PHILMAN PRELIM Lesson 3: Greek Wisdom of Man
The Greek Triumvirate
The Greek Triumvirate of philosophy is known for having a chain of teacher-student relationship. Socrates was the teacher of Plato; Plato was the teacher of Aristotle; and Aristotle was the teacher of one of history’s greatest conqueror – Alexander, the Great.
The Greek Triumvirate & the Three Oriental Sages
* Although the teachings of the Three Oriental Sages and the Greek Triumvirate are dissimilar, they however, have a resembling view on the soul of man.
* The Oriental sages and the Greek triumvirate believed that man’s soul pre-existed his body.
* The Greek triumvirate believes that man, in his ...view middle of the document...
* That, however, was too late, as Socrates’ philosophy had already been rooted in people’s minds.
* In course, of time, Socrates’ students ensured that his preachings reached everybody through their writings (Naik, 2010)
Socrates on Man and Virtue
* Since man’s knowledge is inborn, virtue likewise is a natural endowment, not an artificial convention or habit of action to be acquired by education. Virtue may indeed be taught, but this is to be understood not as introducing something foreign to the mindbut rather as merely awakening the seeds of good deeds that perhaps lie dormant in the mind and heart of man.
* Since virtue is inborn in the mind of man and self-knowledge is the source of all wisdom, then the only way to acquire wisdom is simply to know what is in the mind, in the self. Virtue then depended on knowledge and could be defined as true knowledge of one’s self. Hence, the famous Socratic saying, « Knowledge is virtue; Ignorance is vice. »
* True knowledge should not be speculative but practical. Man must not only know the rules of the living, but he must live them. The wise man does not only know the meaning of virtue, but he should live and lead a virtuous life. To Socrates, true knowledge means wisdom which in turn, means virtue.
* « Know thy self » (Socrates’ famous saying)
* According to him evil is the result of ignorance or the opposite of knowledge.
* « An unexamnined life is a life not worth living »
The Socratic Method
* Socrates provided a method that can be used in order to probe into life and into man’s life.
* There are two processes involved in a Socratic Method :
* Ironic process
This process serves to make the seeker of knowledge clear his mental decks for action. It rids the mind of prejudices and leads to a humble and sincere confession of ignorance. It follows the famous Socratic paradox, « the only thing that I know is I know nothing. »
* Maieutic process
After clearing one’s mind through the ironic process, Socrates uses the maieutic method to draw out the truth from his students. This is usually done through a dialogue or a conversation.
FOR EXAMPLE : A certain student wishes to know the nature of virtue. Socrates would initially use the ironic process to clear the mind of the inquirer of all the false hazy and inadequate notions already formed on the subject. Then applying the maieutic method, he would engage with the pupil in a dialogue, directing the discussion in such a manner that various examples of what is called virtue would be considered, examined compared, and studied in their points of resemblances and differences. Gradually there would emerge a clear and precise notion of virtue.
* He was born around 424 B.C. in Athens, Greece.
* He was a great man who studied mathematics, and founded the Academy of Athens, which became the first institution for higher learning.
* However, Plato is best known for a series...