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Lecture 11

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Classical Studies
CLAS 201
Nicholas Maes

CLAS 201 Lecture 11 NotesReview from Last ClassWe concluded our discussion of Greek philosophyPlato proposed his Theory of Forms as a way of explaining of the universe how is the universe comprised and how people understand itoIn his theory he explains that every object in the world of the senses has a form and this form occupies the true reality oOne can look at something and know it is a table because it has a certain formoAs well abstract concepts have forms as wellHis Allegory of the Cave demonstrates that people apprehend a false reality because they are stuck in a cave and rely on what they see with their senses and what they see is a mere shadow of reality this is opposed to the philosopher who makes his way out of the cave with its shadowy images casted upon the wall and sees objects with true lucidity in their true formsthe philosopher apprehends the world of the formsAristotle a student of Plato set up a competing school of philosophy called the Lyceum this competed with Platos AcademyoAristotle wrote on a wide array of topics including The Nicomachean Ethicsa way of describing ethics and how to navigate the world by doing the right thing without referring to god or any religious textPoeticslooking at the different types of literary works describing how they function and describing what the purpose of tragedy was Physicson the physical realmMetaphysicson the metaphysical realmWorks on biologyDe animaon the soulPoliticson political constitutionsoHe was a remarkably learned methodical and curious philosopherAristotle however made many mistakes because of his own limited perspective but his mistakes will be embraced by many people including the catholic church such as his geocentric view of the universe this halts scientific progress for some timeoHe is not an ideologue rather he was trying to launch this inquiry into the nature of the universeAristotle says that Platos Theory of Form will not work because you need a form of the form in order to explain the form and its connections to the different object it explains this is referred to as the Third Man argumentoYou cannot posit all tables having something in common due to a form because you have to try and explain how the form of the table is connected to all the tables that are representative of this form which in turn involves invoking another form a form of the form of the table this process continues infinitelythis shows that the principle of Platos Theory of Forms is mutually contradictoryAristotle devises his concept of hylomorphism which is his attempt into understanding how the universe is comprised and how it works oHe argues objects are a combination of matter hyle and form morpheoExample 1 A house is comprised of bricks the matter and bricks when arranged in a certain way and instilled with a certain form properties such as size shape function etc these two combine to form a houseoExample 2 Houses matter when combined in a certain way gives rise to a form properties such as size shape function etc and it result in citiesoIf you want to understand how the physical universe works you must invoke the two properties matter and formoMatter is always in a state of potential it can be shaped in many different ways to assume many different objects depending on what kind of form is attached to that matteroForm leads to actuality form means to bring matter into a very specific consideration Therefore the matter of an object will actually become that object once it assumes the form associated with that objectAlso Aristotle also suggested the concept of the Golden Mean virtues always lies between two extremeswhich he brings up in his Nicomachean EthicsoExample 1 courage lies between rashness and cowardiceoExample 2 generosity lies between spendthrift and utter cheapnessReasons to study the Peloponnesian WaroWe considered the importance of this war it is a protracted struggle between many different city states Athens and its allies versus Sparta and its alliesoThis war represents from a Greek perspective one on a much greater scale than those that have preceded itoAt the same time the war is important because it brings about the end of the Greek city states 50 to 60 years after this war Greece will be exhausted and it will be vulnerable to attack and invasion from the Macedonians to the northoThe war is also interesting because it pits states of a democratic structure against states of a totalitarian structureit essentially represents mannerism and institutions of one structure versus the mannerism and institutions of another and to see which one prevailsAs well in this case the autocratic society will win over the democratic society which is very unusualUltimately although Sparta wins over Athens it too will fall from greatnessThe years after the Persian Wars and before the Peloponnesian wars and these were years in which Athens was exerting a great deal of influence in Greece and created a massive empire for itselfoThis period is called the Pentecontetia and was 50 years longoIt created this empire through persuasion brilliant operation generosity in some sense and in a brutal fashionWhen you look at the Delian League even though its essential purpose had been fulfilled when Persia agreed to leave the Greeks alone in the Battle or Eurymedon the Delian League does serve a purpose despite Athens ruling in a heavyhanded fashionoOne advantage it prevents war from breaking out on a regular basis prior to the inception of this league the Greeks are constantly fighting with each other due to the intense competition with other city states
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