In the test of time, most philosophies are forgotten and replaced by newer, more modern ones. However, some of the oldest philosophies are still in effect today and are used in everyday living. The ancient Greeks, in particular, created the basic meaning of philosophy and used it to govern their lives. The philosophy of the ancient Greeks has survived the test of time and continues to affect the lives of everyday people with its rules of living, explanations of life, and guidelines of how a person should act. .
The basic definition of the word philosophy is, as an intellectual discipline, the study of ethics, metaphysics, physics, the science of knowledge, logic, and politics (Hallsall). A philosopher was an individual who made original contributions, not an individual who knew and discussed the works of philosophers. A goal of many philosophers in the ancient world was to tie ethics, metaphysics, physics, the science of knowledge, logic, and politics together so that one's theory of knowledge determined one's understanding of the universe, and .
individuals understanding of the universe affected how one acted (Hallsall). In the modern era, for the most part, philosophers tend to concentrate on one or two aspects of the subject (Hallsall).
The first element of philosophy is ethics. Ethics is a system or code of moral values. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics insists on the necessity of earthly goods, to some degree, for the truly happy life, and even so for the philosopher. Aristotle's scientific training kept him from dictating superhuman ideals and unattainable degrees of perfection. He also considered ethics a large part of his logic (Copleston 270).
The study of metaphysics is, in short, what underlies the existence of the universe. Aristotle's view of metaphysics came from his interest in Biology (Durant 56). Aristotle's metaphysics is, to some, Plato diluted by common sense (Russell 162).