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Compiled by Anthony Harrison-Barbet


GREEK PHILOSOPHY

 

 

THE CLASSICAL PERIOD: PLATO AND ARISTOTLE

The classical period was the high point of ancient Greek philosophy. The philosophies of Plato and Aristotle combined acute analysis with comprehensive synthesis of the thought of their predecessors. At the same time their thinking was highly original and covered a wide range of philosophical speculation — in epistemology, metaphysics, psychology (that is, concerning the 'mind' or 'soul'), ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics (and Aristotle was also to all intents and purposes the founder of logic). While their writings were in a sense systematic, neither Plato nor Aristotle produced a 'full-blown' system as such; their thought was constantly in flux, undergoing changes as ideas were worked out and developed. Both philosophers came to influence profoundly later philosophy (and theology) down to at least the sixteenth century. Their writings have also been the object of intense scholarly study in the modern era — particularly by philosophers working in the so-called linguistic/analytic tradition.

 

READING

A. H. Armstrong, An Introduction to Ancient Philosophy.

T. H. Irwin, Classical Thought.

D. Sedley (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Philosophy.

Individual reading lists for Plato and Aristotle will be found at the end of the respective Profile.