Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Socrates, Plato & Aritotle


Socrates was born in the mid 400's B.C He taught philosophy and taught Plato. Before 400 B.C., he began questioning Athenian values, laws, customs, and religion. In 399, he was brought to trial and found guilty of treason to the gods. He was sentenced to death. His teachings were written down by his student, Plato. He was the first to make a clear distinction between the body and soul, placing a higher value on the soul. He had a noble life, and his calm acceptance of death made him a model for other philosophers to follow.


Plato, one of the most famous Greek philosophers, was born in Athens. Plato wanted to be a politician, but he was repelled when his cousin Critias and uncle Charmides became dictators of Athens,and they invited him to join them. He said they had " cruel, unethical practices". In 403 B.C., democracy was restored to Athens. Plato then tried to get involved in politics, but was repelled again when his friend and teacher Socrates was sentenced to death in 399 B.C. Plato left Athens after Socrates was killed. He returned in 387 B.C., and founded a school of philosophy called the Academy.  The Academy was held in a grove of trees that the Greek hero Academus lived. It was considered the first university by many people.


Aristotle was born in Stagira. When he was 18, he attended the Academy, where he was a student for 20 years. He was known as "the intelligence of  the school" and "reader". In 347 B.C., when Plato died, Aristotle joined a group of Plato's disciples that lived with Hermias, a former Academy student. He stayed for three years and married Hermias's adopted daughter, Pithias. In 343 or 342 B.C., Philip II of Macedonia asked Aristotle to supervise the education of his son, Alexander, who later conquered Greece. After he conquered the Persian empire, he became known as Alexander the Great. Alexander studied under Aristotle until his father, King Philip, was assassinated and he became king of Macedonia. Aristotle returned to Athens in 334 B.C. and founded the Lyceum, a school of philosophy. HE and his followers were called "peripatetic", which means "walking around". Aristotle taught while he was walking. After Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C., Aristotle was charged with impiety, which was a lack of reverence for the gods, by the Athenian people. The Athenians resented his friendship with Alexander, who conquered them. Aristotle went to Chalcis, remembering similar charges against Socrates in 349 B.C. He died one year later in Chalcis.


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