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WHAP Unit 2: Classical Era , 500 BCE to 500 CE

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WHAP Unit 2: Classical Era , 500 BCE to 500 CE Chapter 5, Eurasian Cultural Traditions . Big Picture Question #2 “Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?”.

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WHAPUnit 2: Classical Era, 500 BCE to 500 CE

Chapter 5, Eurasian Cultural Traditions.Big Picture Question #2“Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?”

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“Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?”

The philosophical systems of both China and Greece are central to any possible answers.

China: Legalism

Greece: Greek Rational Thought

essential understanding
Essential Understanding

How did the development of religious traditions provided a bond among the people and an ethical code to live by?

How and why did belief systems and cultural traditions spread to new areas?

How did the development of religious traditions affect social and gender roles, and artistic expression?

greco roman philosophy
Greco-Roman Philosophy
  • Polytheistic: Greek and Roman gods.
  • People were more interested in the gods for what they could do for them… not as a means to higher planes of spirituality.
dissatisfaction with the gods
Dissatisfaction with the gods…
  • Lacked spiritual passion which led to the “mystery” religions from the Middle East sweeping through the Greco-Roman world.
  • Some, mainly the upper classes, were not satisfied intellectually by the Greco-Roman religion.
  • Desired a systematic approach to nature and human society.
  • What does this desire lead to?
greco roman philosophy and science
Greco-Roman philosophy and science.
  • While Greco-Roman religion promoted political loyalty, it did not provide a basis for ethical behavior.
  • Enter – “The Philosophers”, logic and reason, and empirical observation.
greco roman philosophers
Greco-Roman Philosophers
  • Greek: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle.
  • Hellenistic (Age of Allexander): the Stoics
  • Roman: Cicero
the cultural tradition of classical greece
The Cultural Tradition of Classical Greece

Greek intellectuals abandoned mythological framework

  • world is a physical reality governed by natural laws
  • humans can understand those laws
  • human reason can work out a system for ethical life

Socrates of Athens (469–399 B.C.E.)

  • argument, logic, questioning of received wisdom
  • constant questioning of assumptions
  • conflict with city authorities over
  • accused of corrupting the youth, Athenian democracy
  • executed

This is Socrates prison, the place who the great greek philosopher died after he drank hemlock at 399 B.C.E.

the cultural tradition of classical greece1
The Cultural Tradition of Classical Greece

Socrates is remembered chiefly as a philosopher and the teacher of Plato, but he was also a

  • citizen of Athens,
  • served the military as a hoplite during the Peloponnesian War, where he remained calm while most around him were in a panic
  • participated in the Athenian democratic Council of the 500

Earliest classical Greek thinkers applied rational questioning to understand human behavior

  • Herodotus: Grecco-Persian War - Historian “Father of History (Lies)”
  • Plato:(429–348 B.C.E.) outlined design for a good society (Republic) led by a “philosopher-king”
  • Aristotle: (384–322 B.C.E.) Became a teacher to Alexander of Macedonia (who became Alexander the Great)
socrates
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

“Know thyself.”

Power of human thoughts.

Socratic Approach

Socrates
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Socrates...

A sculptor, whose true love was Philosophy

Taught for no pay.

Created the Socratic Method – questions and answers

Plato...

A Student of Socrates

The Greatest Philosopher of Western Civilization

Unlike Socrates, he wrote down his thinking

Aristotle...

A student of Plato

Wide ranging interests including ethics, logic, politics, poetry, astronomy, geology, biology, and physics.

Taught Alexander the Great...

aristotle and cicero
“ A happy life consists of tranquility of mind.” Cicero

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”Aristotle

Stress the importance of moderation and balance in human behavior.

Aristotle and Cicero
stoicism
“Wherever I go, it will be well with me.”

"Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one\'s desires, but by the removal of desire.“

"No man is free who is not master of himself."

Self-control, self-mastery….the ability to harness one’s desires instead of them controlling you.

Stoicism
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“Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?”

The thrust of Confucian teaching was distinctly this-worldly and practical.

Confucianism was primarily concerned with human relationships, with effective government, and with social harmony.

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“Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?”

The Confucian Answer

Confucius (551–479 B.C.E.) was an educated, ambitious aristocrat

  • spent much of life looking for a political position to put his ideas into practice
  • Confucius’s ideas had enormous impact on China and the rest of East Asia
  • his teachings were collected by students as the Analects

main principle: the moral example of superiors is the answer to disorder

  • society consists of unequal relationships
  • duty of the superior member to be sincere and benevolent
  • will inspire deference & obediencefrom the inferior member
  • humans have capacity for improvement: education
  • family = model for political life, with focus on filial piety (honoring ones ancestors & parents)
  • defined role of women as being humble, serving husbands
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“Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?”

Greek thought, with its emphasis on argument and logic, relentless questioning of received wisdom, confidence in human reason, and enthusiasm for puzzling out the world without much reference to the gods, also provides a precedent for modern secular outlooks on the world.

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“Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?”

In China, Legalism possessed several features of a modern secular political philosophy in its reliance on law and the enforcement of law to secure a stable society.

The first emperor of China backed Legalist methods, rather than Confucianist, in a rather ruthless way.

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“Is a secular outlook on the world an essentially modern phenomenon, or does it have precedents in the classical era?”

China and the Search for Order

  • China had a state-building tradition that went back to around 2000 B.C.E.
  • Mandate of Heaven philosophy was established by 1122 B.C.E. (foundation of the Zhou dynasty)
  • Breakdown into the chaos of the “Age of Warring States” (403–221 B.C.E.)

The Legalist Answer

  • Han Feizi was a leading Legalist philosopher
  • Strict rules, clearly defined and strictly enforced, are the answer to disorder
  • Pessimistic view of human nature; only the state can act in people’s long-term interest
  • Promotion of farmers and soldiers, who performed the only essential functions in society
  • Legalism inspired the Qin dynasty reunification of China
confucianism
Confucianism

Started by Confucius (551-479 BCE) during the Warring States Period in China

Offers solutions to the problems plaguing China

Focus on life rather than the afterlife

Does not advocate a specific deity

Emphasizes worship of ancestors

Drawing of Confucius

basic beliefs of confucianism
Basic Beliefs of Confucianism

Emphasizes li

the “rituals” of everyday life

Goal is to promote harmony on Earth through relationships

Five Relationships

Filial Piety

Education

Dacheng Temple in Confucius’ hometown of Qufu in China.

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Sayings from The Analects

  • Knowing what he knows and knowing what he doesn’t know, is characteristics of the person who knows.
  • Making a mistake and not correcting it, is making another mistake.
  • The superior man blames himself; the inferior man blames others.
  • To go too far is as wrong as to fall short.
social impact of confucianism
Social Impact of Confucianism

Becomes foundation of Chinese government

Reinforced importance of patriarchal relationships

Reinforced family as the center of Chinese society

Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore are influenced by Confucian ethic

Family altar in Malaysian Chinese home. Family is inviting ancestors to partake in the Hungary Ghost festival

confucianism and gender roles
Confucianism and gender roles
  • How did the concept of “filial piety” influence gender roles?
  • filial piety: basically describes the correct way to act towards one\'s parents.  Filial piety consists of several factors; the main ideas include loving one\'s parents, being respectful, polite, considerate, loyal, helpful, dutiful, and obedient.
daoism taoism
Daoism (Taoism)

Founded by Laozi (6th cent. BCE?) during the Warring States Period

Everything revolves around the Dao (the way)

Goal: Create societal harmony by living according to the natural laws of the universe

Wu Wei “without action”

impact of daoism
Impact of Daoism

Encourages respect for nature

Heavily influenced Chinese art and literature

Landscape paintings

Yoga and meditation

Hygiene and cleanliness

Medicine

Balance between Yin (feminine, dark) and Yang (masculine, light)

daoist influence on chinese culture medical theory and practices
Daoist Influence on Chinese Culture: Medical theory and Practices
  • All of the following have their origins in Daoism.
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Massage Therapy
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The Dao De Jing

  • The basic text of Daoism.
  • In Chinese, it means The Classic in the Way and Its Power.
  • “Those who speak know nothing: Those who know are silent.” These words, I am told, Were spoken by Laozi. If we are to believe that Laozi, Was himself one who knew, How is it that he wrote a book, Of five thousand words?
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