Studying about the philosophers from ancient history may seem like an endeavor that is best left to the college classroom. However, many of the philosophers had a profound impact on the way people think, and their teachings still pervade society. Although the philosophers from ancient history lived thousands of years ago, their teachings are still relevant in the modern world.
Socrates is by far one of the most well-known of the philosophers from ancient history, and for good reason. He had a profound effect on Western philosophy. Socrates lived from 470 to 399 B.C.E, and during that time, he became a very influential man. He is most known for the Socratic Method, which involves asking probing questions. Aside from being known for the Socratic Method, Socrates is also well-known for being sentenced to death by hemlock poisoning.
As a student of Socrates, Plato had an equally profound impact on Western thought. He wrote several philosophical works that are still influential and read by philosophy students. The Republic was an especially influential piece of writing regarding government rule. It is an interesting and thought provoking read. Aside from writing, Plato also founded the Academy, which was one of the first institutions for higher education in the Western world.
Keeping tradition alive, Aristotle was a student of Plato’s, and he was just an instrumental as Socrates and Plato in laying the groundwork for Western philosophy. Aristotle tutored Alexander the Great, who ended up conquering a large area of land and creating a vast empire. Being associated with someone so powerful was not Aristotle’s only accomplishment. He also started his own school, the Lyceum.
Epicurus is another ancient Greek philosopher whose teachings still pervade society. Perhaps you have heard of Epicurean cuisine? This type of cuisine gets its name from Epicureanism, which is a philosophy that espouses that things in life should be pleasurable and good. Epicurus is the founder of Epicureanism, which is often viewed as a hedonistic philosophy. Despite the hedonistic side of Epicureanism, not many can deny that a pleasurable life is a good thing.
Pythagoras is most known for the Pythagorean Theorem, which every math student is taught. Who can forget a-squared plus b-squared equals c-squared? While he is most known for this equation, Pythagoras was also a philosopher. However, he did not write anything down, so his theorem is one of the few things he left us.
Siddhartha Gautama was born in 600 B.C.E, and he later became known as Buddha. His teachings are the foundation of the Buddhist religion. Buddha sought to find a way to end suffering and find happiness, which he later asserted could be done by following the Eightfold Path. Buddha’s philosophies and teachings were and are are still extremely influential.
Confucius lived from 51 to 479 B.C.E in China. During his life, China was going through turbulent times, and he sought to bring order. Confucius’ teachings focused on social values such as compassion, tradition, and self-discipline. His philosophy eventually became the official imperial philosophy, and his teachings are still present in traditional Chinese society.
The ancient philosophers may have lived a very long time ago, but their teachings are still very much alive. You may be surprised how much your life is affected by these men. The Socratic Method and Pythagorean Theorem are certainly taught to almost every student. Did you know how much ancient philosophy influences modern life?
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