A Brief History of Philosophy from Ancient Greeks to Present Day
“What do you think of when I say “the spirituality of philosophy?” Some people think of the soaring spirit of Socrates, who saw past human suffering into the grandeur of God. Some people think of the soaring spirit of Socrates, who saw past human suffering into the grandeur of God. Some people imagine Plato’s great Symposium, with its Ladder of Love reaching from the pain of life to perfect union with God. Others contemplate St. Augustine, following Plato into the dazzling Light of God, clarified by Christ, the light of the world. Still others consider St. Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, building upon Aristotle’s Pure Act to show that the act of creation is Love, Who yearns to unite us to Himself in everlasting ecstasy. At the other extreme, some think of Hume ridiculing spirituality, or of Voltaire attacking it at every turn.
All these thoughts are accurate. Some philosophical thinkers harm us by attacking spirituality. But others heal us by feeding our hunger for spirituality. So we find a spectrum from harmful to healing philosophers. But the best philosophers are the ones who heal.”
The foregoing introduction is taken from the “The Spirituality of Philosophy” class notes prepared by Brother Brian Dybowski for students of the Santa Fe Institute for Spirituality, summarizing the history of philosophy from the early Greeks to the contemporary “Lublin Synthesis” that originated in war-torn Twentieth Century Poland. The full text follows the outline below and formed the basis for a series of talks and discussions, part of the SFIS Summer Program of 2005. In some cases the sessions were recorded in 15 minute segments; links to these videos are indicated in blue.
Page 1 Overview 3 Ancient Greeks - Socrates and the Sophists 4 Pre-Socratic Philosophers 5 Sophists - Pre-Socratic Philosophers - Sophists' Pseudo Philosophy; Moral Implications of Sophist Teaching; 5 Socrates 470-399 BC - Plato Writes About Socrates; Socrates Condemned to Death 8 Plato 427-347 BC 12 Aristotle 384-322 BC - Aristotle's Solution to Plato's Problem; Aristotle's Synthesis of Philosophy 14 Judeo-Christian roots 2000 BC – 60 AD - Judeo Christian Roots; Arriving at Wisdom 16 Marcus Aurelius 121-180 AD 17 Justin Martyr 110-165 AD 19 Plotinus circa 204-270 AD - Justin Martyr; Plotinus' Neo-Platonic Thinking; Fullness of Spirit; Giving Enables Receiving 21 St. Augustine 353-430 AD - Saint Augustine of Hippo -- Tying Plato to Judeo Christian Philosophy 24 Saint Thomas Aquinas 1225-1274 AD 29 Attacks on the Thomistic Synthesis 29 Reaction against Ideology: Soren Kierkegaard 1813-1855 AD 30 Nicholas Berdyaev 1874-1948 AD 31 Max Scheler 1874-1928 AD - Kierkegaard through Scheler; The Love of God: Giving and Service 34 Gabriel Marcel 1889-1973 AD - Giving is Natural; Accepting the Gift 35 Martin Heidegger 1889-1980 AD 37 Lublin Synthesis 1940 - present For more on Aquinas, Kierkegaard, Marcel, Husserl, Scheler, Heidegger, and the Lublin Synthesizers, including Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II), please see the next Web page called The Spirituality of Philosophy II.