Classical Studies 2800A/B Chapter Notes -Phi Beta Kappa Society, Automatic Control, Cybernetics
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Sink or Swim
• Ancient Greeks and Romans knew of the disease "Hydrophobia", which is
caused by a painful spasm of the larynx when one suffering from this disease
attempts to drink
• Celsus (Roman Physician) wrote about it and said the cure was to throw those
infected into water and said it was caused by being bitten by a rapid dog. He
called it "rabies" (madness) in his writing
Phi Beta Kappa
• The Phi Beta Kappa society was founded in order to give a recognition to
students in American Colleges who achieved academic distinction
• Members were given a key bearing initials for Philosophia Biou Kybernetes
meaning "Philosophy for the Guide of Life"
◦Kybernetes meant "helmsmen of a ship" and is related to L. gubernator.
From this L. word, we get E. gubernatorial and through F., governor
◦From Kybernetes, we also get cybernetics - "the science of automatic
control systems" and cyberspace
• Philosophia meant not only the love of knowledge, but also the study and
systemic treatment of any subject.
• Earliest Greek philosophers were concerned with physical science. It was
Socrates that started studying the soul of a human and is known as the father of
• From Socrates, the sophists appeared in Greece, we get multiple words from
◦Ex. sophism - an argument seemingly valid, but in actuality not
◦Ex. sophistic - "believable but specious"
◦Ex. sophistry - "the use of sophistic argumentation, deceptive reasoning"
• The original meaning of the Greek noun "kosmos" was "orderly arrangement"
and meant the opposite of chaos
• This term was applied to the universe for its perfect order and gave us many
• From the sense of order, a verb was formed meaning "put in order" and from this
verb, a Greek adjective was formed, "kosmetikos" meaning skilled in adornment.
From this, we get
◦Cosmetic - "decorative or ornamental"