Socrates, Plato & Aristotle

Classical Greece

Classical Greece was one of the leading civilisations of the pre Christian world around the Mediterranean.  It in many ways helped create the modern world, and the ideas that continue to shape that world.  These two documentaries left and right help introduce this era

Socrates (470-399 BCE)

In tracing the development of Western European thought, the obvious starting point has to be Socrates.

Alain de Botton, a contemporary philosopher from the UK, has examined a range of philosophers from history and in his series 'Consolations of Philosophy' attempts to demonstrate their relevance to the 21stC.

Watching his episode on Socrates, note down:

- What was Socrates' mission; what did he want to do?

- Why did he think this was necessary?

- What relevance does this have for us in the 21stC?

- Why do you think Socrates has been called the   

  father of western Philosphy?

Western Philosophy pt I - evolution of thought starting in Greece (23.00 on - Plato, Aristotle..)

Plato (428-348 BCE)

With Socrates' execution for corruption of the young in 399BCE, one young well-born Athenian was sufficiently moved to devote the rest of his life to publicising his mentor's work.  Plato's work forms the vast majority of what we know about Socrates, but that was just the beginning.  Through his middle stage works such as Phaedo and the Republic, Plato develops his Theory of Forms which lay the groundwork not just for later Classical scholars like Aristotle, but also in part for the emergence of Christianity and the path that European philosophy takes over the next 2000 years...

Bryan Magee's interview of Miles Burnyeat about Plato

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Aristotle (384-322 BCE)

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Professor Armand Leroi's BBC documentary about Aristotle

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Bryan Magee interview with Martha Nussbaum about Aristotle
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