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Hellenism (100 BC – 300 AD)

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Hellenism (100 BC – 300 AD). Hellenist culture was influenced by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle as well as other non-philosophical ideas (religion) The four philosophical ways of thinking we commonly associate with Hellenism are Cynicism - Diogenes Stoicism – Zeno and Seneca

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hellenism 100 bc 300 ad
Hellenism (100 BC – 300 AD)
  • Hellenist culture was influenced by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle as well as other non-philosophical ideas (religion)
  • The four philosophical ways of thinking we commonly associate with Hellenism are
  • Cynicism - Diogenes
  • Stoicism – Zeno and Seneca
  • Epicureanism - Epicurus
  • Neo-Platonism - Plotinus
cynicism
Cynicism
  • The cynics were particularly attracted to Socrates’ poverty
  • Diogenes of Sinope (350 BC) believed that Socrates’ poverty was the source of his wisdom – if Socrates had been rich, he wouldn’t have thought the way he did
  • Diogenes nickname was “Kuon” which meant “the dog.”
diogenes of sinope the dog
Diogenes of Sinope (The Dog)
  • Diogenes said that human beings should be more like dogs – peaceful animals who are content to live on simple foods and limit their pleasures to peaceful play and sleep.
  • Dogs also “bark at strangers” and Diogenes believed that those who are wise should loudly and dramatically criticize

those wealthy, self-satisfied,

non-thinking “leaders of society.”

more on the dog
More on The Dog
  • So the cynic does not believe in the values society accepts – wealth, power, fame
  • Cynicism is a philosophy that stresses not only a disbelief in the values others take seriously, but also engages in an active criticism of them
  • Diogenes is said to have occasionally worn a barrel as clothing. He wrote wildly sarcastic plays that criticized social thoughtlessness.
stoicism
Stoicism
  • Zeno, the first stoic, lived in Athens around 300 BC. He lived on a porch (a stoa).
  • Seneca was a wealthy Roman (AD 50) who taught that the world is ruled by an inflexible law that has nothing to do with human happiness
  • “Has your cup fallen from the table and broken? Do not mourn it, for it was only a cup, and was bound by nature’s law to break.”
stoicism continued
Stoicism, Continued
  • Seneca goes on, “Has your son been killed today by the power of Rome? Then do not mourn him, for the law of nature decreed that he would die someday, and this day is no different than any other.”
stoicism and nature
Stoicism and Nature
  • For Seneca, nature is a unified whole; there is no division between matter and spirit.
  • God is the one ruler of nature, and rules through “natural law” which never changes
  • There is nothing anyone can do about events that take place
  • Nothing is really bad, it is only our perspective that makes it look that way
  • Everything that happens is good, even those things we cannot understand
  • “Learn to live with it, and you will be happy”
the stoic creed according to seneca
The Stoic Creed, according to Seneca
  • “Demand not that events should happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and you will get on well.”
  • “God is the fiery center of all of nature, is not separate from it, all that happens does so because God so wills”
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