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The term “western thought” refers to the intellectual tradition that traces its lineage back to the Ancient Greeks. Beginning with the legendary and ground breaking development of philosophy introduced by Socrates, western thought was refined by Plato and Aristotle, passed on to the Romans, and survived through two millennia of European history into the Americas.
The Core of Western Thought
Western thought has, as its foundation, three core ideas. They are:
- The rule of law
- Deductive reasoning
Although many argue that Plato expressed monotheistic ideas, the hegemonic triumph of Christianity under Constantine in the Fourth Century destroyed most global instances of polytheism and is a constant strain in ideas and writings since.
The rule of law can also be traced to Aristotle, who posited that law should govern. The Romans had a highly legalistic code. In the Middle Ages, the Magna Charta was one of the earliest documents to create the foundations of constitutional governance.
Western Thought and Socrates
Deductive reasoning is the use of logic as the foundation for philosophy. Socrates is famous for being one of the earliest proponents of beginning with general premises in order to reach a conclusion.
Western thought has been highly culturally dominant in the globe for centuries and continues to come into conflict with the Islamic world, among others, as being decadent and materialistic.