History of Philosophy

By Martin Holmes,2014-10-03 05:11
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History of Philosophy

Stage one: Ancient Times

    - People make up their own stories and mythologies to explain things happening

    around them

    - They transfer the uncertainty elsewhere instead of using their own reasoning - Philosophical questions cannot be escaped through easy answers

Stage two: Natural Philosophers

    - Monolists



    - Empedocles

     Four elements system

    - Democritus

     Everything is composed of small and inseparable particles called atoms - Fate

     Ancient Greek was fatalist and believes that everything is predetermined.

Stage three: Classics Era

    - Socrates

     Spent his life conversing with people

     He asks questions to teach people to come to philosophical conclusions on

    their own

     He believed he did not know very much, which made him smarter than any.

     Believed in human reason and people can only be happy if they act

    according to their reason

     People would not act in a way to make themselves unhappy - Plato

     Everything in nature changes

     There is an eternal world of ideas outside of the natural world

     Each thing we see is an idea that exists somewhere else

     We cannot have true knowledge about things that change, but we can have

    knowledge of things we perceive through reason

     People are made of body from the natural world and soul from the world if


     Women are just as capable of reasoning as men

    - Aristotle

     Study the changes within the nature

     World of ideas does not exist

     The ideas are a concept we develop after experiencing

     Nothing exists beyond our perception

     Everything happening in nature has a purpose

     He categorized nature and founded logic

     Women are unfinished men

Stage four: Middle Ages

    - People focus on Religion and Death

    - Indo European Culture


     Sight is the most important sense

    - Semitic Culture

     Monotheism, the belief in one God


     Spread across Indo European Cultures and incorporated those cultures

     Jesus showed that one could not earn salvation but God will forgive all

    who ask for forgiveness

    - Middle Ages / Dark Ages

     Universities and schools were established

     Nation-states become established with their major cities

     Cultural and population decline,

     Feudalism set in

     Pope was set up as head of the Church

     Monarchs gain power

     Greek-Roman cultures split up and came back again in the Renaissance - St. Augustine

     Salvation came only through the Church

    - St. Aquinas

     Brought Aristotle into Christian religion and tried to show that reason and

    faith complement each other

Stage five: Renaissance

    - People’s attention shifts from God to humanity, with a focus on individuals

    - Cultural lives flourished

    - God was present throughout nature, pantheism returned

    - Empirical methods were used, with focus on investigation and experimentation. - Science becomes important

    - Innovations were good and bad and irreversible

Stage six: Baroque

    - Baroque

     People believed life was like a theater.

     Philosophy was characterized by conflict between idealism and materialism - Descartes

     Descartes decided he did not know very much.

     He doubted philosophical works that had been handed through the Middle

    Ages and he set out to build his own philosophical system.

     He concerns with certain knowledge and the mind/body relationship.

     Descartes doubted everything that was not certain and then realized that

    the very fact of his doubting meant he must be thinking.

     He decided that the existence of God is also certain, and went on to define

    the world in terms of thought and matter, which he called extension.

     The mind and body interact, but the goal is to get the mind to operate solely

    according to reason.

    - Spinoza

     Spinoza was heavily influenced by Descartes

     Suggested that Bible should be carefully read

     Suggested that all is God and God is all

     God controlled all through natural laws

    - Locke

     Divided the world into two qualities

     Primary qualities can be accurately perceived

     Secondary qualities vary from person to person

     Support division of power within government

    - Hume

     Greatest of the empiricists

     He believed that perception was made up of "impressions" and "ideas".

     Impressions are how we experience the world, and ideas are what we recall

    of our impressions.

     He pointed out that we have no unchanging ego, since what we perceive as

    ourselves is in reality a huge number of perceptions that change rapidly.

     Hume was an agnostiche felt the question of God's existence was beyond

    human reason.

     Just because every time we have seen a stone dropped it has fallen to the

    ground does not mean that it has to do so. We simply expect it to fall

     We impose our idea of cause and effect on the world.

     We act in accord with our feelings, not our reason.

    - Berkeley

     Berkeley questioned even more than the other empiricists.

     Berkeley felt that all of our feelings and ideas can stem from our soulsjust

    like when we are dreaming.

     Berkeley believed that we exist only in God's mind.

     It we don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist.

Stage seven: Enlightenment

    - Characterized by much "opposition to authority", politically as well as


    - People had tremendous faith in reason.

    - They wanted the people to be enlightened.

    - They felt that we must return to a better, more natural way of living. - They felt that people had fundamental natural rights and they fought to see

    those rights upheld.

    - Kant

     Kant worked from the views of the empiricists and the rationalists.

     He believed that certain factors in our mind influence our experience of the


     We innately perceive everything as occurring in time and space Kant divides the world into things as they are in themselves and as we

    perceive them.

     We cannot know things as they are in themselves, but we can know how we

    perceive them.

     Kant felt that we cannot know the answers to certain questions because

    they lie beyond human reason. He believed that these questions are

    answerable only through faith.

     Kant also believed that everyone has innate moral reason,

    Stage eight: Romanticism

    - Universal Romanticism

     The Romantic period was characterized by a worship of the individual and


     Romantics felt that art was humanity's greatest expression of freedom. Schelling

     Saw nature as a world spirit


     Believed the world spirit was just the sum of human interactions.

     He thought truth was subjective and that human reason changed each

    generation. Thoughts must be judged in their contexts and right and

    wrong change accordingly.

     Human knowledge is always increasing through history, so history is


     Language forms people, rather than vice versa.

     The world spirit realizes itself in three increasing stages

    ; In the individual it is the subjective spirit

    ; In the community the objective spirit

    ; In art, religion, and philosophy it is the absolute spirit.

    - National Romanticism,

     Concerned with history, language, and culture of the people. Fairy tales and folk songs became important.

    Stage nine: Contemporary

    - Individualism and Romantic World Spirit are both right

    - Kierkegaard

     Kierkegaard felt that the Romantics neglect a person's responsibility for their

    own life.

     He was angered by people's ambivalence about religion.

     He founded existentialism, the philosophy that is concerned with the

    existence of each individual.

     He felt objective truths were useless and th at each person could only

    attempt to discern what is true for himself.

     Reason is not that important, since we worry about things that it cannot


     Life consists of an aesthetic stage, an ethical stage, and a religious stage, and

    we must decide to move between them.

    - Marx

     Marx was a historical materialist.

     He wanted philosophy to be practical.

     Marx believed that economic forces caused change in society. He defined society in terms of material bases and a superstructure of


     He pointed out that the natural resources of a society determine what the

    society will produce and what type of society it will be. Those who have control of the means of production determine societal

    norms, and this is usually the ruling class.

     Marx felt there was always conflict between two classes in society

    - Darwin

     Darwin became well known as a natural scientist

     All plants and animals had evolved from earlier forms and that this process

    occurs through natural selection.

     We are all part of a system of revolution

    - Freud

     Freud pointed out that we have unconscious drives that can affect our


     Freud found that people had often repressed certain events in their life in

    their unconscious.

     Freud felt that our minds are made up of three parts.

     The id is our desire for pleasure.

     The ego takes reality into account and regulates the id.

     And the superego is the societal morality that regulates everything we


     Superego constantly comes into conflict with our desires

     He suggested that dreams are a way of fulfilling our wishes.

    Stage ten: Modern

    - Sartre


     Felt that existentialists have nothing but humanity to go on. Sartre thought that there is no general human nature but rather that we

    must create our own.

     He viewed our freedom as a burden, since we must assume complete

    responsibility for our actions and find our own meaning in life through the

    use of our consciousness.

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