Notes on Sophies World

Topics: God, Mind, Soul Pages: 11 (3328 words) Published: September 24, 2013
Sophie’s World Notes
Questions posed: Who are you?
Is there life after death?
Where does the world&universe come from?
Why are we here?
How ought we to live?
Is the human brain like an advanced computer?

Ideas: “It’s tragic that people have to get ill to appreciate life”, the possibility of something coming from nothing, we study philosophy because reading what others think can help us formulate our own ideas. We are aware that we are part of something mysterious. Philosophy started because myths could not be trusted.

Natural Philosophers
Each philosopher or group of philosophers has a project. This group wanted to explain the natural world.

Questions posed:Is there a basic substance?
Can water turn to wine?
How can earth and water produce a frog?
How does transformation occur in nature?

Xenophanes(570 BC) – wanted an explanation of how god created man in his own image. Thales(585 BS) – thought all life was made of water.
Anaximenes(526 BC) – air made all life, water is condensed air. Parmenides(480 BC) – can’t trust your senses, things don’t really change, everything stays the same. Heraclitus(480 BC) – there is constant change, characterized by opposites Empedocles(430 BC) – both of the above are right & wrong. Four basic substances: earth, air, fire, & water. We can combine these to make everything. Love binds while strife separates – this explains the chemical changes. Raised the question, “how can I see a flower?” Believed that the eye contained all four substances. Anaxagoras(428 BC) – everything is built from an infinite number of small particles. But, the whole is in every part (like DNA). He thought that the sun was a red hot stone and that the planets didn’t make their own light. Democritus(370 BC) – Hypothesized atoms – you can use them over & over again. Believed in nothing but material things(materialist). Did not believe in a soul.

More questions: Why is Lego ingenius?
Do you believe in Fate?
Is sickness punishment from the gods?
What forces govern the course of history?

Fatalism is a belief in predestiny. Greeks believed in Oracle at Delphi. Influenza means malign influence from the stars. Hip. oath + moderation&healtly lifestyle -> good health Classic Greeks
Some Qs + beliefs: Does natural modesty exist?
Wisest is one who knows that they don’t know.
He who knows right will do so.
True insight comes from within.

Sophists – skeptics; they accept that man can’t know the truth about the universe.

Protagoras(410 BC) – “Man is the measure”, said that right or wrong must be considered in relation to a person’s needs. Wondered about what was natural and what was socially induced.

Socrates(470-399BC) – Plato wrote about him so it’s difficult to distinguish between his philosophy and Plato’s. Socratic method – ask questions until they see the weaknesses in their own justifications and views, which leads to true insight. He was killed because he introduced new gods and corrupted youth, according to the Greeks. There’s an allusion in the book for a parallel between JC and Socrates. He knew he didn’t know everything and had an unshakable faith in human reason(rationalist). Felt that because people want happiness and can’t handle guilt, if they know what’s right, they’d do right.

Plato(428-347BC) – Concerned with what is eternal and immutable versus what flows. Felt that all substances could change. The “form” of a horse is immutable. (In essence, he noticed that atoms don’t form randomly into a eladile or a crocophant.) The “form” idea is that a perfect copy or “idea” of all objects resides in god so to speak & that we are born with these “ideas” already in our head so we can identify objects into categories. He felt that you can only have true knowledge through reason since physical things are always in a state of change, unlike the “ideas” they are based upon. So, reality has two regions – the sensory and the ideas. We...
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