religious studies a level


What is Philosophy? The word Philosophy originates from two Greek words (philos and sophia) and literally means a love of wisdom. Philosophers are deep thinkers who ponder some of life’s biggest questions such as-: Is there a God? What is the best way to live? Is the world we live in the real world? What is the purpose of human life? Is there any such thing as a life after death? Questions like these are sometimes called ultimate questions, fundamental questions or existential questions. Existential questions sounds like a complicated phrase but it just means questions about human existence. Philosophy started in ancient Greece and two of the most important thinkers in the history of philosophy are Plato and his pupil Aristotle. Although they lived before Jesus, they have been hugely influential in the shaping of Christian thought and doctrine. When you start the course in September, you will begin by studying Plato so this bridging work will help with this. Plato is probably the best known of all the ancient Greek philosophers and it has been said that all of philosophy is simply footnotes to Plato. The written works of Greek philosophy begin with Plato and his are the earliest writings that have survived. He was a pupil of Socrates, but as far as we know, Socrates taught only by word of mouth and if he did write anything it was lost long ago. Most of what we know about the thinking of Socrates comes from Plato’s writing. Plato was born into an aristocratic Athenian family in about 428 BCE. He was probably expected to become a politician of Athens but he came under the influence of the great teacher Socrates and he was filled with enthusiasm for philosophy. Socrates is renowned for many things, but particularly for his method of teaching by questioning, encouraging his students to examine their own ideas. Because of his outspokenness and his readiness to challenge the beliefs and opinions of the leaders of Athens, Socrates became unpopular with some. He jokingly referred to himself as the gadfly of Athens as he could be deliberately provocative, like a biting fly that stings and annoys. Through his questioning, he could make those who thought they knew everything look very foolish. Socrates was eventually arrested on charges of corrupting the minds of the young men of Athens, and was condemned to death by poison. Socrates could have appealed for leniency or agreed to leave Athens forever but he decided to make a stand. He would not back down and Socrates drank poisonous hemlock, and died, in 399 BCE, when his pupil Plato was about 30. There are some wonderful quotes by Socrates which I have included below-: “AN UNEXAMINED LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING” “I CANNOT TEACH ANYBODY ANYTHING. I CAN ONLY MAKE THEM THINK.” “THE ONLY THING I KNOW IS THAT I KNOW NOTHING” “TO FIND YOURSELF, THINK FOR YOURSELF” “EDUCATION IS THE KINDLING OF A FLAME, NOT THE FILLING OF THE VESSEL” “I KNOW…


No comments have yet been made