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Ancient Greece and the Birth of Philosophy

Robert Mayhew

Presented at: OCON 2008

Date: Jun 28, 2008

Religion is as old as man; but philosophy—as an actual discipline, a unique approach to understanding the world—first emerged in the sixth century BC, in the ancient Aegean. This lecture focuses on answering the question: What made the rise of philosophy possible? Dr. Mayhew explores the conditions necessary for the appearance of philosophy, and how these conditions were met in the ancient Greek world. He then presents the thought of the first philosopher, Thales of Miletus, and contrasts his views—and especially his approach to knowing the universe—with those held by his contemporaries. It should become clear why Thales is great, despite his errors and the peculiar nature of what he held. Dr. Mayhew ends by discussing what the origins of philosophy tell us about the value of philosophy generally—the role that philosophy alone can play in human life and in a culture.


Parts: 1

Handout: none