This page lists some links to ancient philosophy. In Western philosophy, the spread of Christianity in the Roman Empire marked the ending of Hellenistic philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of Medieval philosophy, whereas in Eastern philosophy, the spread of Islam through the Arab Empire marked the end of Old Iranian philosophy and ushered in the beginnings of early Islamic philosophy.
Genuine philosophical thought, depending upon original individual insights, arose in many cultures roughly contemporaneously. Karl Jaspers termed the intense period of philosophical development beginning around the 7th century and concluding around the 3rd century BCE an Axial Age in human thought.
The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophers and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 BCE, an era of great cultural and intellectual expansion in China. Even though this period – known in its earlier part as the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period – in its latter part was fraught with chaos and bloody battles, it is also known as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy because a broad range of thoughts and ideas were developed and discussed freely. The thoughts and ideas discussed and refined during this period have profoundly influenced lifestyles and social consciousness up to the present day in East Asian countries. The intellectual society of this era was characterized by itinerant scholars, who were often employed by various state rulers as advisers on the methods of government, war, and diplomacy. This period ended with the rise of the Qin Dynasty and the subsequent purge of dissent. The Book of Han lists ten major schools, they are:
The founder of the Qin Dynasty, who implemented Legalism as the official philosophy, quashed Mohist and Confucianist schools. Legalism remained influential until the emperors of the Han Dynasty adopted Daoism and later Confucianism as official doctrine. These latter two became the determining forces of Chinese thought until the introduction of Buddhism.
Confucianism was particularly strong during the Han Dynasty, whose greatest thinker was Dong Zhongshu, who integrated Confucianism with the thoughts of the Zhongshu School and the theory of the Five Elements. He also was a promoter of the New Text school, which considered Confucius as a divine figure and a spiritual ruler of China, who foresaw and started the evolution of the world towards the Universal Peace. In contrast, there was an Old Text school that advocated the use of Confucian works written in ancient language (from this comes the denomination Old Text) that were so much more reliable. In particular, they refuted the assumption of Confucius as a godlike figure and considered him as the greatest sage, but simply a human and mortal.
The 3rd and 4th centuries saw the rise of the Xuanxue (mysterious learning), also called Neo-Taoism. The most important philosophers of this movement were Wang Bi, Xiang Xiu and Guo Xiang. The main question of this school was whether Being came before Not-Being (in Chinese, ming and wuming). A peculiar feature of these Taoist thinkers, like the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, was the concept of feng liu (lit. wind and flow), a sort of romantic spirit which encouraged following the natural and instinctive impulse.
Buddhism arrived in China around the 1st century AD, but it was not until the Northern and Southern, Sui and Tang Dynasties that it gained considerable influence and acknowledgement. At the beginning, it was considered a sort of Taoist sect, and there was even a theory about Laozi, founder of Taoism, who went to India and taught his philosophy to Buddha. Mahayana Buddhism was far more successful in China than its rival Hinayana, and both Indian schools and local Chinese sects arose from the 5th century. Two chiefly important monk philosophers were Sengzhao and Daosheng. But probably the most influential and original of these schools was the Chan sect, which had an even stronger impact in Japan as the Zen sect.
See also: Christian philosophy
The ancient Indian philosophy is a fusion of two ancient traditions: the Vedic tradition and the Sramana tradition.
Indian philosophy begins with the Vedas wherein questions pertaining to laws of nature, the origin of the universe and the place of man in it are asked. In the famous Rigvedic Hymn of Creation (Nasadiya Sukta) the poet asks:
In the Vedic view, creation is ascribed to the self-consciousness of the primeval being (Purusha). This leads to the inquiry into the one being that underlies the diversity of empirical phenomena and the origin of all things. Cosmic order is termed rta and causal law by karma. Nature (prakriti) is taken to have three qualities (sattva, rajas, and tamas).
Jainism and Buddhism are continuation of the Sramana school of thought. The Sramanas cultivated a pessimistic worldview of the samsara as full of suffering and advocated renunciation and austerities. They laid stress on philosophical concepts like Ahimsa, Karma, Jnana, Samsara and Moksa. Cārvāka (Sanskrit: चार्वाक) (atheist) philosophy, also known as Lokāyata, it is a system of Hindu philosophy that assumes various forms of philosophical skepticism and religious indifference. It is named after its founder, Cārvāka, author of the Bārhaspatya-sūtras.
In classical times, these inquiries were systematized in six schools of philosophy. Some of the questions asked were:
The six schools of Indian philosophy are:
While there are ancient relations between the Indian Vedas and the Iranian Avesta, the two main families of the Indo-Iranian philosophical traditions were characterized by fundamental differences in their implications for the human being's position in society and their view of man's role in the universe. The first charter of human rights by Cyrus the Great as understood in the Cyrus cylinder is often seen as a reflection of the questions and thoughts expressed by Zarathustra and developed in Zoroastrian schools of thought of the Achaemenid Era of Iranian history.
Ideas and tenets of Zoroastrian schools of Early Persian philosophy are part of many works written in Middle Persian and of the extant scriptures of the zoroastrian religion in Avestan language. Among these are treatises such as the Shikand-gumanic Vichar by Mardan-Farrux Ohrmazddadan, selections of Denkard, Wizidagīhā-ī Zātspram ("Selections of Zātspram") as well as older passages of the book Avesta, the Gathas which are attributed to Zarathustra himself and regarded as his "direct teachings".
See also: Jewish philosophy
A History of Western Philosophy is a 1945 book by philosopher Bertrand Russell. A survey of Western philosophy from the pre-Socratic philosophers to the early 20th century, it was criticised for Russell's over-generalization and omissions, particularly from the post-Cartesian period, but nevertheless became a popular and commercial success, and has remained in print from its first publication. When Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950, A History of Western Philosophy was cited as one of the books that won him the award. Its success provided Russell with financial security for the last part of his life.Ancient Philosophy (journal)
Ancient Philosophy is a peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to the study of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and science. Since 1980 it has published over 1,300 articles and reviews in this field. This journal has a Level 2 classification from the Publication Forum of the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. and a SHERPA/RoMEO "green" self-archiving policy. It is edited by Ron Polansky in the Department of Philosophy at Duquesne University. Beginning 2019 this journal will be published on behalf of Mathesis Publications by the Philosophy Documentation Center.Apeiron (philosophy journal)
Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science is a peer-reviewed academic journal on ancient philosophy. It covers research in the area of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and science, up to the end of the classical period (roughly the seventh century CE).Classics
Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity. It encompasses the study of the Greco-Roman world, particularly of its languages and literature (Ancient Greek and Classical Latin) but also of Greco-Roman philosophy, history, and archaeology. Traditionally in the West, the study of the Greek and Roman classics is considered one of the cornerstones of the humanities and a fundamental element of a rounded education. The study of classics has therefore traditionally been a cornerstone of a typical elite education.
Study encompasses specifically a time-period of history from the mid-2nd millennium BC to the 6th century AD.Cynicism (philosophy)
Cynicism (Greek: κυνισμός) is a school of thought of ancient Greek philosophy as practiced by the Cynics (Greek: Κυνικοί, Latin: Cynici). For the Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex, and fame. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.
The first philosopher to outline these themes was Antisthenes, who had been a pupil of Socrates in the late 5th century BC. He was followed by Diogenes, who lived in a ceramic jar on the streets of Athens. Diogenes took Cynicism to its logical extremes, and came to be seen as the archetypal Cynic philosopher. He was followed by Crates of Thebes, who gave away a large fortune so he could live a life of Cynic poverty in Athens. Cynicism spread with the rise of the Roman Empire in the 1st century, and Cynics could be found begging and preaching throughout the cities of the empire.
Cynicism gradually declined and finally disappeared in the late 5th century, although similar ascetic and rhetorical ideas appear in early Christianity. By the 19th century, emphasis on the negative aspects of Cynic philosophy led to the modern understanding of cynicism to mean a disposition of disbelief in the sincerity or goodness of human motives and actions.Dionysius (journal)
Dionysius is a scholarly journal published by the Department of Classics at Dalhousie University. It was established originally in 1977, and a new series began in 1998. It publishes articles on the history of ancient philosophy and theology, and has a special interest in the Aristotelian and Neoplatonic traditions. It also publishes more general articles relating to literature, history, and religion.
The original editors-in-chief were J.A. Doull, R.D. Crouse, and A. H. Armstrong, whose Form, Individual, and Person in Plotinus appeared in the first volume.
A number of distinguished scholars were among the original editorial advisors, and many of them made contributions in due course to the journal. Examples include Werner Beierwaltes' Negati Affirmatio or The World as Metaphor: A Foundation for Medieval Aesthetics from the Writings of John Scotus Eriugena and his Cusanus and Eriugena; Mary T. Clark's Augustine's Theology of the Trinity: Its Relevance; J.N. Findlay's The Myths of Plato; Hans-Georg Gadamer's Plato's "Parmenides" and Its Influence; and George Grant's Nietzsche and the Ancients: Philosophy and Scholarship.Epictetus
Epictetus (; Greek: Ἐπίκτητος, Epíktētos; c. 55 – 135 AD) was a Greek Stoic philosopher. He was born a slave at Hierapolis, Phrygia (present day Pamukkale, Turkey) and lived in Rome until his banishment, when he went to Nicopolis in northwestern Greece for the rest of his life. His teachings were written down and published by his pupil Arrian in his Discourses and Enchiridion.
Epictetus taught that philosophy is a way of life and not just a theoretical discipline. To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control; we should accept calmly and dispassionately whatever happens. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline.Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge
The Faculty of Classics is one of the constituent departments of the University of Cambridge. It teaches the Classical Tripos. The Faculty is divided into five caucuses (i.e. areas of research and teaching); literature, ancient philosophy, ancient history, Classical art and archaeology, linguistics, and interdisciplinary studies.The Faculty runs the Museum of Classical Archaeology on the first floor of the faculty building on the Sidgwick Site. The three-storey building was built in 1968 and includes lecture and seminar rooms, offices, and a library on the ground floor. The faculty building was refurbished and extended in 2010.Index of ancient philosophy articles
This page is a list of topics in ancient philosophy.Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan Barnes, FBA (born 26 December 1942 in Wenlock, Shropshire) is an English scholar of ancient philosophy.Laurence Professor of Ancient Philosophy
The Laurence Professorship of Ancient Philosophy at Cambridge University was established in 1930 as one of the offices endowed by the bequest of Sir Perceval Maitland Laurence; it is the oldest chair of ancient philosophy in the world. One woman, Gisela Striker, has held the post, and seven men.Law of identity
In logic, the law of identity states that each thing is identical with itself. It is the first of the three laws of thought, along with the law of noncontradiction, and the law of excluded middle. However, no system of logic is built on just these laws, and none of these laws provide inference rules, such as modus ponens or DeMorgan's Laws.
In its formal representation, the law of identity is written "a = a" or "For all x: x = x", where a or x refer to a term rather than a proposition, and thus the law of identity is not used in propositional logic. It is that which is expressed by the equals sign "=", the notion of identity or equality. It can also be written less formally as A is A. One statement of such a principle is "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose."
In logical discourse, violations of the law of identity result in the informal logical fallacy known as equivocation. That is to say, we cannot use the same term in the same discourse while having it signify different senses or meanings and introducing ambiguity into the discourse – even though the different meanings are conventionally prescribed to that term. The law of identity also allows for substitution, and is a tautology.M. M. McCabe
Mary Margaret Anne McCabe, FBA (born 18 December 1948), known as M. M. McCabe, is emerita professor of ancient philosophy at King's College London. She has authored a number of books on Plato and published work on other ancient philosophers, including the pre-Socratics, Socrates and Aristotle.Myles Burnyeat
Myles Fredric Burnyeat (born 1 January 1939) is an English scholar of ancient philosophy.Outline of philosophy
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to philosophy:
Philosophy – study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing fundamental questions (such as mysticism, myth, or religion) by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. The word "Philosophy" comes from the Greek philosophia (φιλοσοφία), which literally means "love of wisdom".Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy
Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy is a peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to the study of ancient philosophy. The journal is indexed by PhilPapers and the Philosopher's Index. Each volume however is assigned an ISBN on its own, and the volumes have been described as being rather more like an anthology than a journal issue.Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy was started in 1983 by Julia Annas. At the time of its founding, it was commended as a supplement or even rival to the journal Phronesis. It was also criticized for using transliterations of the ancient Greek language texts rather than the original alphabet. It is one of the major journals for ancient philosophy. The journal is published by Oxford University Press and the current editor is Victor Caston at the University of Michigan. Apart from Annas, previous editors were Brad Inwood, C. C. W. Taylor and David Sedley.Philosopher
A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term “philosopher” comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning “lover of wisdom.” The coining of the term has been attributed to the Greek thinker Pythagoras (6th century BC).In the classical sense, a philosopher was someone who lived according to a certain way of life, focusing on resolving existential questions about the human condition, and not someone who discourses upon theories or comments upon authors. Typically, these particular brands of philosophy are Hellenistic ones and those who most arduously commit themselves to this lifestyle may be considered philosophers. A philosopher is one who challenges what is thought to be common sense, doesn't know when to stop asking questions, and reexamines the old ways of thought.In a modern sense, a philosopher is an intellectual who has contributed in one or more branches of philosophy, such as aesthetics, ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, social theory, and political philosophy. A philosopher may also be one who worked in the humanities or other sciences which have since split from philosophy proper over the centuries, such as the arts, history, economics, sociology, psychology, linguistics, anthropology, theology, and politics.Phronesis (journal)
Phronesis is a peer-reviewed academic journal covering the study of ancient philosophy. It is indexed by PhilPapers and the Philosopher's Index. The journal was established in 1955 by Donald James Allan and Joseph Bright Skemp, who wrote in the first issue that the goal of the journal was to bring together philosophers and classicists from across national borders so as to improve the specialty of ancient philosophy, but also to include insights for those in medieval studies. Phronesis has been described as "pioneering" and one of the major English-language journals for ancient philosophy. The journal is published by Brill Publishers and the editors-in-chief are George Boys-Stones (Durham University) and Ursula Coope (Oxford University).Pierre Hadot
Pierre Hadot (; French: [ado]; 21 February 1922 – 24 April 2010) was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy specializing in ancient philosophy, particularly Neoplatonism.