Hipparchia the Cynic: Wife, Mother, and Outspoken Ancient Greek Philosopher

Hipparchia turned the ancient Greek paradigm of women being homebound and serving men upside down. Introduction Cynic philosopher, wife of Crates of Thebes (l. c. 360 – 280 BCE), and mother of his children, Hipparchia of Maroneia (l. c. 350 – 280 BCE) defied social norms in order to live her beliefs. She is all the more impressive in[…]

Let’s Think about “Thinking” Before We Teach “Critical Thinking”

Learning outcomes are tied explicitly to subject matter, but they can also be used to integrate critical thinking goals. By Dr. Elizabeth SticeAssociate Professor of HistoryPalm Beach Atlantic University Advocates for the liberal arts often emphasize their role in fostering critical thinking. But how often do we think critically about how we hope to achieve[…]

Philosophy of Mind: Lifelong Learning and Cognitive Development

Most modern philosophers of mind adopt either a reductive physicalist or non-reductive physicalist position. Curated/Reviewed by Matthew A. McIntoshPublic HistorianBrewminate Introduction Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the body. The mind–body problem is a paradigmatic issue in philosophy of mind, although a number of other issues are addressed, such[…]

A History of the Philosophy of Happiness, 400 BCE – 1780

“Happiness . . . will not tremble, however much it is tortured.” By Dr. Darrin M. McMahonMary Brinsmead Wheelock Professor of HistoryDartmouth University The American Academy of Arts and Sciences was founded in 1780 at a time when Americans – newly independent and free – were demanding that their institutions, like their government, serve a[…]

Eudaimonia: Happiness and ‘the Good Life’ in Ancient Greek Philosophy

Examining eudaimonia in ancient philosophical thought, conventionally translated as “happiness”. By Dr. Juha SihvolaLate Professor of Ancient Greek Ethics and Philosophy The article discusses the conceptions of eudaimonia in the philosophy of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics and argues against the growing tendency to make a sharp distinction between the ancient notion of eudaimonia[…]

The Compassionate Instinct: A Biological Basis for People Helping People

Think humans are born selfish? Think again. By Dr. Dacher KeltnerProfessor of PsychologyCo-Director, Greater Good Science CenterUniversity of California Berkeley Introduction Humans are selfish. It’s so easy to say. The same goes for so many assertions that follow. Greed is good. Altruism is an illusion. Cooperation is for suckers. Competition is natural, war inevitable. The[…]

Philolaus: Philosophy and Science in Classical Greece

Philolaus is said to have claimed that mathematical reason has a certain affinity with the nature of the universe, By Daniel CostaHistorian Introduction Philolaus of Croton (c. 470 – c. 385 BCE) was an ancient Greek philosopher from Magna Graecia, in modern-day southern Italy. He shared the Pythagoreans’ interest in music, numbers and the soul, which shone through his output. He[…]

Diogenes: Making a Virtue of Poverty in Ancient Greece

He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar, or pithos, in the marketplace. Introduction Diogenes, also known as Diogenes the Cynic, was a Greek philosopher and one of the founders of Cynic philosophy. He was born in Sinope, an Ionian colony on the Black Sea coast of modern-day Turkey,[1] in 412 or 404 BC and died at Corinth in 323 BC.[2] Diogenes was a[…]

‘Secret Knowledge’: A History of Christian Gnosticism in the Ancient World

Gnostics promoted concepts of radical dualism that govern the universe. Introduction Gnosticism is the belief that human beings contain a piece of God (the highest good or a divine spark) within themselves, which has fallen from the immaterial world into the bodies of humans. All physical matter is subject to decay, rotting, and death. Those bodies and[…]

‘Oneness’ and Duality: Melissus and the Philosophy of Monism in Ancient Greece

Melissus echoes Parmenides by objecting to a pluralistic view of reality essentially based on perception. By Daniel CostasEducator and WriterUniversity of Qatar Introduction Melissus of Samos (5th century BCE) was a Greek philosopher from the island of Samos near the modern-day coast of Turkey. He advocated the philosophical doctrine known as monism, suggesting that reality is single and unchanging. While[…]

Being Whole: The Philosophy of Hedonism since the Ancient World

Pleasure plays a central role in all forms of hedonism. It refers to experience that feels good, that involves the enjoyment of something. Introduction Hedonism refers to a family of theories, all of which have in common that pleasure plays a central role in them. Psychological or motivational hedonism claims that our behavior is determined by desires to increase pleasure and to[…]

Saint Gerard of Cenad and the Intellectual Disputes of the Year 1000

Exploring the doctrinal positions of the Church in the context of the Western intellectual disputes around the year 1000. Introduction This paper aims to situate St. Gerard of Cenad’s position in apocalyptic millenarianism as differentia specifica in genus proximum of the doctrinal position of the Church, subscribing to the thesis that Gerard’s position constituted an[…]

Ancient Philosophers on Mental Illness

Exploring how the ancient philosophers from Plato to late antiquity understood mental illness. Abstract This article outlines when, how and in what kind of contexts the phenomenon of mental illness was recognized in the ancient philosophical texts, how mental illness was understood in terms of the body–mind interaction, and how mental disorders of the medical[…]

Philosophy in the Ancient World

Philosophical systems developed first in the East, and a working outline proceeds from Mesopotamia to Rome and on to the present. Introduction The word philosophy comes from the Greek philo (love) and sophia (wisdom) and so is literally defined as “the love of wisdom”. More broadly understood, it is the study of the most basic and profound matters of human existence. The[…]

Finding the Good Argument – Or Why Bother With Logic?

Guidance in revealing the “mystery factor” and naming the qualities of a logical, ethical argument. By Rebecca Jones Introduction The word argument often means something negative.* In Nina Paley’s cartoon (see Figure 1), the argument is literally a cat fight. Rather than envisioning argument as something productive and useful, we imagine intractable sides and use[…]

The Damned Neighbors Problem: Rousseau’s Civil Religion Revisited

We can find important elements of Rousseau’s approach still alive and well in American politics and culture today. Abstract Near the conclusion of The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau starkly proclaims that no state has been founded without a religious basis, and thus if he is right, every political community must grapple with the tension between[…]

We, Us, and Our: The History and Philosophy of Communitarianism

The philosophy of communitarianism originated in the 20th century, but the term “communitarian” was coined in 1841. Introduction Communitarianism is a philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. Its overriding philosophy is based upon the belief that a person’s social identity and personality are largely molded by community relationships, with a smaller degree of development being placed[…]

Life Is Flux: Heraclitus, Ancient Greek Presocratic Philosopher

Heraclitus maintained that the very nature of life is flux, is change, and that to resist this change was to resist the essence of our existence. Introduction Heraclitus of Ephesus (l. c. 500 BCE) is probably best known for his oft-misquoted assertion, “You cannot step twice into the same river” (first mis-quoted by Plato in his[…]

Pre-Socratic Philosophers in Ancient Greece

There are over 90 Pre-Socratic philosophers, all of whom contributed something to world knowledge. Introduction The Pre-Socratic Philosophers are defined as the Greek thinkers who developed independent and original schools of thought from the time of Thales of Miletus (l. c. 546 BCE) to that of Socrates of Athens (470/469-399 BCE). They are known as[…]

Philosophical Influences on Contemporary Chinese Law

One must study Chinese Law within the context of Chinese social, cultural, political, and legal history. By Weng LiAssistant Professor, Department of LawHangzhou University Introduction Those unfamiliar with China’s legal system frequently raise two questions: whether “Chinese law” is a meaningful concept[1] and whether there is value in discussing the philosophical influences on China’s legal[…]

Ancient Chinese Philosophy

Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism would ultimately absorb other concepts and condemn previous schools of thought. Introduction The term Ancient Chinese Philosophy is generally understood to refer to the belief systems developed by various philosophers during the era known as the Hundred Schools of Thought (also The Contention of the Hundred Schools of Thought) when these[…]

Philosophy of the American Revolution

It can be traced, in part, to the Enlightenment and its profound impact on colonial thinking. Political The Revolution generated radical changes in the principles, opinions, and sentiments of the American people. New ideas and issues affected social customs, political ideals, and gender and racial roles as the thirteen colonies evolved into the United States.[…]

‘On the Sublime’: Ancient Greek Rhetoric and Literary Criticism

Given his positive reference to Genesis, Longinus has been assumed to be either a Hellenized Jew or readily familiar with the Jewish culture. Introduction Longinus is the conventional name of the author of the treatise, On the Sublime (Περὶ ὕψους), a work which focuses on the effect of good writing (Russell xlii). Longinus, sometimes referred[…]

Gorgias of Ancient Greece: An Orator with Artistic Prose

Gorgias was a native of Leontini, a Greek colony in Sicily, which is often called the home of Greek rhetoric. Introduction Gorgias (c. 483 – 375 B.C.E.), was one of the most important Greek sophists of the fifth century B.C.E., a philosopher, rhetorician, and a gifted writer of artistic prose. Originally a native of Leontini[…]

Charvaka: Understanding the Material World in the Philosophy of Ancient India

Materialism holds that perceivable matter is all that exists, while supernatural entities or planes of existence are imagined. Introduction Charvaka (also given as Carvaka) was a philosophical school of thought, developed in India c. 600 BCE, stressing materialism as the means by which one understands and lives in the world. Materialism holds that perceivable matter[…]

Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Friends and Influences on and of His ‘Social Contract’

Some of the people he has influenced don’t even realize it. When I was finishing a biography of Jean-Jacques Rousseau some years ago, I was struck by the comment of someone who had known him: “the friends of Rousseau are as though related to each other through his soul, which has joined them across countries,[…]