What is the role of philosophy in the Greek World?

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larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Philosophy was important in the Greek world, and was developed primarily from their contact through trade with other cultures, such as the Phoenicians, Egyptians and Babylonians. The combination of intellectual thought borrowed from these other cultures resulted in a uniquely Greek philosophy in which reason alone was important. Among the great thinkers of ancient Greek civilization:

  • Socrates - who considered integrity and honesty the highest good. He famously taught his disciples only by asking questions, thus encouraging them to wrestle with issues of ethics and morality.
  • Plato - Socrates' famous student, who said that virtue was an abstract idea which no human could hope to attain but to which all should aspire. His famous work discussed that which he called the World of Forms and Ideas.
  • Aristotle - A student of Plato, who taught his students to rely on their senses and rigid application of logic to arrive at the truth. A testimonial to the importance of Aristotle is that he was retained by Philip II of Macedon to tutor his son Alexander.



agkuo2000 | Student

Back then, philosophy was very important. perhaps  they had the first philosophers ever, but the greeks did not like them because they thought that the philosophers were questioning if Zues, Hera, etc... exist.