Ancient Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BC and continued throughout the Hellenistic period and the period in which Ancient Greece was part of the Roman Empire. Philosophy was used to sense out of the world in a non-religious way. It dealt with a variety of subjects, including political philosophy, metaphysics, logic, rhetoric. Many philosophers around the world agree that Greek philosophy has influenced much of Western culture since its inception, alfred North Whitehead once noted, The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. Clear, unbroken lines of lead from ancient Greek and Hellenistic philosophers to Early Islamic philosophy, the European Renaissance. Some claim that Greek philosophy, in turn, was influenced by the wisdom literature. But they taught themselves to reason, Philosophy as we understand it is a Greek creation. Subsequent philosophic tradition was so influenced by Socrates as presented by Plato that it is conventional to refer to philosophy developed prior to Socrates as pre-Socratic philosophy.
The periods following this, up to and after the wars of Alexander the Great, are those of classical Greek, the pre-Socratics were primarily concerned with cosmology and mathematics. They were distinguished from non-philosophers insofar as they rejected mythological explanations in favor of reasoned discourse, Thales of Miletus, regarded by Aristotle as the first philosopher, held that all things arise from water. It is not because he gave a cosmogony that John Burnet calls him the first man of science, according to tradition, Thales was able to predict an eclipse and taught the Egyptians how to measure the height of the pyramids. He began from the observation that the world seems to consist of opposites, they cannot truly be opposites but rather must both be manifestations of some underlying unity that is neither. This underlying unity could not be any of the classical elements, for example, water is wet, the opposite of dry, while fire is dry, the opposite of wet. Anaximenes in turn held that the arche was air, although John Burnet argues that by this he meant that it was a transparent mist, the aether.
Xenophanes was born in Ionia, where the Milesian school was at its most powerful, Burnet says that Xenophanes was not, however, a scientific man, with many of his naturalistic explanations having no further support than that they render the Homeric gods superfluous or foolish. He has been claimed as an influence on Eleatic philosophy, although that is disputed, and a precursor to Epicurus, a representative of a total break between science and religion. Pythagoras lived at roughly the time that Xenophanes did and, in contrast to the latter. Parmenides of Elea cast his philosophy against those who held it is and is not the same, and all travel in opposite directions, —presumably referring to Heraclitus
Timaeus is one of Platos dialogues, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the title character Timaeus of Locri, written c.360 BC. The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world, participants in the dialogue include Socrates, Timaeus and Critias. Some scholars believe that it is not the Critias of the Thirty Tyrants who is appearing in this dialogue, but his grandfather and it has been suggested that Timaeus influenced a book about Pythagoras, written by Philolaus. The dialogue takes place the day after Socrates described his ideal state, in Platos works such a discussion occurs in the Republic. Hermocrates wishes to oblige Socrates and mentions that Critias knows just the account to do so, Critias proceeds to tell the story of Solons journey to Egypt where he hears the story of Atlantis, and how Athens used to be an ideal state that subsequently waged war against Atlantis. Critias believes that he is getting ahead of himself, and mentions that Timaeus will tell part of the account from the origin of the universe to man, the history of Atlantis is postponed to Critias.
The main content of the dialogue, the exposition by Timaeus, Timaeus begins with a distinction between the physical world, and the eternal world. The physical one is the world changes and perishes, therefore it is the object of opinion. The eternal one never changes, therefore it is apprehended by reason, the speeches about the two worlds are conditioned by the different nature of their objects. Indeed, a description of what is changeless and clearly intelligible will be changeless and fixed, while a description of changes and is likely, will change. As being is to becoming, so is truth to belief, therefore, in a description of the physical world, one should not look for anything more than a likely story. Timaeus suggests that since nothing becomes or changes without cause, the cause of the universe must be a demiurge or a god, and since the universe is fair, the demiurge must have looked to the eternal model to make it, and not to the perishable one. Hence, using the eternal and perfect world of forms or ideals as a template, he set about creating our world, Timaeus continues with an explanation of the creation of the universe, which he ascribes to the handiwork of a divine craftsman.
The demiurge, being good, wanted there to be as good as was the world. The demiurge is said to bring out of substance by imitating an unchanging. The ananke, often translated as necessity, was the only other co-existent element or presence in Platos cosmogony, Platonists clarified that the eternal model existed in the mind of the Demiurge. Timaeus describes the substance as a lack of homogeneity or balance, in which the four elements were shapeless, considering that order is favourable over disorder, the essential act of the creator was to bring order and clarity to this substance. Therefore, all the properties of the world are to be explained by the choice of what is fair and good, or
Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy before Socrates and schools contemporary to Socrates that were not influenced by him. In Classical antiquity, the Presocratic philosophers were called physiologoi, Aristotle called them physikoi because they sought natural explanations for phenomena, as opposed to the earlier theologoi, whose philosophical basis was supernatural. Diogenes Laërtius divides the physiologoi into two groups, led by Anaximander, and the Italiote, led by Pythagoras, hermann Diels popularized the term pre-socratic in Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker in 1903. However, the term pre-Sokratic was in use as early as George Grotes Plato, edouard Zeller was important in dividing thought before and after Socrates. Major analyses of pre-Socratic thought have been made by Gregory Vlastos, Jonathan Barnes and it may sometimes be difficult to determine the actual line of argument some Presocratics used in supporting their particular views. While most of them produced significant texts, none of the texts has survived in complete form, all that is available are quotations by philosophers and historians, and the occasional textual fragment.
The Presocratic philosophers rejected traditional mythological explanations of the phenomena they saw them in favor of more rational explanations. These philosophers asked questions about the essence of things, From where does everything come, how do we explain the plurality of things found in nature. How might we describe nature mathematically, others concentrated on defining problems and paradoxes that became the basis for mathematical and philosophic study. Later philosophers rejected many of the answers the early Greek philosophers provided, the cosmologies proposed by them have been updated by developments in science. Western philosophy began in ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE, the Presocratics were mostly from the eastern or western fringes of the Greek world. Their efforts were directed to the investigation of the ultimate basis and they sought the material principle of things, and the method of their origin and disappearance. As the first philosophers, they emphasized the unity of things.
Only fragments of the writings of the presocratics survive. The knowledge we have of them derives from accounts - known as doxography - of philosophical writers, the first Presocratic philosophers were from Miletus on the western coast of Anatolia. Thales is reputedly the father of Greek philosophy, he declared water to be the basis of all things, next came Anaximander, the first writer on philosophy. He assumed as the first principle an undefined, unlimited substance without qualities, out of which the primary opposites and cold, moist and dry, became differentiated. His younger contemporary, took for his air, conceiving it as modified, by thickening and thinning, into fire, clouds, water
Alexander of Aphrodisias
Alexander of Aphrodisias was a Peripatetic philosopher and the most celebrated of the Ancient Greek commentators on the writings of Aristotle. He was a native of Aphrodisias in Caria, and lived and taught in Athens at the beginning of the 3rd century and he wrote many commentaries on the works of Aristotle, extant are those on the Prior Analytics, Meteorology and Sensibilia, and Metaphysics. Several original treatises survive, and include a work On Fate, in which he argues against the Stoic doctrine of necessity and his commentaries on Aristotle were considered so useful that he was styled, by way of pre-eminence, the commentator. Alexander was a native of Aphrodisias in Caria and came to Athens towards the end of the 2nd century and he was a student of the two Stoic, or possibly Peripatetic, philosophers Sosigenes and Herminus, and perhaps of Aristotle of Mytilene. At Athens he became head of the Peripatetic school and lectured on Peripatetic philosophy, Alexanders dedication of On Fate to Septimius Severus and Caracalla, in gratitude for his position at Athens, indicates a date between 198 and 209.
A recently published inscription from Aphrodisias confirms that he was head of one of the Schools at Athens and his full nomenclature shows that his grandfather or other ancestor was probably given Roman citizenship by the emperor Antoninus Pius, while proconsul of Asia. The inscription honours his father, called Alexander and a philosopher and this fact makes it plausible that some of the suspect works that form part of Alexanders corpus should be ascribed to his father. Alexander composed several commentaries on the works of Aristotle, in which he sought to escape a syncretistic tendency and his extant commentaries are on Prior Analytics, Meteorology and Sensibilia, and Metaphysics. The commentary on the Sophistical Refutations is deemed spurious, as is the commentary on the nine books of the Metaphysics. The lost commentaries include works on the De Interpretatione, Posterior Analytics, Physics, On the Heavens, On Generation and Corruption, On the Soul, simplicius of Cilicia mentions that Alexander provided commentary on the quadrature of the lunes, and the corresponding problem of squaring the circle.
There are several extant original writings by Alexander and these include, On the Soul and Solutions, Ethical Problems, On Fate, and On Mixture and Growth. Three works attributed to him are considered spurious, Medical Questions, Physical Problems, additional works by Alexander are preserved in Arabic translation, these include, On the Principles of the Universe, On Providence, and Against Galen on Motion. On the Soul is a treatise on the soul written along the lines suggested by Aristotle in his own De anima, Alexander contends that the undeveloped reason in man is material and inseparable from the body. He argued strongly against the doctrine of the souls immortality and he identified the active intellect, through whose agency the potential intellect in man becomes actual, with God. A second book is known as the Supplement to On the Soul, the Mantissa is a series of twenty-five separate pieces of which the opening five deal directly with psychology. The remaining twenty pieces cover problems in physics and ethics, of which the largest group deals with questions of vision and light, the Mantissa was probably not written by Alexander in its current form, but much of the actual material may be his.
Problems and Solutions consists of three books which, although termed problems and solutions of physical questions, treat of subjects which are not all physical, and are not all problems. Among the sixty-nine items in three books, twenty-four deal with physics, seventeen with psychology, eleven with logic and metaphysics
Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is a figure known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon. Platos dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity, though it is unclear the degree to which Socrates himself is hidden behind his best disciple, nothing written by Socrates remains extant. As a result, information about him and his philosophies depends upon secondary sources, close comparison between the contents of these sources reveals contradictions, thus creating concerns about the possibility of knowing in-depth the real Socrates. This issue is known as the Socratic problem, or the Socratic question, to understand Socrates and his thought, one must turn primarily to the works of Plato, whose dialogues are thought the most informative source about Socrates life and philosophy, and Xenophon. These writings are the Sokratikoi logoi, or Socratic dialogues, which consist of reports of conversations apparently involving Socrates, as for discovering the real-life Socrates, the difficulty is that ancient sources are mostly philosophical or dramatic texts, apart from Xenophon.
There are no straightforward histories, contemporary with Socrates, that dealt with his own time, a corollary of this is that sources that do mention Socrates do not necessarily claim to be historically accurate, and are often partisan. For instance, those who prosecuted and convicted Socrates have left no testament, historians therefore face the challenge of reconciling the various evidence from the extant texts in order to attempt an accurate and consistent account of Socrates life and work. The result of such an effort is not necessarily realistic, even if consistent, amid all the disagreement resulting from differences within sources, two factors emerge from all sources pertaining to Socrates. It would seem, that he was ugly, Xenophon, being an historian, is a more reliable witness to the historical Socrates. It is a matter of debate over which Socrates it is whom Plato is describing at any given point—the historical figure. As British philosopher Martin Cohen has put it, the idealist, offers an idol, a Saint, a prophet of the Sun-God, a teacher condemned for his teachings as a heretic.
It is clear from other writings and historical artefacts, that Socrates was not simply a character, nor an invention, the testimony of Xenophon and Aristotle, alongside some of Aristophanes work, is useful in fleshing out a perception of Socrates beyond Platos work. The problem with discerning Socrates philosophical views stems from the perception of contradictions in statements made by the Socrates in the different dialogues of Plato and these contradictions produce doubt as to the actual philosophical doctrines of Socrates, within his milieu and as recorded by other individuals. Aristotle, in his Magna Moralia, refers to Socrates in words which make it patent that the virtue is knowledge was held by Socrates. Within the Metaphysics, he states Socrates was occupied with the search for moral virtues, however, in The Clouds, Aristophanes portrays Socrates as accepting payment for teaching and running a sophist school with Chaerephon. Also, in Platos Apology and Symposium, as well as in Xenophons accounts, more specifically, in the Apology, Socrates cites his poverty as proof that he is not a teacher.
Two fragments are extant of the writings by Timon of Phlius pertaining to Socrates, although Timon is known to have written to ridicule, details about the life of Socrates can be derived from three contemporary sources, the dialogues of Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of Aristophanes
The Megarian school of philosophy, which flourished in the 4th century BC, was founded by Euclides of Megara, one of the pupils of Socrates. Its ethical teachings were derived from Socrates, recognizing a single good, some of Euclides successors developed logic to such an extent that they became a separate school, known as the Dialectical school. Their work on logic, logical conditionals, and propositional logic played an important role in the development of logic in antiquity. The Megarian school of philosophy was founded by Euclides of Megara and his successors, as head of the school in Megara, were said to have been Ichthyas, and Stilpo. It is unlikely, that the Megarian school was a genuine institution, besides Ichthyas, Euclides most important pupils were Eubulides of Miletus and Clinomachus of Thurii. However, Euclides himself taught logic, and his pupil, via Stilpo, the Megarian school is said to have influenced Pyrrho, the Eretrian school under Menedemus and Asclepiades, and Zeno, the founder of Stoicism.
Zeno was said to have studied under Stilpo and Diodorus Cronus, Euclides had been a pupil of Socrates, but ancient historians regarded him as a successor to the Eleatics, hence his philosophy was seen as a fusion of Eleatic and Socratic thought. Thus the Eleatic idea of The One was identified with the Socratic Form of the Good, and the opposite of Good was regarded by Euclides as non-existent. But the emphasis of his thought is not on being but on the good and this theme is typically Socratic, what matters is the moral good and the will of the good person to strive towards it. Stilpo is said to have continued the Eleatic tendency, by asserting a strict monism and denying all change and motion, in ethics, Stilpo taught freedom, self-control, and self-sufficiency, approaching the teachings of the Cynics, another Socratic school. This was the work of Diodorus Cronus and Philo the Dialectician, through their development of propositional logic, the Dialectical school played an important role in the development of logic, which was an important precursor of Stoic logic.
The Megarians and the Stoics, in Gabbay, Woods, Handbook of the History of Logic, Indian, the Dialectical School and the Origin of Propositional Logic with an annotated bibliography Herbermann, Charles, ed. Megarians
Unlike the existing school of skepticism, the Pyrrhonists, they maintained that knowledge of things is impossible. Ideas or notions are never true, there are degrees of probability, and hence degrees of belief, the school was characterized by its attacks on the Stoics and on their belief in convincing impressions which lead to true knowledge. The most important Academic skeptics were Arcesilaus and Philo of Larissa, greek skepticism, as a distinct school, began with Pyrrho of Elis, about whom very little is known. His followers, the Pyrrhonists, maintained that our theories and our sense impressions were unable to distinguish truth from falsehood. They were consistent enough to extend their doubt even to their own principle of doubt and they thus attempted to make their skepticism universal, and to escape the reproach of basing it upon a fresh dogmatism. Mental imperturbability was the result to be attained by cultivating such a frame of mind, around 266 BC, Arcesilaus became head of the Platonic Academy, and adopted skepticism as a central tenet of Platonism.
This skeptical period of ancient Platonism, from Arcesilaus to Philo of Larissa, became known as the New Academy, although some ancient authors added further subdivisions, the Academic skeptics do not seem to have doubted the existence of truth in itself, only the capacities for obtaining it. The attitude maintained by the Academics contained a criticism of the views of others. But they acknowledged some vestiges of a law within, at best but a probable guide. Up to Arcesilaus, the Platonic Academy accepted the principle of finding a general unity in all things, however, broke new ground by attacking the very possibility of certainty. Socrates had said, This alone I know, that I know nothing, but Arcesilaus went farther and denied the possibility of even the Socratic minimum of certainty, I cannot know even whether I know or not. Arcesilaus held that strength of intellectual conviction cannot be regarded as valid, the uncertainty of sense data applies equally to the conclusions of reason, and therefore man must be content with probability which is sufficient as a practical guide.
We know nothing, not even our ignorance, therefore the man will be content with an agnostic attitude. The next stage in Academic skepticism was the moderate skepticism of Carneades, which he said owed its existence to his opposition to Chrysippus, Carneades is the most important of the Academic skeptics. All our sensations are relative, and acquaint us, not with things as they are, experience, he said, clearly shows that there is no true impression. There is no notion that may not deceive us, it is impossible to distinguish between false and true impressions, therefore the Stoic phantasia kataleptike must be given up, there is no phantasia kataleptike of truth. Carneades assailed Stoic theology and physics, there is, he concluded, no evidence for the doctrine of a divine superintending providence. Even if there were orderly connexion of parts in the universe, no proof can be advanced to show that this world is anything but the product of natural forces
Late antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, and the Near East. The development of the periodization has generally been accredited to historian Peter Brown, precise boundaries for the period are a continuing matter of debate, but Brown proposes a period between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Generally, it can be thought of as from the end of the Roman Empires Crisis of the Third Century to, in the East, the early Islamic period, following the Muslim conquests in the mid–7th century. In the West the end was earlier, with the start of the Early Medieval period typically placed in the 6th century, beginning with Constantine the Great, Christianity was made legal in the Empire, and a new capital was founded at Constantinople. The resultant cultural fusion of Greco-Roman and Christian traditions formed the foundations of the subsequent culture of Europe, the term Spätantike, literally late antiquity, has been used by German-speaking historians since its popularization by Alois Riegl in the early 20th century.
Concurrently, some migrating Germanic tribes such as the Ostrogoths and Visigoths saw themselves as perpetuating the Roman tradition, Constantine confirmed the legalization of the religion through the so-called Edict of Milan in 313, jointly issued with his rival in the East, Licinius. Monasticism was not the only new Christian movement to appear in Late Antiquity, notable in this regard is the topic of the Fifty Bibles of Constantine. Within the recently legitimized Christian community of the 4th century, a division could be distinctly seen between the laity and an increasingly celibate male leadership. Celibate and detached, the clergy became an elite equal in prestige to urban notables. The Late Antique period saw a transformation of the political and social basis of life in. The Roman Empire was in a sense a network of cities, archaeology now supplements literary sources to document the transformation followed by collapse of cities in the Mediterranean basin. Burials within the urban precincts mark another stage in dissolution of traditional urbanistic discipline, overpowered by the attraction of saintly shrines, in Roman Britain, the typical 4th- and 5th-century layer of black earth within cities seems to be a result of increased gardening in formerly urban spaces.
A similar though less marked decline in population occurred in Constantinople. In Europe there was a decline in urban populations. As a whole, the period of antiquity was accompanied by an overall population decline in almost all Europe. Long-distance markets disappeared, and there was a reversion to a degree of local production and consumption, rather than webs of commerce. The degree and extent of discontinuity in the cities of the Greek East is a moot subject among historians. In the western Mediterranean, the new cities known to be founded in Europe between the 5th and 8th centuries were the four or five Visigothic victory cities
Pergamon /ˈpɜːrɡəmən/ or /ˈpɜːrɡəmɒn/ or Pergamum /ˈpɜːrɡəməm/ was a rich and powerful ancient Greek city in Aeolis. It is located 26 kilometres from the coastline of the Aegean Sea on a promontory on the north side of the river Caicus. Many remains of its monuments can still be seen and especially the outstanding masterpiece of the Pergamon Altar. It became the capital of the Kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period under the Attalid dynasty in 281–133 BC, Pergamon is cited in the Book of Revelation as one of the seven churches of Asia. Xenophon provides the earliest surviving mention of Pergamon. Captured by Xenophon in 399 BC and immediately recaptured by the Persians, in 261 BC he bequeathed his possessions to his nephew Eumenes I, who increased them greatly, leaving as heir his cousin Attalus I. The Attalids became some of the most loyal supporters of Rome in the Hellenistic world, for their support against the Seleucids, the Attalids were rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in Asia Minor.
As a consequence of its rise to power, the city expanded greatly, until 188 BC, it had not grown significantly since its founding by Philetaerus, and covered c.21 hectares. After this year, a new city wall was constructed,4 kilometres long and enclosing an area of approximately 90 hectares. The Attalids ruled with intelligence and generosity, many documents survive showing how the Attalids supported the growth of towns by sending in skilled artisans and by remitting taxes. They allowed the Greek cities in their domains to maintain nominal independence and they sent gifts to Greek cultural sites like Delphi and Athens. They remodeled the Acropolis of Pergamon after the Acropolis in Athens, when Attalus III died without an heir in 133 BC, he bequeathed the whole of Pergamon to Rome in order to prevent a civil war. Not everyone in Pergamon accepted Romes rule, who claimed to be Attalus brother as well as the son of Eumenes II, an earlier king, led a revolt among the lower classes with the help of Blossius.
The revolt was put down in 129 BC, and Pergamon was divided among Rome, Pergamon was briefly the capital of the Roman province of Asia, before the capital was transferred to Ephesus. After a slow decline, the city was favoured by several imperial initiatives under Hadrian, in addition, at the city limits the shrine to Asclepius was expanded into a lavish spa. This sanctuary grew in fame and was considered one of the most famous therapeutic, after Hippocrates the most famous physician of antiquity, was born at Pergamon and received his early training at the Asclepeion. Pergamon reached the height of its greatness under Roman Imperial rule and was home to about 200,000 inhabitants, the city was an early seat of Christianity and was granted a bishopric by the 2nd century. The city suffered badly during the century and was badly damaged by an earthquake in 262 and was sacked by the Goths shortly after
Aristotle was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist born in the city of Stagira, Chalkidice, on the northern periphery of Classical Greece. His father, died when Aristotle was a child, at seventeen or eighteen years of age, he joined Platos Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven. Shortly after Plato died, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip II of Macedon, teaching Alexander the Great gave Aristotle many opportunities and an abundance of supplies. He established a library in the Lyceum which aided in the production of many of his hundreds of books and he believed all peoples concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. Aristotles views on natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his works, Aristotles views on physical science profoundly shaped medieval scholarship. Their influence extended from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages into the Renaissance, some of Aristotles zoological observations, such as on the hectocotyl arm of the octopus, were not confirmed or refuted until the 19th century.
His works contain the earliest known study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern formal logic. Aristotle was well known among medieval Muslim intellectuals and revered as The First Teacher and his ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotles philosophy continue to be the object of academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues – Cicero described his style as a river of gold – it is thought that only around a third of his original output has survived. Aristotle, whose means the best purpose, was born in 384 BC in Stagira, Chalcidice. His father Nicomachus was the physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. Aristotle was orphaned at a young age, although there is little information on Aristotles childhood, he probably spent some time within the Macedonian palace, making his first connections with the Macedonian monarchy. At the age of seventeen or eighteen, Aristotle moved to Athens to continue his education at Platos Academy and he remained there for nearly twenty years before leaving Athens in 348/47 BC.
Aristotle accompanied Xenocrates to the court of his friend Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor, there, he traveled with Theophrastus to the island of Lesbos, where together they researched the botany and zoology of the island. Aristotle married Pythias, either Hermiass adoptive daughter or niece and she bore him a daughter, whom they named Pythias. Soon after Hermias death, Aristotle was invited by Philip II of Macedon to become the tutor to his son Alexander in 343 BC, Aristotle was appointed as the head of the royal academy of Macedon. During that time he gave not only to Alexander
Ammonius Hermiae was a Greek philosopher, and the son of the Neoplatonist philosophers Hermias and Aedesia. He was a pupil of Proclus in Athens, and taught at Alexandria for most of his life, writing commentaries on Plato and other philosophers. Ammonius father, died when he was a child, when they reached adulthood, Aedesia accompanied her sons to Athens where they studied under Proclus. Eventually, they returned to Alexandria, where Ammonius, as head of the Neoplatonist school in Alexandria, lectured on Plato and Aristotle for the rest of his life. According to Damascius, during the persecution of the pagans at Alexandria in the late 480s, who scolds Ammonius for the agreement that he made, does not say what the concessions were, but it may have involved limitations on the doctrines he could teach or promote. He was still teaching in 515, Olympiodorus heard him lecture on Platos Gorgias in that year and he taught Asclepius of Tralles, John Philoponus and Simplicius. He was an astronomer, he lectured on Ptolemy and is known to have written a treatise on the astrolabe.
Of his reputedly numerous writings, only his commentary on Aristotles De Interpretatione survives intact, a commentary on Porphyrys Isagoge may be his, but it is somewhat corrupt and contains interpolations. In De Interpretatione, Ammonius contends that divine foreknowledge makes void the contingent, like Boëthius in his second Commentary and The Consolation of Philosophy, this argument maintains the effectiveness of prayer. Ammonius cites Iamblichus who said knowledge is intermediate between the knower and the known, since it is the activity of the knower concerning the known, Ammonius, On Aristotle Categories, translated by S. M. Cohen and G. B. Ammonius, On Aristotles On Interpretation 1–8, translated by D. Blank, Ammonius, On Aristotles On Interpretation 9, with Boethius, On Aristotles On Interpretation 9, translated by D. London and Ithaca 1998 John Philoponus, On Aristotle On Coming-to-be and Perishing 1. 1–5, london and Ithaca 1999 John Philoponus, On Aristotle On Coming-to-be and Perishing 1. 6–2.4, translated by C. J. F.
Williams. John Philoponus, On Aristotle On the Soul 2. 1–6, london and Ithaca 2005 John Philoponus, On Aristotle On the Soul 2. 7–12, translated by W. Charlton. London and Ithaca 2005 John Philoponus, On Aristotle On the Soul 3. 1–8, london and Ithaca 2000 John Philoponus, On Aristotle On the Intellect, translated by W. Charlton. Ammonios of Alexandria, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Ancient Natural Scientists, georgia Irby-Massie and Paul Keyser, New York, Routledge,2008. Jones, A. Martindale, J. Morris, J, the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Cambridge University Press,1992, pages 71–72. Platonists on Aristotle from Antiochus to Porphyry, New York, Oxford University Press,2006, Gerhard and the Seabattle. The Philosophy of the Commentators, 200–600 AD, a Sourcebook, Cornell University Press,2005
Plato was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the most pivotal figure in the development of philosophy, unlike nearly all of his philosophical contemporaries, Platos entire work is believed to have survived intact for over 2,400 years. Along with his teacher and his most famous student, Plato laid the foundations of Western philosophy. Alfred North Whitehead once noted, the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. In addition to being a figure for Western science, philosophy. Friedrich Nietzsche, amongst other scholars, called Christianity, Platonism for the people, Plato was the innovator of the written dialogue and dialectic forms in philosophy, which originate with him. He was not the first thinker or writer to whom the word “philosopher” should be applied, few other authors in the history of Western philosophy approximate him in depth and range, perhaps only Aristotle and Kant would be generally agreed to be of the same rank.
Due to a lack of surviving accounts, little is known about Platos early life, the philosopher came from one of the wealthiest and most politically active families in Athens. Ancient sources describe him as a bright though modest boy who excelled in his studies, the exact time and place of Platos birth are unknown, but it is certain that he belonged to an aristocratic and influential family. Based on ancient sources, most modern scholars believe that he was born in Athens or Aegina between 429 and 423 BCE. According to a tradition, reported by Diogenes Laertius, Ariston traced his descent from the king of Athens, Codrus. Platos mother was Perictione, whose family boasted of a relationship with the famous Athenian lawmaker, besides Plato himself and Perictione had three other children, these were two sons and Glaucon, and a daughter Potone, the mother of Speusippus. The brothers Adeimantus and Glaucon are mentioned in the Republic as sons of Ariston, and presumably brothers of Plato, but in a scenario in the Memorabilia, Xenophon confused the issue by presenting a Glaucon much younger than Plato.
Then, at twenty-eight, Hermodorus says, went to Euclides in Megara, as Debra Nails argues, The text itself gives no reason to infer that Plato left immediately for Megara and implies the very opposite. Thus, Nails dates Platos birth to 424/423, another legend related that, when Plato was an infant, bees settled on his lips while he was sleeping, an augury of the sweetness of style in which he would discourse about philosophy. Ariston appears to have died in Platos childhood, although the dating of his death is difficult. Perictione married Pyrilampes, her mothers brother, who had served many times as an ambassador to the Persian court and was a friend of Pericles, Pyrilampes had a son from a previous marriage, who was famous for his beauty. Perictione gave birth to Pyrilampes second son, the half-brother of Plato and these and other references suggest a considerable amount of family pride and enable us to reconstruct Platos family tree