World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ancient Egyptian philosophy

Article Id: WHEBN0033898106
Reproduction Date:

Title: Ancient Egyptian philosophy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Ancient Egyptian religion, Ancient philosophy, African philosophy, Horus, Ancient Egyptian creation myths
Collection: Ancient Egyptian Culture, Ancient Philosophy
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ancient Egyptian philosophy

Ancient Egyptian philosophy has been credited by the ancient Greeks as being the beginning of philosophy. It is characterized by being flexible, pragmatic, and giving attention to emotion.[1]


  • Characteristics 1
    • Flexibility 1.1
    • Pragmatism 1.2
    • Emotion 1.3
  • References 2


Ancient Egyptian philosophy was highly concerned with proper conduct and justice. Many texts were prescriptive, telling its readers how to behave. Although Egyptian philosophy did not discuss epistemology, it did discuss how to teach justice. The political system was not written about, but some writings pessimistically considered the consequences when there is no legitimate king, and others offered advice to princes that were to become kings. Methods of persuasion, such as Greek rhetoric, were not discussed.

Overall, Egyptian philosophies were flexible, pragmatic, and attentive to emotion.


According to the Egyptologist Erik Hornung, ancient Egyptian answers to philosophical questions were flexible. Rather than offering definite answers, Egyptian philosophy was pluralistic, and several explanations for the origin of the world were considered equally true.


Ancient Egyptian philosophy was pragmatic, and considered real-life situations without abstracting to general laws. Maat, the Egyptian notion of justice, stressed solutions to these problems. Older men would pass on knowledge to their children about the situations that they would encounter in life.


While Egyptian philosophy recognized the power of emotion, it advised against giving in to transitory feelings. The ideal was the silent man, who ignored emotions and thought before acting. The opposite was the heated man, who was impulsive, and immediately submitted to his emotions.[1]


  1. ^ a b Bleiberg, Edward (2005). "Ancient Egypt 2675-332 B.C.E.: Philosophy". In Bleiberg, Edward, et al. Arts and Humanities Through the Eras. Vol. 1: Ancient Egypt 2675-332 B.C.E. Detroit: Gale. pp. 182–197. 

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.