Philosophy Quiz on Chapter Two


The first philosophers, most of whom flourished before Socrates (fifth century BCE).


Heraclitus' central idea- the principle, formula, or law of the world order.


The view that through unaided reason we can come to know what the world is like.


The view that our knowledge of the empirical world comes solely from sense experience.

Ancient atomism

The theory that reality consists of an infinite number of minute, indivisible bits called atoms moving randomly in an infinite void, or empty space.


Itinerant professors who, for a fee, would teach a range of subjects that could be of practical or intellectual benefit.


The art of verbal persuasion.


The doctrine that the truth about something depends on what persons or cultures believe.

Subjective relativism

The notion that truth depends on what a person believes.

Cultural relativism

The idea that truth depends on what a culture believes.

Through what means did the ancient Greeks, beginning with the pre-Socratics, find the truth?

Through reason and experience

What was Thales' greatest contribution to both philosophy and science?

His method. He set out to look for natural- not mythic- explanations for natural phenomena, and he insisted that such accounts be as simple as possible.

Thales has been interpreted as holding that _________________ is the source of all that exists and in some way is what everything consists of.


Anaximander contended that everything came from a formless, imperishable substance called ____________ (the boundless or indefinite). It is the beginning of all that now exists, but it has no beginning itself.


Heraclitus' central idea is the _________-the principle, formula, or law of the world order. To understand the ___________ is to understand reality, to grasp the divine, eternal pattern underlying all of nature and all of humankind.


For Heraclitus, everything flows; every part of the universe is in _______. But behind the changing appearances, there is an unchanging pattern- the logos.


Heraclitus thinks of the __________ as eternal- it had no beginning and has always existed. It is also a rational force. The __________, he says, "steers all things," for it is a divine "thought" operating according to its own logic.

cosmos; logos

Parmenides' fame rests mostly on his systematic employment of __________ argument. He seems to have been the first thinker outside the field of mathematics to reason deductively and consistently from basic premises to interesting conclusions.


Parmenides also made two distinctions that became of prime importance in philosophy: ____________ and ________________.

1) reason and the senses 2) appearance and reality

Parmenides says reality consists of the _________, which is eternal, uniform, solid, perfect, and uncreated.


Democritus put forth the theory known as _________ ____________- the view that reality consists of an infinite number of minute, indivisible bits called atoms moving rapidly in an infinite void, or empty space.

ancient atomism

Contrary to Parmenides, Democritus posited the ______- space that does not contain objects or things but is nevertheless not the same as nothing.


In Democritus' view, the world is _____________. Things happen in a particular way because the blind machinery of nature makes them happen that way. There is no need to invoke deities or other ancients of purpose or design to explain the state of the universe.


Democritus and modern physics both refer to things called _________, yet they understand the term in different ways. But Democritus' basic insight- that matter is made up of fundamental indivisible units- has yet to be refuted.


____________ were itinerant professors who, for a fee, would teach a range of subjects that could be of practical or intellectual benefit, including rhetoric, argument, law, ethics, and politics.


The Sophists were mostly ___________ like the pre-Socratics, preferring naturalistic explanations for phenomena and downplaying conventional accounts that attributed causes to the gods.


The Sophists also taught that moral beliefs and legal codes were determined neither by the gods nor nature. _________ and the law were human inventions, varying from society to society depending on local circumstances.


The leading proponent of subjective relativism was the famed Sophist ___________. He is renowned for his relativistic adage, "Man is the measure of all things, of existing things that they exist, and of nonexisting things that they do not exist." In other words, reality is what you believe it to be.


________ rejected subjective relativism. The conclusion of his argument is that if subjective relativism is true, then it's false; the doctrine undermines itself and is therefore unfounded.


Both subjective and ____________ relativism have implausible implications.


____________ of Elea was known for his paradoxes.



The distinctive form of argument in which you state the proposition to be examined and draw out its implications, revealing the proposition's weaknesses.

Aristotle called ______________ the "inventor of dialectic.