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?”.
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?”
The philosophical systems of both China and Greece are central to any possible answers.
Greece: Greek Rational Thought
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?
Greek intellectuals abandoned mythological framework
Socrates of Athens (469–399 B.C.E.)
This is Socrates prison, the place who the great greek philosopher died after he drank hemlock at 399 B.C.E.
Socrates is remembered chiefly as a philosopher and the teacher of Plato, but he was also a
Earliest classical Greek thinkers applied rational questioning to understand human behavior
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Power of human thoughts.
A sculptor, whose true love was Philosophy
Taught for no pay.
Created the Socratic Method – questions and answers
A Student of Socrates
The Greatest Philosopher of Western Civilization
Unlike Socrates, he wrote down his thinking
A student of Plato
Wide ranging interests including ethics, logic, politics, poetry, astronomy, geology, biology, and physics.
Taught Alexander the Great...
“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”Aristotle
Stress the importance of moderation and balance in human behavior.Aristotle and Cicero
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.
The Confucian Answer
Confucius (551–479 B.C.E.) was an educated, ambitious aristocrat
main principle: the moral example of superiors is the answer to disorder
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.
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.
China and the Search for Order
The Legalist Answer
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
the “rituals” of everyday life
Goal is to promote harmony on Earth through relationships
Dacheng Temple in Confucius’ hometown of Qufu in China.
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
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”
Encourages respect for nature
Heavily influenced Chinese art and literature
Yoga and meditation
Hygiene and cleanliness
Balance between Yin (feminine, dark) and Yang (masculine, light)