Hypatia (born c. 350–370 CE; died 415 CE) taught mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy at the Museum of Alexandria, eventually succeeding her father as its head. Although she was an esteemed Neo-Platonist intellectual and the first notable female mathematician, it was her martyrdom that ensured her fame.
In philosophy, the term idealism identifies and describes metaphysical perspectives which assert that reality is indistinguishable and inseparable from human perception and understanding; that reality is a mental construct closely connected to ideas. Plato is one of the first philosophers to discuss what might be termed Idealism, although his Platonic Idealism is, confusingly, usually referred to as Platonic Realism. This is because, although his doctrine described Forms or universals (which are certainly non-material “ideals” in a broad sense), Plato maintained that these Forms had their own independent existence, which is not an idealist stance, but a realist one.
At the dawn of history, God was a she—or so it appears. Our paleolithic forebears, thirty or more millennia ago, conceived of Nature or the Divine as a cosmic female. They delighted in immortalizing her image on cave walls and in the form of statuettes carved out of stone, bone, ivory, or coal. Undoubtedly, they also used more perishable materials to depict the Great Mother, though these did not survive the ravages of time. The belief in the universal Female was deeply ingrained and vital. However, it underwent a significant transformation during the neolithic age. For, as human experience and conceptual capacities leaped forward, the Great Mother became increasingly personified. She was endowed with special characteristics, a personal if legendary history, and a name.
Until the eighteenth century, it was assumed that human beings are unequal by nature — i.e., that there was a natural human hierarchy. This postulate collapsed with the advent of the idea of natural right and its assumption of an equality of natural order among all human beings.
Many naturally assume that growing Western world belief in reincarnation is primarily based on a simultaneous increasing influence of Eastern religion and thought. This assumption is due, in part, that (many) Eastern religions have long known spiritual traditions that incorporate the concept of reincarnation.
The descent of the soul plays a prominent role in Plato’s work (in particular in the Phaedo and the Republic) and was also widely debated among Platonists.
The word philosophy means “love of wisdom.” Indeed, it is a love of wisdom that guides philosophers to explore the fundamental questions about who we are and why we’re here. On the surface, philosophy is a social science.
One of the questions that has faced and continues to face some of the philosophers of the world is ‘What is reality?’