The Antiquity

...wisest is she who knows she does not know...

What Was Antiquity?

Antiquity centered in Ancient Greece in Athens. The major philosophers were trying to answer questions of reason and the senses. After Antiquity modern science and modern philosophy emerged.

Major Philosophers


Who was Socrates and what did he believe?
Socrates never wrote any of his philosophy down, what we know comes from his pupil Plato. Instead of lecturing on philosophy, he would talk to people about issues until they would use their reason to come up with their own answer. He knew that he did not know, and this made him much smarter than other people who think they know a lot but know very little. This is how he was different from the Sophists, or a wise person. He was a rationalist, which meant that he felt it was necessary to establish a solid foundation for our knowledge. Socrates also believed that if people know what is the right thing they will do the right thing, and they would do this because of their conscience. Socrates did not think that people who continually do things that are wrong can be happy, and therefore people would want to be happy and do the right things. Socrates was accused of introducing new gods, corrupting the youth, and not believing in accepted gods in BC. Instead of applying for leniency or leaving Athens, Socrates drank hemlock and died because he believed in his principles.


Who was Plato and what did he believe?

Plato was deeply affected by Socrates death, and it shaped the course of his philosophy, especially as a striking example between how society really is and the true or ideal society. He set up a school, called the Academy, where philosophy, mathematics and gymnastics were studied. Plato’s main project was the relationship between things that are eternal and immutable and things that flow, both in nature and in morals and society. He believed that everything that belongs to the material world is made of something that can erode, but there is a timeless mold that everything is made from, and the mold is eternal and immutable. Plato’s theory of ideas says that there must be a reality world behind the material world, and he called that the world of ideas. Plato also believed that we can only have true knowledge of things that we can understand with our own reason.
Plato believed that reality is divided into two regions – world of senses and the world of ideas. The world of the senses is where everything flows, and we can only have partial knowledge of it through our senses. The world of ideas is where we can have true knowledge through reason, and the forms are eternal and immutable. Plato believed that man has an immortal soul that existed before it inhabited the body, and also has a body that flows and is bound to the world of the senses. Plato believed that in the world of ideas, our souls saw the prefect idea forms, and had a vague recollection of them. Plato believed everything that happens in the natural world is just a shadow of the eternal forms or ideas.
According to Plato the human body was composed of three parts: the head, chest and abdomen, and those different parts of the soul are in different parts of the body. Reason was in the head, will was in the chest and appetite was in the abdomen. All three of these parts need to function together to have a virtuous individual. He than modeled a government after the human body, and this philosophy was rationalism.


Who was Aristotle and what did he believe?
Aristotle was a pupil of Plato's, and he was the last great philosopher and first great biologist. Plato used his reason and wasn’t concerned with the natural world, and Aristotle used his senses and studied the natural world. His project involved studying nature, and he organized all of nature. He agreed that things in nature flow, but that the idea was formed after seeing many of that thing in nature. Aristotle believed that nothing exists in consciousness that has not first been experienced by the senses. He also believed that things have form and substance, with the form being the characteristics and the substance being what the thing is made of. Aristotle believed that there are different causes, one being the final cause, which means that there is a purpose behind everything in nature. He classified things, but also invented logic. He also believed that there were three forms of happiness: the first from pleasure and enjoyment, the second from freedom and responsibility and the third from being a thinker and philosopher. He believed monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy were good forms of government but he also warned against the dangers of each.