Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review

Antique Philosophy

Key terms and basic concepts:anthropomorphism, atomism, cosmocentrism, fatalism, humanism, individualism, pantheism, rationalism, realism.


1. Conditions of Origin, Peculiarities and Stages of Development of Ancient Philosophy.

2.Development of Ideas in “Physical” Schools of Antiquity(Miletian school; Pythagorean school; Heraclites; Eleatic school; ancient cosmism).

3.Ideas and Thinkers in the Classic Period of Antiquity:

− the problem of man in the philosophy of Socrates;

− philosophical systems of Plato and Aristotle.

4.Іdeas and Schools of the Final Stage of Antiquity:

− Hellenistic philosophy;

− Roman philosophy.

Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review

1. Compare and contrast the metaphysics of the three Milesians. Whose metaphysics seems most plausible to Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review you, and why?

2. The Pythagoreans theorized that all things come to be in accordance with number. What does this mean?

3. Plato’s philosophy is sometimes called a rather “poetic” one. What does this mean?

4. If one rejects every philosophy of forms, such as that of Plato or Aristotle, what then? What about the initial problems that sparked such philosophies in the first place?

5. Nothing can be known. What is a powerful objection to this claim?

6. “What can be thought of and what can be are the same”. Did Parmenides correct believe to it?

7. Using Internet-resources, write a Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review short biography on the life and work of one of the Antique philosophers. Be sure to include: birth and death dates and places; the title of a book/ books written by the chosen philosopher; an interesting event from his/ her life; one way in which he/ she has influenced someone else, society, or philosophy in general; comment on one or more aspects of his/ her philosophy.

Methodical recommendations to the topic

The history of philosophy is the area of knowledge studying development of philosophy, discovering the laws of succeeds of one philosophical doctrines by the other. Historical movement of philosophical thought is Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review the uniform, integral process, which separate stages are closely connected with one another. It has the world character and it helps to understand laws of development of spiritual life of people, to gain all the sum of philosophical knowledge developed by the mankind.

Studying the history of philosophy starts with ancient philosophy. Ancient philosophy is the philosophy of a slave-owning society of Ancient Greece and Rome. The beliefs of representatives of Ancient Greek philosophy (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus) had naive character. The underlying basis of the world was associated with some certain substance: water (Thales Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review), air (Anaximenes), fire (Heraclitus). The idea of Ancient Greek philosophers of the initial stuff giving birth to everything was combined with spontaneous dialectics. In the brightest form this approach to natural phenomena was expressed by Heraclitus

The further development of the Ancient philosophy is connected with the name of Democritus. The philosopher tried to get into the structure of matter. He put forward a hypothesis saying that there was nothing in the world but atoms and void. According to Democritus’ explanation, the movement of atoms in emptiness, their various combinations determined all phenomena of the reality, including spiritual ones.

The most Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review prominent representatives of the ancient philosophy were Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. At the heart of Plato's philosophy there was the doctrine of immaterial essences – Ideas, or Forms existing objectively and forming the supersensual world. The actual world of things perceivable by the senses, according to Plato’s is only a pale, imperfect copy of an everlasting world of Ideas.

Plato’s theory of Universal Forms (Ideas) separating essence of things from things themselves was subject to criticism by Aristotle. Accepting the real existence of the material world, sensually-perceived things, Aristotle at the same time considered matter to be Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review something passive. Only to the forms of things he attributed the active character. Aristotle made a big contribution into the development of dialectics. For the first time in history he created the system of categories, laid the foundations of logic.

After Aristotle’s philosophy the classical period of the ancient philosophy was followed by Hellenistic period. With its beginnings the Greek philosophy despite the variety of schools aspired for its comprehension of wisdom. During different periods either aspiration to wisdom of mind, or wisdom of soul or wisdom of heart prevailed. These tendencies were embodied within three Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review directions of the late ancient philosophy. The wise world is inclined to doubt. As a result there was a birth of skepticism. The wisdom of heart interpreted with philosophical harmony was declared by Epicureanism. Wisdom of soul was proclaimed by stoicism. The highest achievement of the ancient philosophy was Neoplatonism. This direction absorbed ideas both of Plato and Aristotle subjected them to logic and simultaneously to mystical interpretation.



Philosophy. Historical-Philosophical Introduction : [the course of lectures] / L.V. Kadnikova − K. : NAU, 2004. − 172 p.

B. Russel A History of Western Philosophy / B. Russel. –London : George Allen &Unviwn LTD, 2002. − 923 p.


Acrill J Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review.L. Essays on Plato and Aristotle / J.L. Acrill. – New York : Clarendon University Press, 1997. — 251 p.

John Burnet. Early Greek Philosophy / John Burnet. – [4 ed.] – London: A. & C. Black, 1952. — 375 p.

Primary sources:

Aristotle / O. Joseph, J. R. Catan − N.-Y. :State University of New York Press, 1981. – 264 p. – P. 35-47; P. 81-99.

Plato Reader / T.D.J. Chappell − Edinburgh :Edinburgh University Press, 1996. – 307 p. – P. 193-198; P. 230-237.

Teachers and Texts in the Ancient World : Philosophers, Jews, and Christians / H. Gregory Snyder. − Taylor & Francis Routledge. 2000. – 325 p. − P. 18-27; P. 111-118.

Документ Questions and Tasks for Discussion and Review