Sunday, September 29, 2019

On the Origin of Political Philosophy

Politics is as old as humanity itself. Humans have never existed in a state of nature; since the time they evolved (between 300,000 to 200,000 years ago), they have lived in tribes or societies. Some kind of political action would have been necessary to enable the early humans to cooperate with each other for improving their chances for survival.

Political philosophy is different from politics—it came into being tens of thousands of years after the arrival of the first humans. It was discovered in the middle of fourth century BCE by Socrates in Athens. Philosophy predates Socrates by several centuries, but in the Western philosophical tradition, he is often seen as the first political philosopher.

Socrates has had such a massive impact that the philosophy before his time is known as presocratic. The presocratic philosophers made inquiries into the workings of the natural world, and on issues related to ethics, religion, possibility of knowledge, and the nature of societies. Socratic philosophy, in contrast to presocratic philosophy, is primarily political.

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