On my daily commute to school, the names of the streets in my neighborhood piqued at me. I often wondered if they belonged to freedom fighters, plants, animals or historical figures I hadn’t been taught in school. I remember making miserable attempts at pronouncing the names and laughing it off while I crossed my way to school from street to street.
Locke. Jasper. Socrates. Spinoza. Plato. Aristotle. Satire. Hume. Spencer. Descartes. Bacon.
An extensive Google search revealed that these were philosophers whose convictions contributed tremendously to the foundations of modern education. Who then were these philosophers and why is a Namibian suburb filled with their names? My findings led me to the three most influential scholars of all time. Their teachings, whether we are aware of it or not, lay the foundation for research, theology, politics, poetry, ethics, psychology and so on.
Socrates is known as the father of philosophy. While his work is groundbreaking in Western Philosophy, he did not write much about his teachings because he preferred walking about in the streets of Greece. He attracted a number of young students due to his nomadic teaching style, as a result, Plato was intrigued by Socrates’ beliefs and hence joined his academy at 17.
Socrates held the belief that no one does wrong willingly. Additionally, he asserted that humans are only truly happy when they acquire knowledge. Socrates believed that the more intelligent man became, the happier he was. He had strong convictions about community oneness which he proved by refusing to escape Athens after his arrest. The arrest was as a result of being a constant government critic. He died from poisoning at the hands of the government.
Plato was Socrates most popular student. I for one think he was the favorite because they had regular conversations and debates during their walks in Athens. Most of what we know about Socrates was delivered by Plato in his writings, since Socrates himself did not pen down his thoughts.
Plato is popular for many things, but the most striking for me is his Tripartite view of the Soul. He asserted that the soul was made up of :
This is the logical part of the soul and it loves to learn. Reason is located in the head of man.
This is the part of the soul where our anger and temper are formed. The spirit is located on the heart. Makes sense right?
This is the part of the soul where erotic love, lust, love for money, hunger and thirst are formed. Appetite is located in the abdominal region or around the naval.
In the end, reason, spirit and appetite morph into one. We control our anger (spirit) or hunger (appetite) with our thoughts (reason).
>>Fun Fact about Plato
The term Platonic Love is named after him because he was of the opinion that the feeling of love could evolve into non sexual love.
Aristotle has come to be known as one of the most influential and popular academics of Western Philosophy such that modern philosophy is composed hugely of his teachings.
He expounded the subject of rhetoric from his teacher Plato and after much research found that a speech has three levels of appeal.
1. Ethos – Appeal to Character
This is the part of a speech in which a speaker or writer uses their character to influence the audience. Charisma, humor, seriousness all form character.
2. Pathos – Appeal to Emotions
This is the part of a speech where the speaker or writer capitalizes on the audience ‘s emotions by influencing feelings such as joy, sympathy, excitement, anger.
3. Logos – Appeal to reason
This is the part of the speech where the writer supplies a handsome amount of evidence for their claims so that the audience believes in them.
After researching on this, I then came to the realization that Academia in Windhoek was named after these scholars. The University of Namibia is also situated in this Suburb to sync the university with the philosophers. Interesting right?
Yellow – Socrates Street
Pink – Plato Street
Purple – Aristotle Street
Socrates and Plato Streets intersect so show the relationship of teacher and student.
(Photo Cred : Google Maps)
Pink – Plato Street
Purple – Aristotle Street
Further from Socrates Street and into the depth of Academia, Plato and Aristotle Streets have two intersections to indicate their relationship as teacher and student.
(Photo cred : Google Maps)
Below is a picture of Plato (left) and Aristotle (right) discussing their beliefs on forms and ethics respectively.
Photo Cred: Wikipedia.
Disclaimer: all findings are not my own, but belong to Wikipedia.