The Greatest Greeks Did Not Set Up Schools

Now the wisdom of the Greeks was professorial and much given to disputations, a kind of wisdom most adverse to the inquisition of truth. Thus that name of Sophists, which by those who would be thought philosophers was in contempt cast back upon and so transferred to the ancient rhetoricians, Gorgias, Protagoras, Hippias, Polus, does indeed suit the entire class: Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, Epicurus, Theophrastus, and their successors Chrysippus, Carneades, and the rest. There was this difference only, that the former class was wandering and mercenary, going about from town to town, putting up their wisdom to sale, and taking a price for it, while the latter was more pompous and dignified, as composed of men who had fixed abodes, and who opened schools and taught their philosophy without reward. Still both sorts, though in other respects unequal, were professorial; both turned the matter into disputations, and set up and battled for philosophical sects and heresies; so that their doctrines were for the most part (as Dionysius not unaptly rallied Plato) "the talk of idle old men to ignorant youths." But the elder of the Greek philosophers, Empedocles, Anaxagoras, Leucippus, Democritus, Parmenides, Heraclitus, Xenophanes, Philolaus, and the rest (I omit Pythagoras as a mystic), did not, so far as we know, open schools; but more silently and severely and simply — that is, with less affectation and parade — betook themselves to the inquisition of truth. And therefore they were in my judgment more successful; only that their works were in the course of time obscured by those slighter persons who had more which suits and pleases the capacity and tastes of the vulgar; time, like a river, bringing down to us things which are light and puffed up, but letting weighty matters sink.


They were too busy doing science to produce useful knowledge than to waste time profiting on their ideas.

Folksonomies: classics greeks

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Pre-Socratic philosophy (0.528470): dbpedia | freebase
Aristotle (0.520936): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Philosophy (0.515001): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
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 The Novum Organon, or a True Guide to the Interpretation of Nature
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Bacon , Francis (2005-11-30), The Novum Organon, or a True Guide to the Interpretation of Nature, Adamant Media Corporation, Retrieved on 2011-05-17
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  • Folksonomies: todo nature naturalism observation