Epicurus (Superior Double)

Epicurus (341–270 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and sage who founded a highly influential school of philosophy now called Epicurean.

He was born on the Greek island of Samos to Athenian parents. Influenced by Democritus, Aristotle, Pyrrhus and possibly the Cynics, he turned against the Platonism of his time and founded his own school, known as “The Garden”, in Athens. Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing a wide range of philosophical topics, he openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy.

An extremely prolific writer, he is said to have originally written over 300 works on various subjects, but the vast majority of these writings have been lost. Only three letters he wrote have survived – the Epistles to Menochaeus, Pythocles and Herodotus – and the Major Glories, which epitomize his philosophical system, as well as his testament. Most knowledge of his teachings comes from later writers, particularly the Roman poet Lucretius, the biographer Diogenes Laertius, the statesman Cicero, and the philosophers Philodimus and Sextus Empiricus.

Heraclitus (Superior Double)

Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535 – c. 475 BC) was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher and a native of the city of Ephesus, then part of the Persian Empire.

He was of distinguished birth. Little is known about his early life and education, but he considered himself self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom. From the solitary life he led, and still more from the apparently confused and allegedly paradoxical nature of his philosophy and his stress on the careless unconsciousness of mankind, he was called “The Dark One” and “The Weeping Philosopher.”

Thales (Superior Double)

Thales of Miletus (c. 624/623 – c. 548/545 BC) was a Greek mathematician, astronomer and pre-Socratic philosopher from Miletus in ancient Greek Ionia.He was one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, considered him the first philosopher in the Greek tradition, and he is otherwise historically recognized as the first person in Western civilization known to have entertained and engaged in scientific philosophy.

Thales is recognized as eschewing the use of mythology to explain the world and the universe and instead explaining natural objects and phenomena with theories and hypotheses, as a forerunner of modern science. Almost all other pre-Socratic philosophers followed him in explaining nature as arising from the unity of all things based on the existence of a single ultimate essence, rather than using mythological explanations. Aristotle regarded him as the founder of the Ionian School and cited Thales’ hypothesis that the principle of nature and the nature of matter was a single material substance: water.

Plato (Quadraple)

Plato was a philosopher, as well as a mathematician, in Classical Greece.

He is considered an essential figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition, and founded the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher education in the Western world. Along with his teacher Socrates and his most famous student, Aristotle, Plato laid the foundations of Western philosophy and science.

Alfred North Whitehead once noted: “the safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”

Aristotle (Quadraple)

Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist who was born in the Macedonian city of Stageira in Chalkidiki, in the northern region of Classical Greece. His father, Nicomachus, died when Aristotle was a child, and then the Consul Atarnaeus became his guardian. At eighteen, he joined Plato’s Academy in Athens and remained there until the age of thirty-seven (about 347 BC).

His writings cover many subjects – including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theater, music, rhetoric, linguistics, politics and government – and constitute the first comprehensive system of Western philosophy. Shortly after Plato’s death, Aristotle left Athens and, at the request of Philip of Macedonia, tutored Alexander the Great beginning in 343 BC. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Aristotle was the first genuine scientist in history … every scientist is liable.”

Arete (Normal Double)

Virtue, in its basic sense, means “excellence of any kind.” The term can also mean “moral virtue”. In its earliest appearance in Greek, this concept of excellence was ultimately associated with the concept of fulfilling one’s purpose or function: the act of living to one’s fullest potential.

The term from Homeric times onwards is not gender specific. Homer applies the term to both Greek and Trojan heroes as well as major female figures, such as Penelope, the wife of the Greek hero Odysseus. In the Homeric poems, Virtue is often associated with bravery, but more often with efficiency. The Arete man or woman is a person of the highest efficiency. they use all their abilities – strength, bravery and intelligence – to achieve real results.

In the Homeric world, then, Virtue includes all the capacities and potentialities available to humans. The concept implies an anthropocentric universe in which human actions are paramount. the world is a place of conflict and difficulty, and human worth and meaning is measured by individual effectiveness in the world.

Democritus (Normal Double)

Democritus was an important ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher who is mostly remembered today for formulating an atomic theory of the universe. Democritus was born in Avdira in Thrace around 460 BC. His exact contributions are difficult to distinguish from those of his mentor Leucippus, as they are often cited together in texts. Their speculations about atoms, taken from Leucippus, bear a passing and partial resemblance to the nineteenth-century understanding of atomic structure that has led some to regard Democritus as more of a scientist than other Greek philosophers. However, their ideas rested on very different foundations. Democritus, largely ignored in ancient Athens, was nevertheless well known to the northern-born philosopher Aristotle. It is said that Plato disliked him so much that he wished all his books burned. Many consider Democritus the “father of modern science”.

Pythagoras (Normal Double)

Pythagoras of Samos was an Ionian Greek philosopher, mathematician, and has been credited as the founder of the movement called Pythagoreanism. Most information about Pythagoras was recorded centuries after he lived, so little reliable information is known about him. He was born on the island of Samos and traveled visiting Egypt and Greece, perhaps India, and in 520 AD. returned to Samos. Around 530 BC, he moved to Croton, in Greater Greece, and there founded some kind of school or guild.

Socrates (Normal Double)

Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher who is credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is an enigmatic figure who is known mainly through the accounts of classical authors, especially the writings of the students of Plato and Xenophon and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Plato’s dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates that have survived from antiquity, although the extent to which Socrates himself is ‘hidden behind’ his ‘best pupil’, Plato, is not clear.