GREEK & ROMAN HUMANITIES

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Philosophy

Overview of Pre-Socratic philosophy

Pre-Socratic is the term made for the early philosophers who lived and died before the time of Socrates. Many of them were examining questions that we would consider scientific rather than philosophical; however, they had little in common except the time they lived. There are various beliefs presented by the pre-Socratic philosophers.

Thales of Miletus (c. 585 B.C.E)

The earliest philosophical idea is the theory of materialism. The theory holds that the only thing that exists in the world is matter. Thales, one of the materialists, believed that the world is made up of solely water. He was also one of the naturalists who developed the theory that only natural laws and forces operate in the world. Based on this idea, he proposed a theory that was revolutionary during his time. The theory was that the world had developed naturally rather than as a result of divine creation. By proposing this theory, he created a breakaway from the traditional values of Homeric society.

The dualists developed the philosophical idea called dualism. Dualism is the belief that claims that there existed the separation between the world we live and the ideal world. Parmenides, one of the dualists, claimed that the senses we feel in the world we live in is just a delusion, and there is a true reality that can be comprehended by reasoning and is all-perfect. The atheism is another philosophical idea that was developed before the time of Socrates. It is described as the rejection of belief in the existence of gods. Generally, atheists tend to be skeptical of unearthly claims, and they question the existence of gods. The problem of evil, the question of how to explain evil if there is the all-powerful god, is one of the claims made by atheists.

Correlating the elements of philosophy to the current event

Bank failures over the last three years are one factor that caused the recent financial crisis. We all know that the bank failures were caused by the government making the loan policies too lenient. This inability of the government to foresee the future caused too many unqualified people loaning money to buy homes that otherwise they could not afford. Ultimately, both the government and the home buyers did not think critically enough before they made their decisions.

In order to think more deeply about the matter, we should think from the root by asking questions to ourselves. In the case of financial crisis we would ask ourselves these questions: Why are we humans so wasteful? Do humans born naturally wasteful? Or is wastefulness a behavior that humans develop as they grow? First, let’s take a close look at the first question: Do humans born naturally wasteful? No one knows for sure whether we humans born naturally with wastefulness or not, thus for this kind of matter, it is wise for us to put more emphasis on to the next question: Is wastefulness a behavior that humans develop as they grow? In the course of thinking about this question, we can study the human conditions or what humans tend to do and make some assumptions. We live in the world with full of advertisements, and today’s advertisements mainly feature exterior beauty of the products rather than their uses. We humans tend to get easily tempted by the flashy visual imageries in the advertisements. By studying this human condition, we can assume that our wasteful behavior comes from our surroundings and affect on our behavior rather than naturally.

We all know that spending more than producing just doesn’t make sense, but we still live with our wasteful spending behaviors, and also we rarely realize that we are being wasteful. We have to admit that we do lack awareness towards our wastefulness. This lack of awareness comes from our inability to think critically which means that we don’t ask enough questions to ourselves before we act. Constantly asking questions to ourselves would help us in making wiser decisions, because doing so would make us time to think critically and clearly about the matter, thus we are more likely to make better choices than we would when we act under the unconsciousness.

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