History of Hellenistic (Hellenism) PhilosophyJune 28, 2021
Hellenistic philosophy, the end of the city-state BC. With the year 323 BC, the last great empire of the Hellenistic Age was a part of Rome. It is the name given to the philosophy of the period between the year 30.
The four major schools of philosophy in this period are, in order, Academy, Peripatetic School, Epicureanists and Stoicism. Out of these four schools, the Epicurean philosophy, with its hedonistic morality and the view of being that rejects God’s intervention in the universe, became the philosophy that outweighed and left its mark on the period.
The belief in the correct and proper functioning of the mind as the highest human good with a purposeful understanding of the universe found its strongest expression in the Stoics. This purposive view of the universe, embodied in the views of the Stoics, is in contrast with Epicurus’ view of being, a view inherited from Socrates in the final analysis.
Another school of philosophy that emerged during this period was skepticism, which was distinguished by the reaction to all philosophies, and especially Stoic philosophy, on the grounds that they were dogmatic. Finally, towards the end of the period, Poseidonios, Panaetios and Antiochus tried to combine Stoic philosophy with Platonic and Aristotelian teachings.
The second period of Ancient philosophy after Hellenistic philosophy; politically, it consists of Hellenistic philosophy, which consists of the philosophy of the period between 322 BC, when the city-state ended, and 30 BC, when the last great empire of the Hellenistic age was a part of Rome, and Roman philosophy, which lasted until approximately the 5th century AD, under the rule of Rome. . This period is also a period in which classical theories underwent a major transformation due to the very fundamental social and political changes that took place.
The dominant philosophy in Hellenistic-Roman philosophy is, of course, Greek philosophy. Because a separate school of philosophy was not established in Rome, independent of the Greek philosophical schools. Rather, the schools of philosophy of the Hellenistic period were represented there by philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Cicero, Lucretius and Sextus Empiricus. Therefore, it can be said that the most important feature of Hellenistic philosophy is the Hellenization of the Mediterranean and especially of the East. In a period of about seven centuries, Greek culture spread rapidly to the world surrounding the Mediterranean, especially towards the last period, Alexandria became an important center of culture and philosophical culture.
During the said Hellenistic-Roman philosophy period, four major schools of philosophy, Epicureanism, Stoicism, Septicism and Neo-Platonism, emerged as the dominant philosophies of the era, and the first three of them were in serious competition among themselves. Among the four schools in question, it can be said that the Epicurean School, with its hedonistic ethics and the view of being that rejects God’s intervention in the universe, became more prominent as the philosophy that left its mark on the period. The belief in the correct and proper activity of the mind as the highest human good with a purposeful understanding of the universe found its strongest expression in the Stoics.
This purposive view of the universe, embodied in the views of the Stoics, is diametrically opposed to Epicurus’ mechanistic view of being, a view inherited from Socrates in the final analysis. Another philosophical school that emerged in this period was Septicism, which became distinguished by the reaction to all philosophies, and especially Stoic philosophy, on the grounds that they were dogmatic. Finally, towards the end of the Roman era, Plotinos, who set off from Plato’s philosophy, represented a philosophy that approached religion, and influenced the formation of the necessary philosophical framework for Christianity and Islam.
The most important feature of Hellenistic philosophy is that it arranges its subjects in the form of logic, physics and ethics. In other words, apart from Skepticism that challenged philosophical knowledge or knowledge of reality, and Neoplatonism that emerged much later, a school of philosophy or a doctrinal philosophy in the Hellenistic period, (i) a methodology of discovery that also includes a certain criterion of truth, (ii) an understanding of the origin of the world, its components, structure, and order, as well as man’s place in it; and (iii) an explanation of what happiness was and how to attain it. In other words, it can be said that ethics came to the fore more than these three subjects in the Hellenistic period.
Indeed, with an attitude inherited from Aristotle, including the theory of knowledge, logic has been seen as a method of reaching correct information and an indispensable tool of philosophy. As a matter of fact, as a result of this understanding, especially the Stoics made very important contributions to the field of logic. But physics remained relatively in the background, rather fulfilling the function of being a foundation and preparation for ethics. Therefore, in this period, philosophers adopted the views of pre-Socratic natural philosophers, instead of developing new theories in the field of physics or existence. According to this, Stoics Heraclitus’ understanding of being, Epicurus Dem