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Ancient Greek philosophy and the way of living today

The biggest problem that philosophy faces today is to be understood by those who wish to approach it, but cannot use its conceptual tools, so they have difficulty in understanding the theories proposed by the philosophers. And if this is the case in modern philosophy, where we are more or less familiar with the meanings it manages and analyses, when we attempt to approach ancient Greek philosophy, the task seems much more difficult, since it developed in a cultural environment completely alien to us. This, furthermore, means that we may have difficulty in recognizing and accepting its significance for modern humans.

The challenge of combining a comprehensible presentation of ancient Greek philosophy, in order to show its importance for the modern way of life, was undertaken and successfully accomplished by the program “Greek Philosophy: the art of living” of the Supplementary Distance Education Programme (E-Learning) of the Center of Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. 

This was achieved not only by a popularized presentation of the most important philosophers from Thales the Milesian to Aristotle, but also by bringing the past to the present, adjusting the teachings of the ancient philosophers to the problems one may face today, in order to offer a new perspective and, therefore, a different way of coping with them. Furthermore, the main characteristic of the program is that it does not seek to promote a particular way of looking at contemporary life, but to encourage the student to reflect and formulate his or her own proposals on the issues that concern him or her.

The programme provides us the intellectual equipment for dealing successfully with multiple situations in our everyday life. Its teachings apply even today, and they are widely used. For example, the philosophies of Aristotle and Plato are analyzed in Business Ethics, in order to teach managers how to run their organizations better.

Paradoxical as it may sound, ancient Greek philosophy can offer new perspectives on contemporary problems. And that is its value. 

Written by: Katsimitsis Michalis | E-Learning University of Athens (elearninguoa.org)

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