Jennifer Bishop September 4, 2007 Homework Notes: INTRODUCTION / HOMERIC AND MILESIAN WORLD VIEWS COURSE READER 1-8 (HOMER, THE ODYSSEY, SELECTIONS, MILESIANS) Page 1 Troy and Miletus are the two main cities Time Line- Thales in 625 BCE, then Anaximander in 550 BCE, then Anaximenes in about 545 BCE Page 2-5 (Homer, The Odyssey) Homer and his men reach the island of Helios where he keeps his cows Eurylochus persuades Homer to let the men land on the condition that they do not touch the cattle or sheep Imagery of the gods: ?zeus who marshals the stormclouds loosed a rippling wind?; ?Dawn with her rose-red fingers?; ?Helios who sees all things? Eurylochus conspires with the starving crew to have a BBQ Zeus waits to attack until the men are asea, then he destroys the ship/crew except for Homer who survives Page 6-7 (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes) Thales: ?the earth is held up by water and rides like a ship? Anaximander: concentrates on aperion- lightening, wind, rain Anaximenes: hills break/collapse to cause earthquakes, and says that clouds happen when the air is thickened Aristotle: comments on Thales? sayings- ?maybe he said this because?water is the principle of the nature of moist things? ?the soul is mixed with the whole universe?- (Thales) divinity and humanity are mixed; just as Thales said that water sustains the earth, gods are like water since they are everywhere. Water is everywhere also, so perhaps they are one and the same? ?air is a god and that it comes to be and is without measure, infinite and always in motion? ? (Anaximenes) gods are infinite and always moving over the earth, keeping watch and performing their duties; air is in motion with them and sustains life by giving humans oxygen. Humans cannot live without air, and therefore they cannot live without gods. LESSON BOOK: 1-4 and 21-29 Science and its Origins Views on what science actually is How humans control environment Solution of practical problems Statements through math/formulas A set of procedures (methodology) Being able to justify one?s knowledge or beliefs Beliefs about nature A personal belief by rigor/precision/objectivity Just a general term to apply to whatever we want We have to take the past for what it was without altering it mentally Respecting the differences in thought process or science between our time and the past, recognizing mistakes, and appreciating our intellectual progress The Greeks and the Cosmos Homer and Hesiod The Iliad and the Odyssey were the foundation of greek education Homer?s Greek Gods were personable and determined defeat/victory, destiny (Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Hades, Athena, Ares) Hesiod?s Theogony showed a history of the world, starting with chaos and then moving towards the order of the gods Humans are pawns Homer and Hesiod didn?t actually want their writings to be philosophical at the time?.they only wanted to entertain their audiences The First Greek Philosophers The theories of Anaximander and Heraclitus on eclipses excluded the gods Explanations were naturalistic, not divine Order and regularity were starting to persevere The Milesians and the Question of Ultimate Reality Thales was a geometer, astronomer and engineer; predicted solar eclipse Greeks interested in reality instead of relying on superstitions Thales-water, Anaximander- apeiron (?a huge, inexhaustible mass, stretching away endlessly in every direction?), Anaximenes- air What is the origin of things? Milesians left the gods out MIlesians want to defend their theories September 4, 2007 Lecture Notes: INTRODUCTION/ HOMERIC AND MILESIAN WORLD VIEWS INTRODUCTORY VOCAB Gravity: heaviness Scientist: knowledge Presentism: looking at history through a present mindset Black-Boxing: no asking of questions, yet expecting information Primary Sources: things that come from the period being studied Secondary Sources: information recorded after the period (about it) THREE BASIC QUESTIONS FOR THIS COURSE What is the reality of the world around us? (Ontology) How is reality organized? (Cosmology) What is knowable about reality? Is reality the truth or not? (Epistemology) ******************************************************************** TRADITION OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY: THE GREEKS HOMERIC PERIOD (8/7 BCE) Homer Author of ?The Illiad? and ?The Odyssey?, which were passed down by oral memory at first Nobody knows if Homer really lived or what the truth about him is ?The Illiad? is about Troy and the Trojan War ?The Odyssey? is about the warrior Odysseus and his adventures Main Features of the Homeric Worldview Direct connection between natural events and what the gods are feeling (Helios got angry so Zeus threw lightening bolts); there is link between the divine and the natural The natural events being discussed have a unique cause (cows eaten = Helios angry; there is no other explanation for his anger) The causes of why things happen are personified through emotions and rationale THE MILESIAN PERIOD (6th Century BCE) Sources are in bits and pieces, reading like quotations- this was a problem since it was difficult to get the big picture Documents were reports about what the Milesians said, only written later Third hand information tells us that later people thought the events that took place must have at least been important enough in history to write down The fragments are the start of a tradition PHILOSOPHERS Thales (born ca. 625 BCE) Anaximander (fl. 550 BCE) Anaximenes (fl. 545 BCE) What was important to preserve about the Milesian Sources? Natural events talked about generally or in categories (generalization) The number of possible explanations were reduced to ONE (reductionism) Divine characteristics were assigned to the elements (impersonalization) Differences between Homeric view and world view: From specific to general From many explanations to only ONE from personalization to impersonalization of the gods (causes of natural events not personalized gods, but from impersonalized things like water/air, etc.) Central Question of the Milesians: What really exists? Aristotle saw this thinking methodology as the beginning of a tradition Answer to the question: Monism (?one?) Milesian ontology is monist- there is ONE explanation for ultimate reality Milesian ontology is also materialist- uses water, air, apeiron
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