The Philosophy of Epicurus

Epicurus (342-270 BCE) was an Athenian citizen who spent much of his career preaching the pursuit of happiness in his garden. Although he did try to make theoretical contributions to the philosophies that interested him, atomism and hedonism, these were minor – it is as a practical philosopher that Epicurus is best remembered.

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The Philosophy of Diogenes

The Diogenes who was born in Sinope during the C4th BCE and who became a prominent philosopher attained the nickname of ‘dog.’ It is from this nickname, which is ‘Canis’ in Latin, that we have derived the term cynic and the philosophical school cynicism. Diogenes himself was the exemplar of the true meaning of what cynicism really is.

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The Philosophy of Socrates: Life and Death

Socrates is the first of the three great Greek philosophers whose work did so much to lay down the foundations of western thought that apply even in the twenty-first century. The greatness of Socrates means that he attracted more attention than many of the other early philosophers and so, despite the fact that he seems to have written nothing in his life, a reasonable amount of knowledge exists about his life and thought. The two principal sources of information are Plato, in numerous of whose dialogues Socrates appears as the central figure, and Aristotle, in whose Metaphysics Socrates is dealt with at some length.

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The Philosophy of Zeno of Elea

Zeno of Elea was a mathematician and philosopher who lived in approximately the period 495-430 BCE. He is perhaps most famous for the paradoxes that he posed (most people have heard of one version or another of the paradox of Achilles and the tortoise – Achilles, the ‘fleet-footed man-killer’ as Homer has it, is chasing the notoriously slow tortoise. He covers half the distance, he covers half the remaining distance, he covers and so on and never actually covers all the distance as long as he keeps covering half the remaining distance).

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The Philosophy of Pythagoras

The intellectual legacy of Pythagoras – which is known as Pythagoreanism – has been one of the most influential in the history of the development of intellectual thought in the western world. Unfortunately, it probably has little or nothing to do with the original Pythagoras himself, since none of his written works have survived and his many disciples attached his name to their own ideas as a form of transferred authority.

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