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Greek Thought
Before 500BCE most writing was in the
form or poetry
After 500 BCE prose developed
1st major writers of historia:
Around 440BCE a group of thinkers
Sophists: They were people who used
rhetoric to answer questions of nature and
reality. They especially questioned ideas of
good and evil.
What is evil?
How does one measure what is just?
 Rhetoric is the art of harnessing reason,
emotions and authority, through language,
with a view to persuade an audience and, by
persuading, to convince this audience to act,
to pass judgement or to identify with given
Around this time drama / plays were
Where funded by the state for annual
festivals (usually for Dionysus)
Writers submitted either tragedies or
Famous playwright: Euripides, Sophocles
Tragedies were often about heroes, legends
or wars
Oedipus the King – written around 430BCE
by Sophocles
Was about a son who accidentally kills his
father and marries his mom. They all die in
the end.
 Philosophy develops around 600BCE
Philosophy is the discipline concerned with
questions of how one should live (ethics);
what sorts of things exist (metaphysics); the
nature of knowledge (epistemology); and the
principles of reasoning (logic).
One of the most famous: Pythagoras (founded
The most famous philosophers were:
Socrates (c. 470 BC–399 BC),: used questioning
to challenge the thought process of an opponent
Was blamed in part for the collapse of Athens in
404BCE and executed.
Plato (427 BC – 348 BC),: a student of Socrates. A
severe critic of Sophists ideas of defining good and
evil. Argued for practical structures of government
to foster good.
Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE): Student of Plato.
He argued for the creation of good within
individuals. He saw the polis as an organism that is
created between natural bonds between people
and the state.
Under the quest for knowledge, Greeks developed a
systematic approach to healing. They recorded
cures as well as studied the physiology of the
human form
But their ideas were not always accurate
They believed that one’s health was dependant on the
balance of the four humours.
Yellow Bile
Black Bile
Democritus argued the presence of atoms
But he argued the number is the only thing that
makes trees different from humans.