Classification of Ancient Greek PhilosophyJune 28, 2021
Excluding Indian and Chinese culture, Ancient philosophy or Ancient philosophy, beginning in the 6th century BC and going back to the 5th or even 6th century AD, until 529, when the famous Roman Emperor Justinian closed the School of Athens, the last school representing Greek philosophy, to represent Greek philosophy. Hellenistic philosophy is divided into two.
In other words, Ancient philosophy, which is similar to medieval philosophy in terms of adopting the same teleological worldview, which constitutes the common cultural heritage of both Christian and Islamic philosophy and the spiritual basis of Western culture as a whole, is classified in the first classification based on historical, cultural and geographical elements. It is classified or categorized by dividing it into two separate periods as philosophy and Hellenistic philosophy.
Hellenic philosophy, which corresponds to the first 300-year period of Ancient philosophy, corresponds to its most intense, strongest and brightest period. Compared to Hellenistic philosophy, which has a relatively longer or nearly 700-year history, it exhibits almost entirely opposite features. Accordingly, while Hellenic philosophy began with a break with religion or mythopoetic thought, with the belief that natural events should be explained by natural causes instead of supernatural causes; Hellenistic philosophy, especially in its late periods or Neo-Platonist philosophy, approaches religion again and gains a mystical character. Where Hellenic philosophy was pure in the sense of being both naïve and unmixed with other cultures, Hellenistic philosophy was at least a Greek impure philosophy in the sense of being mixed with Roman culture and partly with Eastern philosophy.
The natural political setting of Hellenic philosophy is the city-state, the philosopher of the Hellenic period tries to answer the ethical-political questions determined by the ideal of reaching a happy life in the city-state. However, the political setting of the Hellenistic period is empire; In this period, the philosopher tries to find solutions to the serious problems of the people who are isolated and alienated in the world where the imperial order has expanded its borders. As can be understood from this, Hellenic philosophy developed in large part as a purely theoretical philosophy, believing that the universe was intelligible from all aspects, even if it was at times closely concerned with ethical and political issues. Whereas, Hellenistic philosophy is a practical philosophy that concentrates purely on the problem of morality, leaving almost all other disciplines of philosophy aside; it emerges as a skeptical philosophy that accepts that reality is incomprehensible in some cases, and sometimes mystified by abandoning reason.
Hellenic philosophy, which historically started with Thales and continued until Aristotle’s death in 322, is divided into three in itself as Presocratic philosophy or natural philosophy, Socratic philosophy or philosophy on Man and Systematic Period or Great Socratics period. Hellenistic-Roman philosophy, the second major period of ancient philosophy, which began in the last quarter of the 4th century BC and continued until the 6th century AD, also consists of two main eras or philosophical epochs. The first of these is the philosophy of the Hellenistic age, which officially corresponds to the historical period between 322 and 331 BC. The main school or philosophies of Hellenistic philosophy are the Stoic, Epicurean and Skeptic schools, which were established in the Greek world next to Plato’s Akademia and Aristotle’s Lykeium. The second main period of the period consists of Roman philosophy.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook