A BRIEF HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY
A BRIEF SURVEY ON THE HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY REVEALS HOW A PREVAILING COMPREHENSIVE DOCTRINE AFFECTS THE COURSE OF WORLD HISTORY AND VICE VERSA. THE GRADUAL SHIFTS FROM ONE ERA TO ANOTHER SHOWCASE MAN'S INNATE AND CONTINUOUS SEARCH TOWARDS A FULLER, MORE MEANINGFUL EXISTENCE.
I. THE ANCIENT PERIOD (700 BCE- 300 CE)
A. INTRODUCTION: FROM MYTHOS TO LOGOS
The story of western philosophy begins in GREECE, which is the cradle of Western philosophy. What was there before philosophy, before Logos? There was MYTHOS – a certain way of thinking that placed the world in the context of its supernatural origins. It explained worldly things by tracing them to exceptional, sometimes sacred, events that caused the world to be as it is now. The narratives describing these origins – myths – are not only (1) EXPLANATORY IN NATURE but also (2) MORALLY EXEMPLARY (basis of action) and (3) RITUALISTICALLY INSTRUCTIVE. Myths had the advantage of creating a whole social world in which all acts had meaning. They had the disadvantage of creating static societies of resisting innovation, and many would say, of being false.
Then suddenly, philosophy happened – Logos broke upon the scene, at least, according to the traditional account. The Greek word LOGOS designates a certain kind of thinking about the world, a kind of logical analysis that places things in the context of reason and explains them with the pure force of thought. Greek Philosophy was an intellectual activity, for it was not a matter only of believing but of thinking, and philosophy meant thinking about basic questions in a mood of genuine and free inquiry.
B. THE PRE-SOCRATICS
The Pre-Socratics were primarily concerned with the basic stuff or the primary substance of the cosmos, with what constituted the universe referred to as the URSTOFF, the ultimate component of reality. Hence, their philosophy is characterized as COSMOCENTRIC.
B1. THE MILESIANS/ IONIANS...