Formation of the traditions of European spirituality...

Formation of the traditions of European spirituality in ancient philosophy

The Ionians and eleates designate the outer limits of the theorizing space. Philosophers of the following generations strive to avoid the extremes of the first schools and create systems in which the immutability of the foundations of being would be combined with the variability of the objective world. The earliest attempts to create such systems are contained in the teachings of Empedocles and Anaxagoras.

Empedocles (490-430 BC) from the city of Agrigento in Sicily, like many Greek sages, was a very versatile man, but to the greatest extent he is known as a philosopher. In order to avoid excessive rigidity of his predecessors, Empedocles refuses one single beginning of the world's existence and recognizes four equal bases: earth, water, air and fire, representing a solid , liquid, gaseous and fiery of the beginning. These beginnings are simple, ie. They do not consist of parts, and therefore are not subject to decay and decomposition. They can connect, forming complex things that, when compound, can disintegrate. In this case, the existence of elements is interpreted for Parmenides (ie, as eternal and unchanging), and the being of things by Heraclitus (both temporary and changeable). Thus, the concept of Empedocles represents a compromise between the extremes of the Ionians and the Eleatic, occupying an intermediate position in the space indicated by them. He treats the whole visible world as consisting of a multitude of complex and volatile things, each of which is a combination in certain proportions of four immutable basic elements. The connection and separation of elements is due to the Empedocles by the action of two forces - love and enmity, the first collects and holds elements in the thing, the second separates them, destroying the thing.

The concept of Empedocles was widely spread and preserved as the basis of European science until the XVII century. You can see traces of it today. For example, the separation of the four temperaments in modern psychology (choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic and melancholic) historically goes back to the concept of Empedocles, which linked the character of a person to the predominance of one or another basic element in his soul.

Anaxagoras (500-428 BC), a contemporary of Empedocles, came from Clazomen in Ionia, then moved to Athens, becoming the first of the Athenian philosophers. Like Empedocles, he sought a compromise between Heraclite fluidity and Parmenian immobility. However, unlike his contemporary, he proceeded from the fact that quality should be absolutely stable characteristic of a thing, and therefore can not arise as a result of an arbitrary combination of a few elements. According to the philosopher, there should be as many elements as there are qualities. Elements of qualities - homeomorphisms - are diverse, but each of them is eternal and unchanged. The elements themselves are insignificantly small, and therefore inaccessible to direct observation, but, joining together in significant masses, they become noticeable and form qualitatively certain things. The force that connects and divides homeomes, i.e. Anaxagoras considered the world mind (nous) that is above nature and acting in relation to it as an external force, guiding and regulating the course of the world process.


The transformation of things, according to Anaxagoras, occurs approximately as follows: a cow in a meadow eats grass, which somehow mysteriously turns into milk, meat, bones and tendons. It happens because the philosopher would say that in real grass as impurities are contained in a small, inconspicuous amount of homeotheria of other qualities (the same milk or bone). The cow's organism filters out elements necessary for her life, throwing away unnecessary as manure. Similarly, all the changes that we observe in the world are being implemented. If we talk about the current science, then the anaxagorov homehomes resemble modern "units of qualities - chemical molecules.

Democritus (460 - circa 371 BC) from the city of Abdera in Macedonia, the creator of the atomistic concept of matter, derived its main idea from his teacher, the little-known Ionian philosopher Leucippus . e.). Atomists also sought to unify the views of the Ionians and the Eleatic, believing that their positions, despite the diametrical opposite, are equally valid, since the immutability of the foundations of being is logically necessary, and the variability of things - sensually authentic. The reconciliation of logical necessity with sensible reliability is achieved thanks to the assumption that the whole world consists of the smallest, further indivisible particles - atoms (from the Greek atomos - indivisible). Remaining unchanged, atoms move in the void, forming various combinations, which we find as diverse sensible things. The atoms themselves are qualitatively indeterminate and differ only in their shape, position and order, by their combination they engender the entire diversity of the sensory world. In this respect, atoms can be likened to letters of the alphabet: each of them does not mean anything by itself, but the combinations of letters form a set of words from which an innumerable number of meaningful texts can be compiled.

An essential feature of democritic atoms is their inherent movement. Moving in space, the atoms converge, forming a combination perceived by us as a qualitatively determined thing. Having joined the thing, the atoms do not stop, but continue their perpetual motion. Consequently, what we take as a stable object is only a temporary combination of the atoms that are getting closer, the movement of which in the composition of the thing continues, causing all the changes taking place in it, down to complete extinction, when the atoms that make it, completely disperse. With such an approach, knowing the thing means knowing the paths of moving atoms, which, having grown close, gave rise to each and, moving about each other, cause changes in it until complete disappearance, when the atoms are again They will part with new things. Knowledge of the path of the atom's displacement means a description of the set of points in which this atom is topical . Such a description is possible only with the help of mathematical functions capable of expressing rather complex trajectories of movements of any object. As a result, it is mathematics, and not sensory experience is recognized in the atomistic concept as the most effective means of cognizing the world.

Atomism was not widely spread in ancient and medieval philosophy, remaining in the shadow of the more popular empedocular concept of the four beginnings. A keen interest in it occurs only in the 17th century, when the creators of mathematical natural science begin to use the ideas of ancient atomists as the fundamental basis of their theoretical constructions. And although the ideas about the atom have changed significantly since the time of Democritus, the very idea of ​​atomism continues to be widely used in modern natural science to this day.

Socrates (469-399 BC) was born and lived in Athens, where, starting from V century BC, the center of intellectual and cultural life of Greece moves. At the same time, there is a change in the direction of the interests of theoretical thinking. The first philosophers of ancient Greece considered nature to be the main object of their science ( physis ), therefore their teachings are usually united under the general title "Philosophy" or "natural philosophy" > (philosophy of nature). Such a philosophy in its subject is close to natural science, because it views its object as a reality that exists independently of man and is given to him directly in sensory experience. The discovery of a new, unusual object is connected with Socrates' famous demand: "Know yourself!". At first glance, this demand was not unusual, it literally repeated a well-known appeal, inscribed over the entrance to the temple of Apollo Delphi. But what does it mean to know yourself? Carefully consider your body? To study facial expressions in the mirror? Socrates has something completely different in mind.

Let's pay attention to the first step that an ancient thinker does when entering the path of self-knowledge. "I know that I do not know anything," Socrates declares, believing that only with the realization of one's own ignorance can the movement to wisdom begin. Knowledge of ignorance is knowledge about one's own imperfection, or, more precisely, of one's own incompleteness. According to Socrates, such knowledge is a necessary condition for improvement, for while a person is stupidly confident that he knows everything that is needed, he simply does not have an incentive to develop. Entering the path of self-knowledge, a person begins to move towards his own completion, for the achievement of perfection means the completion of the process of his becoming as a person who has maximally realized his potential abilities.

Awareness of the distance between what is is a person, and what he can and should be, takes him out of a state of blissful complacency and sets the direction of the movement to conform to the universal essence as to no one's ideal of man. But in this case, the cognition of oneself does not refer to the physical body or to the refinement of the details of the biography that has already taken place: calling on the person to know himself, Socrates means the knowledge of that ideal whose achievement must be his own ( subjective ) purpose of his life. The goal, which he, perhaps, will be able to realize (if he can!) Only at the end of the path that he is just entering. This knowledge does not refer to what exists, but to due, or, in other words, not to what is, but to what else no and that can not be the subject of empirical experience.

Socrates first points to an object that radically differs from the object of natural philosophy according to its most fundamental characteristics: it does not really exist, is not accessible to sensory experience, and can not be described in the language of mathematics. It is literally an missing object . But, despite the fact that it does not exist in reality, it nevertheless belongs to being. Being devoid of attributes of materiality (as an attribute of existence), the ideal has signs of reality as an attribute of being), because, being outside the material world, he actively influences his formation, determining the purpose and meaning of all that exists. In any case, it is the ideal that determines the vector that sets the goal and meaning of human life. The knowledge of this imaginary ideal seems to Socrates and his followers to be much more important than the knowledge of natural objects, for the latter concerns the circumstances of life, whereas the first is for its meaning and purpose.

The object of cognition, pointed to by Socrates, is precisely the nonexistent, absent object. The way of the existence of such an object is beautifully demonstrated by the French philosopher Michel Foucault in his book "Words and Things" (1966). Analyzing the picture of Diego Velasquez & "Meninas", he shows that, in addition to the visible characters, King Philip IV of Spain is invisibly present in it. He is not among the depicted figures (only in the mirror the back plane vaguely guessed its silhouette), but the arrangement of all real characters of the picture is oriented towards it. Their poses and gestures are turned towards the king, invisible to the viewer, whose invisible presence "keeps" the entire composition, determining the meaning and purpose of the movements and views of the persons depicted. The monarch, not existing in space, defines the order of all that exists in it.

Beginning from Socrates and up to the 17th century (ie, for more than 20 centuries), the cognition of the goal and of the meaning was viewed as the most important and significant task of philosophy. Plato's theory of ideas, the metaphysics of Aristotle, the doctrine of the God of St. Augustine the Blessed and Thomas Aquinas-all of them are oriented not to the natural-natural world, but to that ideal being, the knowledge of which reveals the real meaning, allowing to interpret it as an appropriately arranged harmonious order. The knowledge of the natural world during this period is of little interest to anyone, for it is seen, in Augustin's words, as "the occupation is very interesting, but extremely empty." Having such an object, philosophy developed and appropriate methods, adapted to the knowledge of not sensually perceived things, but imaginary objects that are inaccessible to direct empirical observation.

The pupil of Socrates and one of the greatest philosophers of antiquity Plato (427-347 BC), the creator of the system that had a decisive influence on the formation of the spiritual tradition of Europe, opened its own school in Athens, which the location in the garden of Akademos was called Academy. Later this name became a household name, and all the current academies are named so in memory of that Platonic Academy.

One of the reasons that determined the direction of Platonic thought was the impression made on him by the execution of Socrates. The court, which sentenced the righteous to death, gave rise to doubt about the justice of the world in which this could happen. This basis can be called "moral." The second basis was more of a logical character and was associated with an attempt to find out what the referents of our statements are.


When we look at the world, we see a lot of individual things, each of which differs from any other, even homogeneous object with it. But after all, different objects should be indicated by different words. What, then, do we mean when we say: "man," "home", "tree"? Clearly, these words do not refer to a particular individual or house, but to a person, house or tree "in general". But what is this person or house "in general"?

Consider a simple example. On the street you can see a lot of cars: they are all made up of metal, plastic, fueled and driven to the city, and all these cars, even if they are the same brand, at least differ from each other. But in the safe of the design bureau lies a drawing; it does not have a gram of metal and plastic, it does not fill with gasoline and does not travel around the city, nevertheless it is he who is the only ideal ideal prototype of each of the set of real cars of this type.

Plato believes that the real existence of the set of things of any class is preceded by a single "ideal project" - idea ( eidos ). A lot of such idea-prototypes exist in a special intelligible world that is inaccessible to sensory perception. Each eidos appears as a universal sample from which all individual items of a certain kind are copied: people, houses, trees, etc. In the process of copying random distortions arise, giving each thing an individual identity. According to Plato, the visible diversity of individual things is a variety of defects that distinguish each of them from the ideal prototype, and from each other. Thus, it turns out that on the sensory level we see isolated things, but we are not thinking and talking about them, but about their ideal prototypes-ideas. But in this case, the most careful study of a single thing will not give us true knowledge, for it will be knowledge of only a single instance, because the material object is nothing but a distorted copy of the "ideal project" - Eidos. The cognitive image formed on the basis of the study of the object will be a copy of the second order, in which the first distortion is superimposed one more. Consequently, the attempt to achieve true knowledge through the study of individual objects does not bring us closer to the truth, but rather removes it from us.

For the knowledge of the truth, according to Plato, one should turn not to the copy, but to the original - to the very eidos, the prototype of all objects of the given kind. But how is this possible? Being a pure idea, eidos is not accessible to sensory perception, and in general it is in a special intelligible (intelligible) world, existing separately from the world of material objects. Plato offers an original solution to the problem of the relationship between the objective and intelligible worlds. He believes that the human soul itself is eidos and before joining with the body stayed in the intelligible world along with other ideas, where she immediately contemplated them. Moving to the objective world and connecting with the body, it loses its connection with the world of ideas, but the old contemplations are preserved in it and can be restored by remembering.

So, Plato radically changes the orientation of cognitive interest: it should be directed not outward, to objects and phenomena of the surrounding world, but inside, to the depths of one's own soul, where they are stored potential memories of truths, previously directly contemplated. Those whose souls, being in the intelligible world, were lazy and uninvolved, have a smaller reserve of potential memories than those whose souls were active and attentive. And this inequality can no longer be overcome in the objective world, since the connection of the corporeal person with the intelligible world is lost, and he can not replenish his stock of memories. Such a statement of the initial inequality of human cognitive abilities can be defined as epistemological aristocracy.

Aristotle (384-322 BC), a disciple of Plato and teacher of Alexander of Macedon, is the creator of a philosophical system, in many respects different, and sometimes directly opposite Platonic. In 367 BC. 17-year-old Aristotle entered the Platonic Academy, where he spent more than 20 years, first as a student, and then as a researcher and teacher. In 343 BC. He was invited by the Macedonian King Philip as a tutor for his son Alexander. After Alexander came to power, the philosopher left Macedonia and returned to Athens, where he opened his own school - Lyceum, whose name, like the name of the Platonic Academy, also became a household name.

In Likey, he took a position different from the views of academics. This discrepancy with the teacher was reflected in the famous saying: "Plato is my friend, but the truth is more expensive." In the system of Plato, Aristotle is not satisfied, first of all, with the "doubling of being". He reproaches the teacher and that, having admitted the existence of two worlds, he did not show how the connection between them is realized. "If there are eidos and exist," says Aristotle, "then the things implicated in them would not have arisen if there had not been an appropriate cause." Hence the serious attention that the philosopher gives to the study of the concept of the cause.

Aristotle distinguishes four factors that generate an object, defining them as the causes of the occurrence of any thing.

► To create a thing, for example a copper bowl, you need what it's made of - copper as raw material, or material cause of things.

► In order for this cup to become a cup, it must be appropriately shaped, acting as the formal cause of the cup.

► Copper itself will not take the form of a bowl unless you apply a force to it, which is a acting reason.

► Creating a bowl is done in order for it to perform some function, it serves as a means to achieve a certain goal, such is the fourth, target (or ultimate) reason.

Aristotle considers these four reasons for the example created by man, but he is sure that the same reasons underlie the emergence of any, including a natural object. Two of them - material and acting - determine the individual originality of the thing, for example, the cup can be copper or ceramic, made by casting or lenok. Two other reasons - formal and objective - are determined not by individual, but by universally universal, generic characteristics of the subject. Of particular importance is Aristotle's form, because, in order to be a cup, the object must be shaped like a bowl. Consequently, the form is an eternal and unchanging characteristic of a thing, for any cup, whenever, by whomever and from which it is made, will be a cup because of the form. Unlike the Platonic eidos, the form is not in a special intelligible world of pure ideas, but belongs to the thing itself, constituting its inner essence. This essence is revealed through the exploration of a thing by abstracting from particulars and details and concentrating on what belongs to the whole genus of objects of a given class. The form in this context appears as a general law of the structure of things of a certain kind, therefore the knowledge of form gives a universal universal knowledge of all kinds of objects in contrast to the knowledge based on sensory perception - acquaintance, always representing only a single unit. Since the form is contained, albeit in a hidden form, in the objects themselves, unlike the Platonic eidos, it is not fundamentally inaccessible and can be understood by any person who has made efforts to comprehend it. Such a position can be characterized as epistemological democratism.

The historical fate of Aristotelian philosophy turned out to be very difficult. After Alexander's death, "grateful" Athenians remembered who was the educator of the tsar, who deprived Athena of political independence. Aristotle was forced to leave the city, he moved to Asia Minor, where he soon died. His works in Europe were forgotten for more than a thousand years, but Aristotelianism took root in the Arab world. The well-known Arab philosophers Ibn Sina, Al-Farabi and others have apprehended and developed the ideas of Aristotle. Europeans again opened it for themselves only in the era of the crusades.

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