophers will give you an idea of the current situation and give you some concepts about how to manage your future.

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