Formation of Greek PhilosophyNovember 25, 2019
500-600 years ago, the Iranian state under the domination of Europe has made efforts to spread its effectiveness.
These attempts were met by the resistance of the Greeks, a small nation in love with freedom. The Greeks managed to destroy the very powerful navy of the Iranians and pour their army into the sea. Thus, the Greeks emerged as a new nation in the history of our culture.
The Greek defeat of Iran remained the only image documenting their national troops. Because this particular nation, unlike Babylon, Egypt and Iranians, has consistently dispersed life. At no time in their history did the Greeks establish a systematic and holistic state. Constantly, one clashed with the other and destroyed themselves through civil wars.
It is noteworthy that the word polis police ada in Greek means both city and state. Every city in Greece was an independent state. Conflicts were not only between these independent city-states, but also between classes and individuals within the same city. The ancient Greeks were people who literally lived in you-I contention. One of the important reasons why they could not establish an organized and systematic state stems from these personality structures.
These features, which have great political drawbacks, have in a way been the preparer of positive results. Thus, the formation of the class of priests in the Greeks should be considered as a result of these character structures. In Greece, over time, the class of priests took the place of thinkers. Greek religion was created by poets, not priests. Homer is the father of this religion . Criticism of this art has been initiated against religion in the establishment of religion.
The ancient Greeks consists of three major tribes: the village consisting of ethnic Eoliaı on , made up of soldiers descent living in southern and Dorialı’s (Spartans are made of this length), consisting of merchants and sailors descent İonialılar . The Ionians, like every nation of sailors and merchants, were curious and inquisitive. As Aristotle put it, the basis of science is the spirit of curiosity and research and the astonishment of something new. The real creator of the philosophy is the Greeks. But the Ionian Greeks created the philosophy more accurate. Ionians have established colonies in various places and especially on the Anatolian coasts. These Ionian colonies formed the high level products of Greek culture for the first time in 600 BC. This development did not last long and half a century after its establishment, the Iranians occupied the colonies. After that, the attacks of the Iranians on the European side of Greece began. As it is known, with the unification of the Greeks, this attack was fruitless. The Iranian wars, which resulted in victory, led to the rise of Greece in terms of both politics and culture.
For example, BC. Between the years 400-300 we witness two great thinkers like Plato and Aristotle in Athens. But Athens’ political superiority did not last long. It caused the destruction between Athens and Isparta.
Alexander’s Asian expeditions had important cultural results. Thanks to these expeditions, cultural history has progressed and mutual dialogue has been established between Eastern and Western cultures. In the encounter of these two cultures , a movement called “Hellenism” was formed. The characteristic feature of Hellenism is the spread of Greek culture and thought to the east on the one hand, and the religious thought of the east into the west. Hellenism consists of the mixing and merging of currents from these opposite directions.
The greatest political event of the Hellenism era was the establishment of the Roman Empire. Rome managed to establish a strong state system in the west. Rome is the creator of the “Roman Law” which is very important for our cultural environment . At the end of the growth of Rome, Greece, BC. In 146, it lost its political independence and became a Roman province. However, Greece retained its cultural guidance, and the Romans could not escape being Greek students in culture. The East was both a guide and a judge of religious influences. As a matter of fact, during this Hellenistic period, great monotheist religions were born with various religious influences from the East, first Christianity and then Islam.
Thus, we have outlined the history of the first period of our cultural environment. Greek philosophy took its place within this historical framework and later continued its formation by taking the name Hellenistic philosophy. What sources do we learn about Greek philosophy and its history? We learn Greek philosophy primarily from the many texts left to us. Today, for instance, we have almost all of Plato’s works and most of Aristotle’s works. A lot of information has reached us from the philosophers before and after Plato. The synthesis of this information is almost done.
The Greeks have been interested in the history of philosophy, especially since Aristotle. It has been customary to group Greek historians of philosophy in two clusters: biographers and doxographers. Biographers describe especially the backgrounds of the philosophers they study. One of the most important biographical works that we have reached us is MS II. Diogenes of Laertli. Diogenes counts the philosophers he knows in this order and gives information about their backgrounds and works. It is very difficult to assume that Diogenes may have seen all the works in question. At best, he may have benefited from some sources of historical philosophy that are unknown to us today. Doxographers, for example, like the beginning of the universe or life, they deal only with a single problem of philosophy and describe the views and convictions of various philosophers. It is right to speak of Aristotle at the head of the doxographers. Aristotle, who started the first scientific study, took care to reveal what his predecessors said and found in relation to the subject he was dealing with. This is why Aristotle is a very important doxographic source for the history of Greek philosophy.
After Aristotle, doxographic research was done. Of particular importance is Theophrastos, a follower of Aristotle. Although some doxographic works written after Theophrastos have reached us, we do not know for sure which sources they were written. We have obtained our knowledge of ancient philosophy from these sources. In particular, we will proceed from the information given by Aristotle. Aristotle rightly, for the first time in philosophy, addressed the issue of the source of the universe. He reports that the subject of the “source of the universe” had been dealt with only theologically from before. Later, he mentions the emergence of physicists opposing theologians.
Before theologians, the poet Hesiod was interested in this. B.C. Hesiod, who lived in about 700 BC, was born to a family of farmers from northern Greece. We are left with a few chapters of his work “Teogoni” . In this work, Hesiod repeats the question raised in the old Vedic inscriptions: What was there when the gods were gone? What is the source of the gods? According to Hesiod, there is chaos at the beginning of everything. It is joined by Eros, the symbol of creative power, and Gaia, symbolizing the earth. These first forces that Hesiod placed at the beginning of everything are both concrete and abstract.
At the beginning of the universe, Hesiod accepts beings that are neither fully concrete nor fully abstract, but mediate between these two, and departs from the view that the Gods are only concretely adopted, and adopts the concept of understanding them. There are others like Hesiod who think this way. We will not take them into account, and we will only talk about thinkers whom Aristotle calls “physicists.” Physicists move from direct observation and experimental events, not from the source of the Gods and their existence, from legends and problems. Hesiod’s sanction name “Teogoni” means the formation of the gods. The works of physicists on “Nature” name. Although theologians have studied the roots of the gods; physicists investigate where nature comes from, what is the root of nature and ask questions about them. What they call nature is nature, which we all know is the world of seas, land, plants, animals and people.
- What is Miletus?
- Who is Thales?
- Who is Anaximandros?
- Who is Anaximenes?
- Who is Theophrastos?
- Who is Hesiod?
- What is Hellenism?
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade “Introduction to Philosophy” and “Introduction to Sociology” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Other Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM), Lecture Notes of Ernst von Aster.