Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Sharing nuggets from a very interesting and readable book ' The Story of Philosophy'
- Will Durant

** There is a pleasure in philosophy, and a lure even in the mirages of metaphysics, which very student feels until the coarse necessities of physical existence draf him from the heights of thought into the mart of economic strife and gain.

SOCRATES : The modesty of his wisdom was the most likable trait. He did not claim to have wisdom, but only to seek it lovingly; he was wisdom's amateur, not its professional.

The Oracle of Delphi had pronounced him as the wisest of Greek of his time. But the starting point of his philosophy was : ONE THING ONLY I KNOW, AND THAT IS I KNOW NOTHING !

He had his own religious faith, he believed in One God, and in his modest way believed that death would not quiet destroy him.

PLATO: Plato's meeting with Socrates had been a turning point in his life.

When asked why is it that such simple paradise as he has described - the Utopias never arrive upon the map ?
He answers, because of greed and luxury. Men are not contained with simple life: they are acquisitive, ambitious, competitive, and jealous; they soon tire of what they have, and pine for what they have not; and they seldom disre anything unless it belongs to others.

( after many centuries, nothing has changed, we have not learnt )

The elements of instruction..... should be presented to the mind in childhood, but not with any compulsion, for a freeman should be a freeman too in the acquisition of knowledge.. Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion has no hold on the mind. therefore do not use compulsion, but let early education be rather a sprt of amusement; this will better enable you to find out the natural bent of the child.

(It took us more than 2300 years to put this idea into effective practice and vouchsafe of its merit!)

Every individual is a cosmos or chaos of desires, emotions and ideas, let this fall into harmony; and the individual survives and succeeds; let them loose their proper place and function, let emotions try to become the light of action as well as its heat (as in a fanatic) or let thought try to become the heat of action as well as its light (as in an intellectual) and disintegration of personality begins, failure advances like the inevitable light

ARISTOTLE : Logic means, simply, the art and method of correct thinking.
He led the foundation of Biology. At the bottom of the scale, we can scarcely divide the living from the 'dead', nature makes so gradual a transition from the inanimate to the animate kingdom, that the boundary lines which separate them are are indistinct and doubtful, and perhaps a degree of life exists even in the inorganic. ( how so true)

He rejects Empedocles' doctrine that all organs and organism are a survival of the fittest.

Everything in the world moves naturally to a specific fullfillemnt. Of the varies causes which determine and event, the final cause, which determines the purpos, is the most decisive and important.

The mistakes and futilities of nature are due to the inertia of matter resisting the forming force of purpose ....(gem of haqiqat)everything is guided in a certain direction from within, by its nature, structure and entelechy; the egg of the hen is internally designed or destined to become not a duck but a chick, the acorn becomes not a willow but an oak.

Aristotle's favorite example of matter and form are woman and man; the man is the active, formative principle; the female is passive clay , waiting to be formed.

In plants the soul is merely a nutritive power; in plants it is also a sensitive and locomotive power; in man it is as well the power of reason and thought.

Economics : The most hated sort of such exchange is usury, which makes gain out of money itself, and not from its natural use. For money was intended as an instrument of exchange, and not as the mother of interest. This usury (tokos) which means the birth of money from money...... is of all modes of gain, the most unnatural.

Note: The Philosophy of Aristotle exerted a great influence on Muslim thinkers.

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