A collaborative search for wisdom, at Middle Tennessee State University and beyond...
"The pluralistic form takes for me a stronger hold on reality than any other philosophy I know of, being essentially a social philosophy, a philosophy of 'co'"-William James
1. What approach to the story of
philosophy does Anthony Gottlieb say he aims to take in The Dream of Reason?
-As a journalist relying
only on primary sources, questioning everything that had become conventional
wisdom, and above all, trying to explain it as clearly as he could.
2. When was western science created?
3. How did William James define
-He defined it as peculiarly
stubborn efforts to think clearly.
4. What's distinctive about philosophical
-It is unwilling to accept
5. What is the sequel to The Dream of
-The Dream of Enlightenment
1. What were Aristotle's followers called?
2. Who said his mind only worked with his
3. Whose mentor called walking
"gymnastics for the mind"?
-Henry David Thoreau
4. Who had a "Sand-walk"?
5. How much does the average American
-350 yards a day
6. Name a city with a "Philosophers'
1. Who labelled the early 6th & 5th
century philosophers "PreSocratics," and what did they invent?
2. Aristotle said the Milesians were the
-The first physici
3. Why does Gottlieb say Thales was not
simply silly to suggest that H2O is the origin and essence of everything? OR,
What must we do in order to refute him?
-He said he is not silly
because he drew the connection between water and life. And, we have to reason
with him in order to refute him.
4. What essential facet of scientific
thinking did Anaximander's work exemplify?
- It exemplified that
science says there is more to the world than meets the eye.
5. What famous poetic image do we
associate with Pythagoras?
-Music of the Spheres’
6. What was a good Pythagorean supposed to
astronomy, and music
7. What did Bertrand Russell, echoing
Pythagoras and Plato, consider the mind's "highest good"?
-The greatness of the
universe, which philosophy contemplates, the mind is also rendered great, and
becomes capable of the union with the universe which constitutes its highest
8. How does Gottlieb think Aristotle was
unfair to the Pythagoreans in his interpretation of their claim that numbers
are the principles of all things?
-He was being too literal
1. How does Gottlieb think Heraclitus
would reply to Aristotle's complaint about his ambiguous syntax?
-He might have responded by
saying it was the world itself that was ambiguous.
2. Why did Heraclitus compare us all to
beasts, drunkards, sleepers, and children? What did he say we fail to grasp?
-Because men are deceived in
the recognition of what is obvious; men fail to grasp the true logos.
3. What did fire symbolize, for Heraclitus?
-It symbolizes perpetual
change and relation to the universe.
4. Who were Parmenides' famous teacher and
-Famous Teacher: Xenophanes
-Famous Student: Zeno
5. What was Parmenides' surprising claim
(aside from the idea that everything is eternal)?
-That we cannot speak of
6. How did Parmenides say language and
thought connect to the world?
-It is in direct contact
with each other; the mind must somehow literally touch the world almost.
7. What was Zeno trying to discredit, with
his famous paradoxes of motion?
-He was trying to discredit
common sense views by demonstrating that they led to unacceptable consequences.
8. What did Aristotle say Zeno invented,
and how did his aim differ from Socrates'?
-He said he was the inventor
of dialectic, but Zeno only did so to defend his mentor. This is different from
Socrates, who had constructive intentions.
9. How does Gottlieb solve the Achilles
- He says Achilles doesn’t
have to cross those distances one at a time. Just like eating an egg, you don’t
eat every little, fractional piece at a time. Instead, you simply just eat the
egg. Basically, he’s saying he can cover more than one infinity/fraction at a
1. What was Empedocles' legendary
-Knowledge he had acquired
made him God-like and enable him to perform magic. He is said to have jumped
into the flames of Ethel and disappeared.
2. What did Empedocles identify as the
universal elements whose interplay accounts for all phenomena including sexual
attraction? And, which of
"our" elements does Gottlieb compare them to?
electromagnetism, and he compares them to the forces of love.
3. What fundamental principles of modern
biology did Empedocles anticipate?
-Ideas about substances and
4. What was Empedocles' favorite
5. What did Anaxagoras bring to Athens,
and what was his nickname?
-Brought Ionian naturalism
westward to Athens
6. Of what charge was Anaxagoras accused,
like Socrates thirty years later?
- Offering scientific
explanation for religion
7. How was Anaxagoras less extreme than
Parmenides, with respect to reason and perception?
-For Anaxagous, judging by
reason in not a matter of ignoring the evidence completely, but of trying to
make better sense of it.
8. Was Anaxagoras a mind-matter dualist?
1. How was Democritus remembered after his
death, and why?
-As a laughing philosopher
because he scoffed the folly of mankind.
2. Why did early Christians oppose
-It tried to explain
everything in terms of mechanics
-It held no life after death
3. Name two other early atomists.
4. What idea did Democritus take over from
-That numerable tiny atoms
career around in empty space until they collide and adhere to one another
creating objects in the world; living and inanimate.
5. When did ancient atomism become a
mature scientific view?
-When chemist and physicists
developed sophisticated ways to measure material phenomena
6. What ability was most valued in
-The ability to speak and debate
persuasively before the political assembly or the juries
7. For whom was the term sophistes,
Sophists, reserved in the time of Protagoras, Gorgias, Hippias, et al, and what
subjects did they teach?
-It was reserved for people
who taught for money. They taught rhetoric, political skills, and how to excel
in legal and moral discourse.
8. What were Plato's & Aristotle's
stated objections to the Sophists?
-They said that sophists’
art was the semblance of wisdom without the reality.
-The sophist is one who
makes money from an apparent, but unreal wisdom.
-They were unprincipled and
9. What playwright satirized Socrates and
the Sophists indiscriminately?
10. Which Sophist embraced subjectivity
and said "Man is the measure of all things"?
1. What was Socrates' "faith"?
-Devotion to argumentative
2. How does Gottlieb account for Socrates'
appeal to the "high society" of Athens, given his humble background
-Through his remarkable
power of conversation
3. What did Alcibiades see in Socrates?
-He seen his inner beauty
4. with what request did Socrates
typically commence a philosophical conversation? What was his method called?
-He started by requesting an
enlightening definition of whatever was being discussed and that method was
5. Why were the defenders of Athenian
democracy uneasy about Socrates?
-Because they didn’t have a
strong democracy since they had been overthrown by the Thirty Tyrants.
-Socrates the legitimacy of
the democratic state by making his own Gods.
6. In what way did the Oracle mean that
Socrates was wise? Did Socrates accept the Oracle's authority at face value?
-He was wise in the way that
he alone is aware to how little he knows and isn’t afraid to admit what he
doesn’t know. And n, he didn’t accept the Oracle’s authority at face value, he
continued to search for the answers himself.
7. What was Socrates' basic motive for
-That is seemed to him the
right thing to do.
8. Why did Socrates say it's unwise to
-Because man doesn’t know
what comes after death and by fearing it we are assuming what comes after death
is bad. We can’t fear what we don’t know.
9. In what different ways were Socrates
and Plato "unworldly"?
- Socrates was unworldly
because he kept a sharper focus on the duties and blessings of the world. Plato
was unworldly because he thought philosophy was this ladder to this elevated
world of the forms.
10. What form of life did Socrates say is
not worth living? OR, Do the "authentically Socratic" dialogues
usually settle on a final conclusion?
- An unexamined life
1. What kind of conversation did Socrates
consider a success?
-A conversation that ended
in everyone realizing how little they knew
2. What was wisdom, for Socrates?
-It was understanding the
true nature of our existence, including the limits of what we could know.
3. With what Platonic theory does the
parable of the cave connect?
-The perfect circle platonic
4. In Plato's Symposium, what does Socrates
say Diotima taught him about love?
-everything he knows about
5. What nagged Plato about the academic
way of life?
-He was nagged by a doubt
about the academic way of life: “ I fear to see myself at last altogether
nothing but words, so to speak a man who will never willingly lay hand to any
6. What analogy does Socrates/Plato drawn
between the parts of the city and the parts of the soul?
- They draw an analogy
saying that a just city should mimic the imperative, spirited, and rational
parts of the soul.
1. What did Aristotle mean by "one
swallow doesn't make a summer"?
-The point he was making was
that just as t takes more than the arrival of one swallow to prove that summer
has come, and more than a single warm day, so a few moments of pleasure don’t
add up to true happiness.
2. What does eudaimonia mean?
-Happiness, but is most
often referred to as flourishing or success.
3. How can we increase our chance of
-By developing the right
kind of character.
4. Eudaimonia can only be achieved in
relation to what?
-In relation to life in a
5. What is "truth by authority"?
-I t is believing something
must be true because an important ‘authority’ figure has said it is.
6. How is authority hostile to the spirit
challenges conventional thinking and you’re relying on someone else’s authority
1. What did Aristotle set up in 335 BC?
-A research institute known
as Lyceum. It was in Athens.
2. What was dearer to Aristotle than
3. What was the fundamental difference
between Aristotle and Plato, and how was it reflected in his attitude towards
- Plato was more pessimistic
and Aristotle was more optimistic in comparison. While Plato wanted to leave
the dark cave of physical reality and find something better, Aristotle said
that the cave wasn’t so bad once you turned on the lights.
4. What three things did Aristotle say are
always involved in change?
- Something which changes, a
state to which it changes, and a state from which it changes.
5. What was Aristotle's name for God, and
what did he say He thinks about?
-Unmoved Mover, and he
thinks about himself.
6. How does Aristotle's view of the
fundamental type of existence contrast with Plato's theory of Forms?
-The fundamental type of
existence for Aristotle is not to be found in Plato's self-subsisting world of
eternal Ideas or Forms, it's just ordinary things - trees, rocks, plants,
1. According to Epicurus, fear of death is based on
what, and the best way to live is what?
-The Fear of death is based
on bad logic and the best way to live is have a very simple lifestyle, be kind
to those around you, and surround yourself with friends.
2. How is the modern meaning of
"epicurean" different from Epicurus's?
-Epicureans prefer eating
fine foods and indulging in luxury, and sensual pleasure. Whereas Epicurus
prefer much simpler things.
3. What famous 20th century philosopher
echoed Epicurus's attitude towards death?
4. What was the Stoics' basic idea, and
what was their aim?
-We should only worry about
things we can change and they aimed for a calm state of mind
5. Why did Cicero think we shouldn't worry
-He believed that the soul
lived forever and so old people shouldn’t worry about dying
6. Why didn't Seneca consider life too
-Life is usually long enough
to get enough done if we make the right choices.