The Great Chain of Greek Philosophers
Socrates (469-399 BC) was the first of the three great Greek philosophers who are considered to be the founding fathers of Western philosophical thought. Plato (427-347) was born into the Athenian aristocracy, who descended from Condrus, the last King of Athens. Aristotle (384-222) became a pupil of Plato at the age of 17 years. Aristotle was also the teacher of Alexander the Great. Aristotle was one of the first to explore the relationship of synergy and all the aspects of nature and humanity. Aristotle studied and lectured on poetry, astronomy, metaphysics, aesthetics and logic.
Socrates believed that humans existed for a purpose, and right and wrong played a crucial role in their relationship with the environment and other human beings. Most of his philosophy comes from Plato's dialogues in which the conversation between the two is recorded. Socrates maxim was 'Know Thyself".
Eventually, Socrates was arrested on charges of corrupting the youth in Athens. After his conviction, he was allowed to commit suicide by drinking hemlock (a large poisonous plant related to parsley). Socrates life and works have been written in detail by Plato and Xenophon (430-357). For finding the truth Socrates followed the method of questions and answers.
Plato was the most learned and influential of Socrates students. In the Third Century AD Plato"s ideas were revived, and later through the work of
St Thomas Aquinas greatly influenced the basis oc Christianity, as it emerged from the Middle Ages.
Aristotle was born with a silver-spoon in his mouth. He entered the famous Academy of the great philosopher Plato at the age of 17 years. In 347 BC, after the death of his master Plato he was called by King Philip to look after the education of his son Alexander the Great in 342 BC. Aristotle was a great observer, and a voracious reader, and a specialist in natural sciences and philosophy.
Thus, Aristotle the great philosopher advocated reason and moderation to be practiced in life. He suggested that human happiness consists in living in conformity with nature.
"Great Philosophers of the World" by Ram Nath Sharma,
Spring Books, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, 2004.