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Ancient philosophers versus modern science and technology.

Today, do we have a better understanding of the world and the human beings compared to the ancient philosophers? If yes, in what ways?

The question is multi-faceted. There are three different parts that I will examine. First of all who does "we" refer to? Secondly what is meant by our understanding of the world? And finally when discussing human beings are we talking about human nature or scientific facts about humans.

If by "we" we mean people in general then the answer is no, we don't understand more about the world and human beings than the ancient philosophers did. The ancient philosophers dedicated their lives to studying the world around them. Though it is true that some of their beliefs were wrong, the same can be said for our world today. Some tribal groups in Brazil, for example, believe that when twins are born this is a bad omen. One child is set out on an ant hill to die and be consumed by the ants, the other child is raised by its parents who are confident that they have done the right thing. The try to raise twins would bring bad consequences on the entire tribe. Each culture has its own erroneous assumptions and beliefs about life. For example the ancient philosophers by and large knew that a virtuous life or a good life was something that should be pursued. They didn't necessarily agree on all points but did agree on many of the aspects that made a life good or virtuous. Today we as a civilization don't necessarily value a virtuous life. When we look at things like the out of control glorification of violence and irresponsible sexual behavior in our society through movies, music and lifestyles of our leaders we come to understand that a virtuous life is not something we value.

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The question is multi-faceted. There are three different parts that I will examine. First of all who does "we" refer to? Secondly what is meant by our understanding of the world? And finally when discussing human beings are we talking about human nature or scientific facts about humans.

If by "we" we mean people in general then the answer is no, we don't understand more about the world and human beings than the ancient philosophers did. The ancient philosophers dedicated their lives to studying the world around them. Though it is true that some of their beliefs were wrong, the same can be said for our world today. Some tribal groups in Brazil, for example, believe that when twins are born this is a bad omen. One child is set out on an ant hill to die and be consumed by the ants, the other child is raised by its parents who are confident that they have done the right thing. The try to raise twins would bring bad consequences on the entire tribe. Each culture has its own erroneous assumptions and beliefs about life. For example the ancient philosophers by and large knew that a virtuous life or a good life was something that should be pursued. They didn't necessarily agree on all points but did agree on many of the aspects that made a life good or virtuous. Today we as a civilization don't necessarily value a virtuous life. When we look at things like the out of control glorification of violence and irresponsible sexual behavior in our society through movies, music and lifestyles of our leaders we come to ...

Solution Summary

This discussion compares the understanding of the world enjoyed by ancient philosophers versus our understanding today. Did they understand the world better than we do? Do advancements in science and technology afford us a better glimpse into the truth of the universe? These questions are answered in the solution.

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