Lecture Two
The Genesis of Philosophy

  1. How did it all get started?

    1. The Intellectual Shift -

      1. mythos - story, narrative, mythos

      2. logos - argument, account, explanation

    2. The Social/Political/Historical Context -

      1. Where? - Hellas (Greece)

      2. When? - 7th Century BCE

        1. Egypt - 26th Dynasty/3rd IP
        2. Judea – destruction of Jerusalem/Babylonian Captivity (587 BCE) - Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Daniel
        3. Mesopotamia – Fall of Assyria (612 BCE)/Rise of Neo-Babylonian Empire (Nebuchadnezzar II)
        4. Persia – Cyrus the Great (559-530 BCE), Zoroastrianism
        5. India - completion of the Upanisads; Siddhartha Gotama (c. 563 – c. 483 BCE) and the Buddhist reformation
        6. China - Lao Tzu (born c. 604 BCE) composes the Tao Te Ching; K'ung-fu-tzu (551-479 BCE) composes the I-ching and Analects

      3. WHY? - What's so different about Greece?

        1. Geography
        2. Economy
        3. Politics

  2. The First Philosophers ("Pre-Socratics"):

    1. What is the substance of things?

      1. Thales (c. 585 BCE) - all things are “water”

      2. Anaximander (c. 580 BCE) – all things come from the “infinite” (ton apeiron)

      3. Pythagoras (c. 571 BCE) - all things are made of ”numbers”

      4. Democritus (c. 460 BCE) - all things are made of “the indivisible” (atom)

    2. What is the nature of Nature?

      1. Change - Heraklitos (c. 500 BCE) - all things are in motion

      2. Permanence - Parmenides c. 485 BCE – all things are one


return to Notes Index
return to Barry's HP