Download e-book for kindle: 101 Great Philosophers: Makers of Modern Thought by Madsen Pirie

By Madsen Pirie

ISBN-10: 0826423868

ISBN-13: 9780826423863

A consultant to a hundred and one thinkers within the historical past of philosophy. It summarizes the contribution one hundred and one key philosophers who've made to the improvement of philosophical inspiration, because the historic Greeks. It bargains a glimpse into every one philosopher's existence and paintings.

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Archimedes, a younger contemporary, wrote to King Gelon that Aristarchus of Samos held the view that ‘the universe is many times larger than generally assumed by astronomers, and the fixed stars are at an enormous distance from the sun and planets’. Because there was no measurable parallax, Aristarchus took the fixed stars to be at a near infinite distance from earth. He took the sun to be one of the fixed stars, but much nearer to the earth than the others. Aristarchus thus held a view of the earth as a tiny speck in a 36 101 Great Philosophers gigantic universe, a view which diverged from contemporary opinion, and which upset religious convention.

More lastingly, Plato founded the Academy, a school for philosophers. Plato believed in reincarnation, and that people could live many successive lives before achieving the eternal peace and bliss gained by a philosophical life. He said that knowledge was recollected from previous lives rather than learned, and in one dialogue, Meno, elicits the memory of geometry from an untutored slave. In his Symposium, Plato puts the case for a love separated from physical fulfilment (‘Platonic’ love), yet another aspect of the detached philosophical life he advocated.

He advocated a simple life, a theme that later inspired both Cynicism and Stoicism. 24 101 Great Philosophers Following political turbulence in Athens, Socrates was charged with corrupting youth and promoting impiety. In fact he seems to have observed religious ritual, and claimed an ‘inner voice’ alerted him if he were about to do wrong. Socrates’ students included rich young men scornful of democracy, some of whom had participated in the rule of the Thirty Tyrants which briefly overthrew it. In Plato’s Apology we hear his defence, that he opposed ignorance and sought good, and in Plato’s Phaedo we read how he accepted the court’s death sentence, unafraid of death, and obedient to the laws he had accepted.

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101 Great Philosophers: Makers of Modern Thought by Madsen Pirie


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