The State of Greek Philosophy After AristotleJune 26, 2021
In parallel with the development of sciences as a specialty, which started with Aristotle and continued after him, philosophy in this period had the real meaning we understand from philosophy today. This philosophy consisted of three main disciplines: Logic, physics (metaphysics), ethics.
“Logic” was perceived as a discipline, an introduction to philosophy, a beginning, showing the right path that philosophical thought should follow. Physics (there was no concept of metaphysics at that time), on the other hand, was conceived as a discipline that comprehends nature holistically and examines the forces that are effective in nature. For this reason, the issue of whether Gods exist or not was also included in the subject of physics. Morality, on the other hand, was perceived as a branch of philosophy that investigated the relations between man and the universe. Moral, “What is the position of man in the universe? What is the meaning of human life? What duties did man come to the world to do? It will seek answers to questions such as: Morality, in the words of that time, will make the “highest good” its subject, that is; “How to achieve the highest good?” will look for the answer to the question and gradually develop, it will become the basic discipline of philosophy.
Philosophy has begun to be dealt with in order to know what kind of attitude a person should take in the face of life and what duties he has. Thus, morality has become the “purpose” of philosophy, and philosophy has achieved maturity with morality. Physics, on the other hand, undertook the task of only being the basis for morality, which has become the main discipline of philosophy. Because, in order to know how man will behave towards the universe, it is necessary to know the structure of the universe first. Logic, on the other hand, will show what path must be followed in order to know the universe. However, philosophy, which found its main purpose in morality, gradually turned into a “religious view”. Because the ancient Greek religion, with its gods, mythology and traditions, was no longer satisfying the intellectuals. For the cultured people of that period, philosophy filled the place left empty by tradition and religion. This development caused philosophy to be divided into a number of opposing schools.
The characteristic aspect of the philosophy of this period: In particular, the subject of “death” was added to the moral issues that occupied the minds. The ancient Greeks perceived death as a very natural event. However, in this period we are talking about, death is no longer a natural event, it has become a “problem”. Therefore; “What attitude should we take towards life?” In addition to the question, “What attitude should we take in the face of death?” the question has been posed. Thus, “what would be the most appropriate attitude” in the face of life, which necessarily includes death, became one of the main issues that concern the philosophy schools of this period.
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