Chapter 2-The Early Greek Philosophers Flashcards Preview

History Of Psychology > Chapter 2-The Early Greek Philosophers > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 2-The Early Greek Philosophers Deck (59)
Loading flashcards...

The projection of human attributes onto nonhuman things



Describe the world of pre-civilized humans 15,000 years ago, including the practices of animism and anthropomorphism, as well as appeals to the concept of spirit and the use of magic.

Humans earliest attempts to explain natural events involved projecting human attributes onto nature. For example, the sky or earths could become angry or could be tranquil. The earliest humans looked at all of nature as though it were alive, animism, and projected human attributes onto nature, anthropomorphism.

It was assumed that a ghost or spirit dwelt in everything, including humans, and that the spirits were as real as anything else. The word spirit is derived from the Latin word for breath, and is what gives things life, and when it leaves a thing, death results.

They attempted to communicate with the spirits and otherwise influence them by using elaborate methods called magic. People believed that appropriate words, objects, ceremonies, or human actions could influence the spirits.

Humans have always needed to understand, predict, and control nature. Animism, anthropomorphism, magic, religion, philosophy, and science can all be seen as efforts to satisfy those needs


The Dionysiac-Orphic belief that because of some transgression, the soul is compelled to dwell in one earthly prison after another until it is purified. The soul mate be in plants, animals, and humans as it seeks redemption

Transmigration of the soul


Why is Thales considered an important philosopher?

He is often referred to as the first philosopher and had a rich intellectual heritage. He was important because he emphasized natural explanations and minimized supernatural ones.
In his cosmology, Thales said that things in the universe consist of natural substances and are governed by natural principles and do not reflect the whims of gods. The universe is therefore knowable and within the realm of human understanding


What practical accomplishments brought Thales fame?

He searched for that one substance or element from which everything else is derived, the Greeks called such a primary element or substance a physis. He concluded that the physis was water because many things seem to be a form of water. Life depends on water, water exists in many forms, and some water is found in everything

He predicted eclipses, develop methods of navigation based on the stars and planets, and applied geometric principles to the measurement of such things as the heights of buildings. Cornered the market on all of oil by predicting weather patterns.


What important critical tradition did Thales originate?

He offered his ideas as speculations and welcomed criticism. With his invitation for others to criticize and improve on his teachings, he started the critical tradition that was to characterize early Greek philosophy.


Describe the fundamental principles in Pythagoras's philosophy

Believed that an abstract world consisting of numbers and numerical relationships exerted an influence on the physical world.

Just as pleasant music results from the harmonious blending of certain tones, so too does health depend on the harmonious blending of bodily elements.

He believed that human soul to be immortal


In what respect did Pythagoras propose a dualistic universe?

One part is abstract, permanent, and intellectually knowable and the other is in empirical, changing, and known through the senses.

He created a dualistic view of humans by saying that in addition to our body, we have a mind or soul, which through reasoning could understand the abstract world of numbers.


Identify the basic features of Empedocles philosophy including his theory of perception

Postulated earth, fire, air, and water as the four basic elements from which everything is made and two forces, love and strife, that alternately synthesize and separate those elements.

He was the first philosopher to offer a theory of perception. He assumed that each of the four elements was found in the blood. Objects in the outside environment through off tiny copies of themselves called emanations, or eidola, which enter the blood through the pores of the body. Because like attracts like, the eidola Will combine with elements that are like them and the fusion of external elements with internal elements results in perception


A tiny replication that some early Greek philosophers thought emanated from the surfaces of things in the environment, allowing the things to be perceived



Describe the atomic theory of Democritus as well as his theory of perception and his beliefs about life after death

Believed that all things were made of tiny, indivisible parts called atoms. The differences among things are explained by the shape, size, number, location, and arrangement of atoms.
Everything in nature, including humans, was explained in terms of atoms and their activities

In his theory of sensation and perception, like Empedocles, he emphasized the importance of eidola or emanations. However, for Democritus, sensations and perceptions arise when Adams and not tiny replicas, emanate from the surfaces of objects and enter the body through one of the five sensory systems, not bodily pores, and are transmitted to the brain, not the heart

Life after death: because he believed that all bodily atoms scattered at death, he also believed that there was no life after death. His was the first completely naturalistic and materialistic view of the universe, devoid of any supernatural considerations


The belief that complex processes can be understood by studying the elements of which they consist. Explain how this is represented in Democritus's theory.


Democritus: his view incorporated elementism because no matter how complex something was, he believed it could be explained in terms of atoms and their activity


The attempt to explain objects or events in one domain by using terminology, concepts, laws, or principles from another domain.

Explain how this is represented in Democritus's theory.


Democritus: he attempted to explain objects and events on one level-observable phenomena-in terms of events on another level-atoms and their activity


Describe the beliefs of Hippocrates as well as his contributions to Greek medicine and physiology

Considered the father of modern medicine because he assumed that disease had natural causes, not supernatural ones. Health prevails when the four humors of the body are in balance, disease when there is an inbalance. The physicians task was to facilitate the body's natural tendency to heal itself.


The belief that because what is considered true varies from person to person, any search for universal or interpersonal truth will fail. In other words, there is no one truth, only truths.

Nihilism. The sophists were nihilists.


The belief that a person's subjective reality is the only reality that exists and can be known



Socrates used a method sometimes called this to search for truth. He examined many individual examples of a concept to discover what they all had in common.

Inductive definition

For example, started with an examination of instances of such concepts as beauty, love, justice, or truth and then moved onto such questions as, what is it that all instances of beauty have in common?


What Socrates sought was the _______ of such things as beauty, justice, and truth. It is its basic nature, it's identifying, and during characteristics

That indispensable characteristic of a thing that gives it its unique identity



What relationship did Socrates see between knowledge and morality?

The understanding of essences constituted knowledge, and the goal of life was to gain knowledge. When one's conduct is guided by knowledge, it is necessarily moral.

For example, if one knows what justices, one acts justly.

Knowledge and morality or intimately related; knowledge is virtue, and improper conduct results from ignorance


This person was first a disciple of Socrates, then came under the influence of the Pythagoreans, and postulated the existence of an abstract world of forms or ideas that, when manifested in matter, make up the objects in the empirical world. The only true knowledge is that of the forms, a knowledge that can be gained only by reflecting on the innate contents of the soul. Sensory experience interferes with the attainment of knowledge and should be avoided



Plato's contention that ultimate reality consists of abstract ideas or forms that correspond to all objects in the empirical world. Knowledge of these abstractions is innate and can be attained only through introspection

Theory of forms


Plato's illustration of his contention that there is a hierarchy of understanding. The lowest type of understanding is based on images of empirical objects. Next highest is an understanding of empirical objects themselves, which results only in opinion. Next is an understanding of abstract mathematical principles. Then comes and understanding of the forms. The highest understanding, or true knowledge, is an understanding of the form of the good that includes a knowledge of all forms and their organization

Analogy of the divided line


Plato's description of individuals who live their lives in accordance with the shadows of reality provided by sensory experience instead of in accordance with the true reality beyond sensory experience

Allegory of the cave


Plato's belief that knowledge is attained by remembering the experiences the soul had when it dwelled among the forms before entering the body

Reminiscence theory of knowledge


Describe Plato's beliefs regarding the nature of the soul

Believe not only that the soul had a rational component that was immortal but also that it had two other components: the courageous, sometimes translated as emotional or spirited, and the appetitive

With his concept of the three-part soul, Plato postulated a situation in which humans were almost always in a state of conflict and the body has appetite such as needs in hunger thirst and sex that must be met and that play a major motivational role in every day life. If true knowledge is to be attained, the person must suppress the needs of the body and concentrate on rational pursuits, such as introspection. The supreme goal in life should be to free the soul as much as possible from the adulterations of the flesh.

Realized that not everyone is capable of intense rational thought; he believed that and some individuals the appetitive aspect of the soul would dominate (workers and slaves), and others the courageous (soldiers), and and still others the rational aspect (philosopher-Kings)

To a large extent, whether one was destined to be a slave, a soldier, or a philosopher-king was a matter of inheritance


Describe Plato's beliefs regarding the nature of sleep and dreams

Even with otherwise rational individuals, the baser appetites manifest themselves as they sleep as dreams


Describe the influence of Plato on the development of science

Because science depends on empirical observation, Plato's philosophy did little to promote science and much to inhibit it.


This person believed that sensory experience was the basis of all knowledge, although the five senses and the commonsense provided only the information from which knowledge could be derived. Also believe that everything in nature had within it an entelechy or purpose that determined its potential. Active reason, which was considered the immortal part of the human soul, provided humans with their greatest potential, and therefore fully actualized humans engage in active reason. Because everything was thought to have a cause, he postulated and unmoved mover that caused everything in the world but was not itself caused



Describe Aristotle's philosophy in terms of the basic differences he had with Plato

Both were primarily interested in essences or truth that went beyond the mirror appearance of things, but their methods for discovering those essences were distinctly different.

For Plato, essences corresponded to the forms that existed independently of nature and that could be arrived at only by ignoring sensory experience and turning ones thoughts inwards words.
For Aristotle, essences existed but could become known only by studying nature

For Plato, first principles were arrived at by thought; for Aristotle, they were obtained by examining nature directly

For Plato, all knowledge existed independently of nature; for Aristotle, nature and knowledge were inseparable. For Aristotle, therefore, the body was not a hindrance in the search for knowledge, as it was for Plato and the Pythagoreans.

Aristotle disagreed with Plato on the importance of mathematics. For Aristotle, mathematics was essentially useless, his emphasis being on the careful examination of nature by observation and classification

Playlist philosophy followed in the Pythagorean mathematical tradition and Aristotle's in the Hippocratic biological tradition


Describe Aristotle's views regarding causation and teleology

To truly understand anything we must know four things about it: material cause, formal cause, efficient cause, final cause.

Aristotle's philosophy exemplified teleology because everything in nature exists for a purpose or a function built into it. This building purpose, or function, is called entelechy.

Although Aristotle believed that the categories of things in nature remain fixed, thus denying evolution, he spoke of a grand hierarchy among all things. The scala naturae refers to the idea that nature is arranged in a hierarchy ranging from neutral matter to the unmoved mover, which is pure actuality and is the cause of everything in nature


According to Aristotle, what a thing is made of

Material cause


According to Aristotle, the form of a thing

Formal cause


According to Aristotle, the force that transforms a thing

Efficient cause


According to Aristotle, the purpose for which a thing exists

Final cause


The belief that nature is purposive. Aristotle's philosophy was this.



According to Aristotle, the purpose for which a thing exists, which remains a potential until actualized. Active reason, for example, is the human ______, but it exists only as a potential in many humans



Aristotle's description of nature as being arranged in a hierarchy from formless matter to the unmoved mover. In this grand design, the only thing higher than humans was the unmoved mover

Scala naturae


According to Aristotle, that which gave nature it's purpose, or final cause, but was itself on caused. It was a logical necessity in Aristotle's philosophy

Unmoved mover


Describe Aristotle's views regarding the hierarchy of souls

For Aristotle, a soul is that which gives life; therefore, all things possess a soul.

There are three types of souls, and a living things potential or purpose is determined by what type of a soul it possesses. The vegetative or nutritive soul, the sensitive soul, the rational soul


The soul possessed by plants. It allows only growth, the intake of nutrition, and reproduction

Vegetative soul


According to Aristotle, the soul possessed by animals. It includes the functions provided by the vegetative soul and provides the ability to interact with the environment and to retain the information gained from that interaction

Sensitive soul


According to Aristotle, the soul possessed only by humans. It incorporates the functions of the vegetative and sensitive souls and allows thinking about events in the empirical world through passive reason and the abstraction of concepts that characterize events in the empirical world or active reason

Rational soul


Describe Aristotle's views on sensation

Information about the environment is provided by the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. He did not believe objects send off tiny copies of themselves, rather, he thought that perception was explained by the motion of objects that stimulate one of the senses


According to Aristotle, the faculty located in the heart that synthesizes the information provided by the five senses

Common sense


According to Aristotle, the practical utilization of the information provided by the commonsense

Passive reason


According to Aristotle, the faculty of the soul that searches for the essences or abstract concepts that manifest themselves in the empirical world. Thought that this part of the soul was immortal

Active reason


For Aristotle, the passive recollection of past experiences



For Aristotle, the active mental search for the recollection of past experiences



According to Aristotle, those laws thought responsible for holding mental events together in memory. For Aristotle, it consisted of the laws of contiguity, contrast, similarity, and frequency

Laws of association


For Aristotle, a thought of something will tend to cause thoughts of things that are usually experienced along with it

Law of contiguity


For Aristotle, a thought of something will tend to cause thoughts of similar things

Law of similarity


For Aristotle, a thought of something will tend to cause thoughts of opposite things

Law of contrast


According to Aristotle, in general, the more often events are experience together, the stronger they become associated in memory

Law of frequency


According to Aristotle, the pondering of the images retained from past experiences



For Aristotle, the experience of images retained from waking experience. Are often bizarre because the images experience during sleep are neither organized by our rational powers nor supported by ongoing sensory experience. That they sometimes correspond to future events was, for Aristotle, mere coincidence



Describe Aristotle's views regarding motivation and happiness

Happiness was doing what is natural because doing so for fulfills one's purpose. For humans, our purpose is to think rationally, and therefore doing so brings the greatest happiness

As with other animals, much she would be Havior is motivated by appetites. Action is always directed at the satisfaction of an appetite or internal states such as hunger, sexual arousal, thirst, or the desire for bodily comfort.


The rule Aristotle suggested people follow to avoid excesses and to live a life of moderation

Golden mean


Describe Aristotle's views regarding the emotions and selective perception

The emotions had the function of amplifying any existing tendency. For example, people might run more quickly if they were frightened than if they were merely jogging for exercise.

Emotions provide a motive for acting-for example, people might be inclined to fight if they are angry.

Emotions may also influence how people perceive things; that is, they may cause selective perception


The belief that everything in nature is alive