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(1) Plato divides philosophy into dialectic, physics, and ethics.This division is not found in Plato's own writings, and it would be impossible to fit his dialogues into the triple frame, but it corresponds to the spirit of the Platonic philosophy. C.) his disciple, and the leading representative of the Old Academy, was the first to adopt this triadic division, which was destined to go down through the ages ( Grundriss d. griechischen Philosophie , 144), and Aristotle follows it in dividing his master's philosophy.In the early stages of Greek, as of every other, civilization, the boundary line between philosophy and other departments of human knowledge was not sharply defined, and philosophy was understood to mean "every striving towards knowledge ".This sense of the word survives in Herodotus (I, xxx) and Thucydides (II, xl). In its proper acceptation, philosophy does not mean the aggregate of the human sciences, but "the general science of things in the universe by their ultimate determinations and reasons"; or again, "the intimate knowledge of the causes and reasons of things", the profound knowledge of the universal order.Face to face with nature and with himself, man reflects and endeavours to discover what the world is, and what he is himself.Having made the real the object of studies in detail, each of which constitutes science (see section VIII ), he is led to a study of the whole, to inquire into the principles or reasons of the totality of things, a study which supplies the answers to the last Why 's.The philosophical sciences are divided into theoretic, practical, and poetic, according as their scope is pure speculative knowledge, or conduct ( praxis ), or external production ( poiêsis ).
Following the inspirations of the old Academics, the Stoics divided philosophy into physics (the study of the real), logic (the study of the structure of science ) and morals (the study of moral acts).The last Why of all rests upon all that is and all that becomes: it does not apply, as in any one particular science (e.g.chemistry), to this or that process of becoming, or to this or that being (e.g.Dialectic is the science of objective reality, i.e., of the Idea ( idea eidos ), so that by Platonic dialectic we must understand metaphysics.Physics is concerned with the manifestations of the Idea, or with the Real, in the sensible universe, to which Plato attributes no real value independent of that of the Idea. Plato deals with logic, but has no system of logic ; this was a product of Aristotle's genius.
Aristotle, mightier than his master at compressing ideas, writes: tên onomazomenên sophian peri ta procirc;ta aitia kai tas archas hupolambanousi pantes -- "All men consider philosophy as concerned with first causes and principles" ( Metaph. These notions were perpetuated in the post-Aristotelean schools (Stoicism, Epicureanism, neo-Platonism ), with this difference, that the Stoics and Epicureans accentuated the moral bearing of philosophy ("Philosophia studium summae virtutis", says Seneca in "Epist.", lxxxix, 7), and the neo-Platonists its mystical bearing (see section V below).