Hypatia mainly challenged the common androcentric ideas of men at the time revolving mainly around how women were inadequate in comparison to men in areas of math and science. She also challenged the religious norms of her time, Christianity, as her philosophy mostly fit within Neoplatonism, otherwise known as “paganism” to many at the time. As an individual, Hypatia may have been the most influential mathematician of her time, as she advanced many of the works of her father, Theon, another influential mathematician of the era. She is known to have worked with, “…commentaries on Apollonius of Perga’s Conics… and Diophantus of Alexandria’s Arithmetic… as well as an astronomical table…” possibly tied to that of her father, although, many of her other works have been lost in time. Her main and most contradictory work had to do with her dedication to Neoplatonism. Neoplatonism refers to “the last school of Greek philosophy.” and the belief in “the One.” Generally, Hypatia’s scholarly teachings were well respected in the world of math and astronomy, however, due to her religious association and the high conflict time period, many of her works were undermined by the public and viewed as Paganism. This later is what led to her brutal murder by a group of angered Christian zealots. Granted, this death has helped shape her into being a major feminist icon who stood up to prejudice. In a similar fashion, the enlightened man from the Allegory of the Cave was mocked and laughed at for his new and vast knowledge. Hypatia was hated and even murdered for what she believed just like the man from the Cave. Granted, many, mainly Christians, would argue that Hypatia’s uncommon religious beliefs give good cause for the actions taken against her, I generally support Hypatia in her beliefs. As a person of faith myself, I do not necessarily condone all of the specific beliefs Hypatia stood for, yet I do stand for the freedom of religion and spirituality among all, therefore I support Hypatia in her beliefs and works under those set beliefs.
Aquilecchia, Giovanni. “Giordano Bruno.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 14 Feb. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Giordano-Bruno.
Giordano Bruno was an Italian philosopher of the 1500’s who’s main stances challenged those of religious authority. He supported and presented philosophical and scientific theories which were based on “ethical ideas” rather than “ascetical ethics” of religion, therefore, he opposed many of the common beliefs in science of his time, which were based upon religious standards, like that of Creation, which determined the universe and solar system was “geocentric,” rather than “heliocentric.” Overall, Bruno could be described as a major humanist thinker and figure. Bruno often viewed religion critically, claiming it was simply a method of controlling people. He at one point discussed that the Bible should be loosely followed for its astronomical relations, and rather be used more as a guide for morals. He also criticised the Calvinistic view that one can attain salvation through faith alone and many other standard Christian principles. At one point, Bruno even publicly called out fellow thinkers in his works, like Aristotle and Fabrizio Mordente. Later Bruno would define his religious standing as the belief that all religions should coexist in peace with one another. During his lifetime he also developed a theory on the basic structure of all living things and furthered the idea of the atom as well as other astronomical theories, like the “heliocentric” universe and solar system. In general, the public did not accept Bruno’s teachings or ideas. His principles were commonly seen as heresy and unacceptable in the eye of Christianity. This forced him out of Paris and later led to his excommunication by the Lutheran Church. He later attempted to return to Venice to gain an educational platform, but was tried as a heretic and later sentenced to death by burning. This disapproval of different and new knowledge is similar to that of those in the Allegory of the Cave. In the Allegory, the one ‘enlightened’ man was mocked and ridiculed for his presentation of new and unheard of knowledge, much like how Bruno was criticised for his works and theories. Although Bruno was highly critical of religion and had many comments ridiculing the practices of Christianity, his philosophical and astronomical theories shaped much of what we know as fact today. Therefore, I support Bruno’s educational positions very much and his belief that all religions should exist in harmony.
Ghandi challenged the imperialist control Britain held over India and South Africa. He opposed the discrimination being held against people of India from Europeans, despite being technically part of Europe. He overall opposed the negligence of Britain to address any issues within its colony, India, and its persistent efforts to violate the rights of Indians. Ghandi presented nonviolent petitions and protests against the deprivation of Indian rights all throughout his life. His work mainly revolved around maintaining and creating civil rights for all including Indians and South Africans. Towards the end of his life he mainly demanded the withdrawal of Britain from India. He was easily one of the most influential peacemakers of all time, as he continuously faced opposition in his efforts. He was prosecuted many times for his efforts. At many times Ghandi was found in prison for nonviolent protests and for resisting discrimination. For simply being an Indian Ghandi faced opposition. At times he was rejected from public transportation and basic public establishments just for being Indian. Finally, Ghandi was shot dead by a Hindu fanatic while traveling. This criticism Ghandi received for his actions and beliefs is very similar to the criticism the man from the Allegory of the Cave received from his fellow cave dwellers. In addition, the negligence of the cave dwellers to see or belief anything beyond their point of view is similar to the negligence of the British to accept the issues facing Indians. Although Ghandi did resist law in many occasions and supported a Hinduistic religious outlook, his resistance was justified in the sense that civil rights were being deprived of Indians by the laws he bypassed. Therefore, since all people, no matter race or ethnicity should receive civil rights, I support Ghandi’s actions and positions toward the British.
Anna Politkovskaya was a Russian journalist who stood up against the harsh rule of Putin. She challenged the authority of his actions through her works and reports. Overall, her positions focused around basic human rights and the infringement of such. She fought against the violation of human rights as attempted by Putin’s government through journalism and didn’t refrain from harsh truths. In fact she often ignored sympathetic positions all together and purely presented the cold truth of the matters. Specifically, Politkovskaya discussed the horrible nature of the Russian troops in their actions during the Chechen war of succession. Because of her unapologetic principles and her public denouncing of the Russian government, she was rather frowned upon by the government and those who stood for Putin. Ultimately, many would say, this led to her death, as she was found shot dead in her apartment elevator. Therefore, like those of the man in the Allegory of the Cave, Politkovskaya’s positions were treated as false and radical, especially by the Russian government. The government, like those in the Cave, refused to look past what they had always been forced to understand and comprehend, therefore, Politkovskaya was ridiculed and ultimately killed. In general, people, other than those of the Russian government, supported Politkovskaya’s stances for human rights, as she was honest in her reporting and brought to like the many issues of Putin’s government. Therefore, I also support her work, as everyone deserves basic human rights, and no laws should infringe upon such rights.
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