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The Mindset and Ancient Greek Philosophy Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Aug 28th, 2022

Philosophy translates as the love of wisdom, so people turn to philosophy to comprehend the truths about themselves and the world, time, relations with the world, and the universal good. Philosophy covers almost all spheres of life, studying their highest necessity (“What is philosophy?” 2021). The academic discipline philosophy is conventionally divided into several branches, among which three are most important – metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Metaphysics studies the nature of reality, the structure of the world, the origin of man, God, truth, matter, mind, the connection between mind, body, and free will, and the correlation between events.

Epistemology focuses on studying knowledge, defining what we can know and how we can get that knowledge. The most critical questions from this area include the definition of knowledge, whether a person can know something, how a person knows that they know something, whether we can claim to know certain things. Then, ethics studies, what is right and wrong, and what determines good and bad actions. In other words, ethics answers the questions of what is good and what makes people good, what is right, and what makes actions right, whether morality is objective or subjective.

Therefore, epistemology answers the question “What is knowledge?” presenting various paradoxes about the nature of knowledge; the brightest representative of this branch is Socrates. This scholar once said, “I know that I know nothing,” which is an example of an epistemological paradox. At the same time, Aristotle, Plato, and Epictetus asked the question “What is the good life?” and how an individual can achieve it. Aristotle is the most famous and outstanding philosopher who made significant contributions to the development of ethics. In particular, he examined concepts of friendship, love, respect, and ideal relationships between people. The interests of metaphysics are connected with the answer to the question “What is reality made of?” and prominent representatives of this trend are Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Emmanuel Kant, Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, and many others. In metaphysics, one can notice an opposition between philosophers who relied on logic and those who followed intuition on the path of knowing the truth.

A philosophical mindset can be formed by examining the views of truth from various prominent philosophers who shaped schools and led lengthy philosophical discourses about the fundamental concepts characteristic of a chosen philosophical branch. Thinking philosophically means fostering some fundamental methods used in epistemology, a branch of philosophy that determines the limits of knowledge. Therefore, philosophical reflections can include questions such as: “What do I know? Why do I know this? May I know for sure? How do I influence the way I know? May I know something definitively?” One of the most pleasant features of philosophy is that it takes human thinking out and into the distance, opening up the infinity of possibilities and the inexhaustibility of the answers. However, because there is always something clear and fundamental behind this multi-variance, philosophers focus on studying these fundamental truths and their relationship.

Thinking philosophically can be very helpful, even in everyday life, since there are many paradoxes to which philosophers have found answers or solutions. Therefore, when faced in life with complex, confusing circumstances that require a responsible decision and affect our moral reflection, we can rely on the truths that representatives of academic philosophy discovered. For example, understanding the difference between a utilitarian and an ethical approach, one can recognize that in every person and situation, there are at least two sides – one that regards necessity or inevitability and one that involves the possibility for the manifestation of higher principles of love or morality.

In other words, the ability to use philosophical literacy for one’s benefit can help resolve some internal psychological conflicts. A philosophical mindset can also be helpful when a person seeks to develop spiritually and understand whether they are something greater than their mind. No less important is the quest of the philosophical thought concerning the definitions of death and life, and the nature of living, since these ideas can expand one’s beliefs about human capabilities.

Remarkably, my opinions and views were greatly optimized under the influence of prominent Ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle. Plato’s ideas, expressed in Socrates’ dialogues about the ideal city, allowed me to take a broader look at the nature of social relations and make more meaningful distinctions between people who adhere to the views of aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. In particular, my understanding of the essence of democratic principles has dramatically changed under the influence of these ideas, as I realized the limitations of the so-called democratic freedom. At the same time, Aristotle’s ideas about friendship helped me to qualitatively analyze my relationships with other people and develop a more balanced assessment of my morality within the limits of human capabilities.

Therefore, acquaintance with philosophical ideas allowed me to form a more balanced idea of ​​what a good life is. I realized that good relationships are a relative and situational concept that must be considered with many factors in mind, such as whether the other side is taking a utilitarian or an ethical position and to what extent. Thanks to reflection on the ideas of Aristotle, I became even more convinced that a good life should be based on fundamental, indestructible truths, the knowledge of which is hidden in the heart of every person.

Aristotle gives a broad overview of how different people see life without judging anyone. This approach allowed me to look at myself without condemnation, accept that some truths are not characteristic of my heart, and be glad that some ethical norms are natural to me. Therefore, a philosophical view of the concepts of morality, devoid of judgment, allowed me to free myself from self-condemnation and the desire to follow unnatural dogmas, presenting a wider arena for a free but moral life.

Reference

(2021).

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