Examples of Thesis

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Examples of Thesis

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Examples of Thesis Excerpts

Many complexities of existence were recognized long ago. But existence is so complex that the human mind, which is less complex than the existence it seeks to understand, has to abstract from its experiences comparatively simple ideas that it then uses to symbolize general traits of existence. Some persons in some circumstances discover general traits that seem of primary importance for such understandings, whereas others select different traits as primary.

Western civilization has two major taproots, which may be called Greek and Hebraic. The contributions of Greek thinkers have been so significant that some historians claim that Western civilization began in Greece. (Greek civilization, of course, had its own antecedents.) Prominent Greek philosophers idealized law and order, including natural laws, laws of reasoning, and political laws. We recognize their important contributions to the origins of mathematics, logic, philosophy of science, metaphysics, axiology, aesthetics, ethics, and political philosophy.

Greek philosophers recognized some ways in which existence is complex. Among the problems they studied are "the one and the many," permanence and change, universals and particulars, genus and species, form and matter, perfect and imperfect, temporal and eternal, essence and accident, actual and potential, caused causes and uncaused causes, possible and necessary, good and bad, and means and ends. Greek philosophers struggled with the problem of the unity of opposites and came up with ideas of harmony and of a mean between extremes. They developed a logic with both contradictory and noncontradictory opposites. They expressed views ranging from Platonic claims about the ultimate reality of eternally perfect Forms (Ideas), including the Idea of the Good, to the claims of Heraclitus that change is so common that "one cannot even step into the same river twice" and of Epicurus, the hedonist, that intrinsic value consists in momentary, subjective, pleasant feeling. Reactions to claims seeming to be dogmatic resulted in schools proclaiming skepticism and agnosticism.

These problems and views are still with us. Two millenia of exploration of these problems have demonstrated some dangers of carrying partial explanations to reductive extremes, but time has also added new dimensions of these problems. Any philosophy adequate for our needs will have to provide satisfactory solutions to metaphysical, axiological, and ethical problems. As long as these problems are not solved in ways consistently supporting a workable, coherent, general perspective, they remain unsolved and call urgently for solution today.


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