Philosophers from the ancient Greece and Rome had great influence on transforming knowledge all over the world. Socrates and Plato are some of the philosophers who contributed immensely towards the development of mankind through their philosophies. This assignment seek to test the students understanding of the Roman and Greece academies and how they were different from the current institutions of higher learning
Explain the reason(s) why and how Plato’s academy influenced higher education in the ancient world of Greece and Rome
The Plato academy was established by a renowned philosopher Plato. During the time of its establishment, the term higher education was still not known hence they chose to use the term “academy”. The academy influenced higher education in the ancient Greece in that it was the first institution to offer education beyond the formal level (Chroust 25). The institution faced interruptions but it influenced many students of Plato who later opted to start institutions following the same philosophies of Plato academy. The academy was established to develop specific skills among the students to enable them to develop civic virtue.
The preceding education levels were carried out either in private places or at homes. People mainly learned through experiences of being community members. Plato had realized that there was the need for deliberate training to have the students develops specific and essential skills (Chroust 28). Plato believed that for one to completely understand the reality and how things work around them, they must be taken through a rigorous process.
The students would, therefore, move from the elementary education to training for some years, then moving to another field until they were competent enough to become philosopher kings (Chroust 32). Plato believed such people were the ones qualified to rule over other people. The need for rigorous training after the elementary education contributed much to the development of higher education in both Greece and Rome.
Compare the Greek and Roman academy with the contemporary concept of the modern university
One of the differences between the roman and Greek academies and the modern universities is that there was no enrollment and awarding of a degree in the Roman and Greek academies. The education in the contemporary university is aimed at fulfilling the individual needs of the student. The education system aims at fulfilling the capacities and interest of the students (Elias n.p). The education seems to focus on the individual differences among the students. The differences among the students are paramount, yet even the twins are never the same? This kind of education has led to graduates who seek to fulfill their own interest instead of that of the general society.
By ignoring and denying the human soul, the modern education is left only with the brain and body to educate. The body is exposed to competitive sports which have been added without properly planning. The brain is treated as a computer and instead of storing wisdom and goodness; it stores data for later retrieval (Elias n.p). Love does not have a room in the contemporary university. Love is considered a distraction and the teacher who loves his students would have his character scrutinized for abnormalities.
The academies in the ancient Greece and Rome were built on the belief that human soul is eternal. The educators believed that man should not strive to fulfill the needs of the body but those of the soul. Educators such as Socrates believed in the life after death and in preparing the soul for life after death. The students were taught to maintain goodness in whatever they do. They believed that the body houses the soul but the true teaching should be directed to the soul which leaves the body when a person dies.
The educators knew that the fate of the mortal man depends on the goodness of the soul; this made them focus all their efforts on promoting goodness among their students. The students were taught to maintain goodness in their thoughts and actions (Elias n.p). They were to maintain harmony and order between them and other members of the society and lead their fellow men wisely.
The students were trained to believe that the pursuit of goodness and wisdom was one single path. According to Socrates, Plato’s teacher, education was to be done through love (Elias n.p). He said that because he loves a person, his company should make that person a better man. The academies focused on the nurturing both reasoning and emotions because they are both important aspects of the human nature.
Why did the Ancient Greeks and Romans put more emphasis on rhetoric other than academic studies?
The aim of education in the ancient Greece and Rome was to produce students who would lead others in the society. Leadership requires students to learn how to use symbolic actions to inspire others to work together on matters of the society. A rhetoric study was favored more by the philosophers because it led to the acquisition of knowledge through explorations and persuasive arguments (Zwagerman 676). The students learned and developed rhetoric power which they use to understand the world around them. The students learned how to engage the society in constructive arguments which would be very useful in their later role as leaders in the society.
Rhetoric studies, unlike the academic studies, based on the need to promote the well-being of the whole society. The students were to have skills that would help them solve issues of common concern. Academic studies, on the other hand, focus on developing the brain to acquire, store and retrieve the information later in life (Zwagerman 698). The academic studies focused on reasoning and studying as opposed to the rhetoric studies which focused on technical and practical skills. This was not the best way in which the philosophers wanted their students to become.
The philosophy of the modern education is different from those of the ancient Rome and Greece. The education system has undergone numerous transformations which have been prompted by the rapid global changes. Schools have more things to teach their students to enable them to compete in the world with its ever increasing challenges. The development of the soul has been left to the religious groups while schools focus on academic development.
Chroust, Anton-Hermann. “Plato’s academy: The first organized school of political science in antiquity.” The Review of Politics 29.01 (1967): 25-40.
Elias, John L. Philosophy of Education: Classical and Contemporary. Krieger Publishing Company, PO Box 9542, Melbourne, FL 32902, 1995.
Zwagerman, Sean. “The scarlet P: Plagiarism, panopticism, and the rhetoric of academic integrity.” College Composition and Communication (2008): 676-710.