Modernity - The Great Transformation
• Discourse on knowledge and Western society:
o Human reason
o Letters and Science
• Institutions, systems and events:
o Mass production (technique)
o Western domination
o Secularization of knowledge (science)
The Ancients and the Moderns - A Contrast Between Two Worlds?
Renaissance: The "Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns" in the Arts and Letters
• Imitation or Innovation?
• Authority and Progress
o In Philosophy and Sciences:
Human being: cosmology vs. anthropology
Knowledge and truth: fixity vs. movement and becoming
Language: reflection of reality vs. reflection of human consciousness and
The Birth of Philosophy in Antiquity
• Divisions amongst the Ancient Greek "intellectuals":
o Protogoras: "man is the measure of all things"
o Plato: "…the art of contradiction (…) image making, distinguished as portion, not
divine but human, of production, that presents, a shadown play of words - such are the
blood and the lineage which can, with perfect truth, be assigned to the authentic Sophist"
• Philosophy appears in opposition to Sophistic
o "What is the true love of wisdom"?
Appearance and Opinions (doxa) vs. Truth and Reason
o Discursive methods:
Skepticism and Rhetoric vs. Rational Discourse and Dialectic
From Socrates to Plato
1. Socrates' paradoxical wisdom: the awareness of his own ignorance
"for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing"