Intro to Logic

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C H A P T E R  6








In the Hellenic period, philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle thought the good-life could only be obtained through an idealized state, and philosophers and citizens should strive to improve the state.


This sentiment ended with the death of Aristotle's student Alexander the Great. The Romans conquered the Hellenistic states; Greek culture merged with other cultures, and the Greeks no longer felt they were in control of the destiny.


This is the beginning of the Hellenistic period. Philosophers abandoned the idea that the good-life could be obtained by participation in the state. In their pursuit for values they turned their attentions inward. We will see later that a similar thing happened when René Descartes turned his attentions inward in pursuit of knowledge.






(445-365 BCE)





Antisthenes studied rhetoric with the sophist Gorgias, and dialectics with Socrates. He was present when Socrates died. Antisthenes was the founder of Cynic philosophy - which influenced Christianity and Stoicism.




1.   He rejected conventions.

2.   Happiness is obtained through virtue - not pleasure.

3.   Virtue is obtained by detachment from all possessions and pleasures (Even good ones?)

4.   Organized religion is a human fabrication.

5.   Only one God exists.

6.   God is unlike anything on earth, and cannot be understood by any representation.







(412-323 BCE)

(He was born in Sinop or modern-day Turkey)




1.   He was a student of Antisthenes.

2.   His student was Crates.

3.   Diogenes slept in an urn in the marketplace

4.   His only possessions were the cloths he was wearing and a cup. When he saw a boy drinking from his hands, he threw his cup away.

5.   He rejected established customs and values.

6.   He rejected pleasure as the good or end in life.

7.   When Alexander the Great granted him any wish, he replied; stand out of my sunlight.

8.   None of his writings survived.







Epicurus  (341-270BCE)


1.   He started a philosophical commune in a garden.

2.   Everything, including the soul,  is made of atoms moving in an infinite void.

      If this is true, should we fear death?

3.   The shapes, sizes, and weights of atoms are different.

4.   Reality is governed by chance.

5.   The interaction of atoms causes pleasure and pain.

      This is the source of all our values.

      There are no Platonic forms - existing in an invisible mythical realm.

6.   All our actions are driven by the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

      This is called psychological hedonism.

      Freud was a psychological hedonist.

      Only pleasure is good, and pain is evil.

      This is called ethical hedonism or egoistic hedonism.

      Would Epicurus say that some pleasures unwise?















< >


For Life

For Comfort

For Happiness    


What pleasures would you say are groundless and not rooted in nature?

What pleasures are natural and necessary?

What pleasures are natural and unnecessary?

What virtues involve seeking wise pleasures?





"I am a citizen of the cosmos."

Zeno of Citium (336 - 264 BCE) was a Greek philosopher who founded Stoicism in Athens. Zeno lectures on a porch - stoa where it gets its name. Stoicism is an evolution of Socrates, Cynicism and the Epicureanism.


1.   Knowledge comes from experience. (Empiricism)  

2.   Peace of mind comes from living a life of virtue in accordance with nature.

3.   Reality consists of atoms moving in a void. 

     The soul and God are material.

4.   God is just and benevolent. How is this consistent with injustice and evil?

      God is the rational principle or Logos. (Heraclitus)

      Our souls are borrowed from the divine soul or fire - Logos. We are a microcosm.

      After death our eternal souls return to God.

      Our reason is borrowed from the Logos - or universal reason.

      Everything happens for the best. How is this consistent with evil?

      Everything happens for a reason.

      Nothing happens by chance.

      Even God is determined. (Aristotle)

5.   The highest good is a life in accord with reason.

      The book also states that pleasure is the highest good.

6.   Virtue, duty, and discipline are also good-in-themselves.

      Apathy is a virtue.

7.   No real harm can come to a virtuous person. (Socrates)

8.   Free yourself from all emotions and desires that are outside your control.

      What desires are outside your control?

      Your outlook is the only thing you can really control.



Epictetus ( 50-138 CE)

Epictetus was a slave. He said, "Ask not that events should happen as you will, but let your will be that events should happen as they do..." (S135)

A Zen statement to this affect is, "Happiness is not having what you want - but wanting what you have."


Chrysippus of Soli (around 280-207BCE)


He became the head of Zeno's school.





Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 – 43 BCE)

He was a stoic philosopher, statesman, lawyer, and political theorist.


Lucius Annaeus Seneca (3 BCE – 65 CE)

He was a Nero's prime minister.

Marcus Aurelius (121 – 180 CE)

He was the Roman emperor and stoic philosopher.








1.   Nature is ruled by physical and moral laws.

      Natural moral laws are universal.

In the Declaration of Independence it says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

2.   Legal laws are human conventions.

      A just law conforms to the natural law.






1.   We cannot assume that reason is sufficient to know reality. (Sophists)

2.   Reason can produce powerful arguments for both sides of an issue.

3.   We can't get outside our senses, so experience can't provide knowledge of reality. (Pyrrho)

4.   Only appearances are intelligible.

5.   There is no certainty.

      Nothing is impossible to doubt. See below

6.   We should suspend all judgment. (Pyrrho of Elis 360-270BCE - Pyrrhonism)

7.   I know only that I know nothing. (Socrates - academic skepticism)


Socrates (469–399 BCE)

Academic Skepticism

"I know only that I know nothing."

Carneades of Cyrene (156-155 BCE)

Academic Skepticism

Head of Plato's Academy

There is no certain knowledge.

We do have probable knowledge.



Plato (428/427 BCE – 348/347 BCE)

It's all just a likely story. - Timaeus

In the Theætetus Plato says, "For there are states, such as madness and dreaming, in which perception is false; and half our life is spent in dreaming; and who can say that at this instant we are not dreaming?"




The Five Tropes:

1.  Dissent - Not everyone will agree on any issue.

2.  Relativity - Your point of view or circumstances change how you perceive things.

3.  Infinite Regress - All proofs requires further proof, and so on to infinity.

4.  Hypothesis - An axiom can't terminate a regress because nothing is self evident.
     Someone will deny any axiom, or assert its opposite.
     Since nothing is self evident, a regress cannot be terminated, and nothing can be proven.

5.  Circularity - If you avoided the previous problems, you assumed what you were proving.




     What do you know for sure?

     Are any of your beliefs self-evident.

     If reason ends in skepticism, are we left with faith?

     How should a skeptic live? Should they observe customs, be apathetic, or do nothing?








Plotinus (CE 204/5–270)



He was raised in Egypt.

Plotinus is considered to be the Father of Neoplatonism.

He founded a school in Rome.


1.   The more unity a thing has the more real it is.

2.   The One is the highest level of reality. (God or the Good)

      It has no parts, is whole, indivisiible, eternal, and and unchanging.

      It is the cause of all things.

      It transcends thought.  

3.   Nous, the Divine mind, Emanates from the One.

      Nous apprehends the forms

      There are forms of universals (Plato) and individuals (Plutinus).

4.   Emanating from Nous is the Cosmic Soul.

      Your soul is the offspring of the Cosmic Soul.

      Your soul is eternal, and it is reincarnated.

5.   The trinity consists of the One, Nous, and Soul.








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