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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 23, 2015 09:18AM) (new)

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This is a thread to discuss the Pre-Socratic Philosophers.



Pre-Socratic philosophy is the period of Greek philosophy up to the time of Socrates. It conventionally begins with the work of Thales (sixth century BC). Many discussions of the early period also consider the pre-philosophical background (religion, myth, epic poetry, popular ethical thought) and investigate the origins of philosophy and possible causes for its emergence in Greece at this time, as well as the question "what is philosophy?" and "Did they think of themselves as doing philosophy, and if so what kind?". The distinction between philosophy and science is an issue. All the texts are fragmentary (preserved mainly as quotations in later writers). Much of the literature is concerned with the task of reconstructing the lost views of these obscure philosophers from the fragments and using the third person testimonies of later writers. The Sophists (active around the time of Socrates) are generally included as Pre-Socratic in that their work is not influenced by Socrates.

1 History

1.1 Milesian school
a) Thales
b) Anaximander
c) Anaximenes

1.2 Pythagoreanism
a) Pythagoras
b) Alcmaeon
c) Hippasus
d) Philolaus
e) Archytas

1.3 Ephesian school
a) Heraclitus

1.4 Eleatic school
a) Xenophanes
b) Parmenides
c) Zeno
d) Melissus

1.5 Pluralist school
a) Anaxagoras
b) Archelaus
c) Empedocles

1.6 Atomist school
a) Leucippus
b) Democritus

1.7 Others
a) Pherecydes
b) Hippo
c) Diogenes

1.8 Sophism
a) Protagoras
b) Gorgias
c) Prodicus
d) Hippias

2 Other early Greek philosophers
This list includes several men, particularly the Seven Sages, who appear to have been practical politicians and sources of epigrammatic wisdom, rather than speculative thinkers or philosophers in the modern sense.

a) Seven Sages of Greece
b) Solon (c. 594 BCE)
c) Chilon of Sparta (c. 560 BCE)
d) Thales (c. 585 BCE)
e) Bias of Priene (c. 570 BCE)
f) Cleobulus of Rhodes (c. 600 BCE)
g) Pittacus of Mitylene (c. 600 BCE)
h) Periander (625–585 BCE)
i) Aristeas of Proconnesus (7th century BCE ?)
j) Pherecydes of Syros (c. 540 BCE)
k) Anacharsis (c. 590 BCE)

3 Legacy

The Pre-Socratic method of critical reasoning deployed in the examination of the natural world was applied by Socrates to an examination of the human individual and his social institutions.

Hegel deeply studied the Pre-Socratics, crediting the philosopher Parmenides with introducing the concepts of Being and Non-Being (or Nothing).

Karl Marx's doctoral thesis "The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature" evaluates the thought of the Pre-Socratic philosopher Democritus, one of the founders of Atomic theory.

Within the Marxist philosophical tradition the Pre-Socratics are recognized as the first Materialists.

Nietzsche described the Pre-Socratics as "the tyrants of the spirit",[9] and says of

Socrates that "the hitherto so wonderfully regular, although certainly too rapid,
development of the philosophical science was destroyed in one night".

Oswald Spengler's doctoral thesis "The metaphysical idea of Heraclitus' philosophy" evaluates the thought of the Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, dubbed "the obscure".

Karl Popper, one of the 20th century's most influential philosophers of science, placed great importance on the critical tradition embodied in the development of Pre-Socratic thought, the analysis of which contributed to his own epistemological theories. His well-known essay on the subject, "Back to the Pre-Socratics", can be found in the anthology of his essays Conjectures and Refutations - The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, 2nd Edition. Routledge Publishing. 2002.


Source(s): PhilPapers and Wikipeida

Conjectures and Refutations The Growth of Scientific Knowledge by Karl R. Popper by Karl R. Popper Karl R. Popper


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You should start here for example:

1 Introduction to the History of Ancient Greek Philosophy

This is the first video: - and I would recommend this first.

https://youtu.be/_Z1AaTO6eQA?list=PLS...


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From Mythos to Logos

* From Narrative Mythology
- Narrative Mythology
- Social Dogmatics

* To
- Evidence and Argumentation
- Naturalistic Explanations
- Skeptical Rational Attitude


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Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Our understanding of the Presocratics is complicated by the incomplete nature of our evidence. Most of them wrote at least one “book” (short pieces of prose writing, it seems, or, in some cases, poems of not great length), but no complete work survives. Instead, we are dependent on later philosophers, historians, and compilers of collections of ancient wisdom for disconnected quotations (fragments) and reports about their views (testimonia). In some cases, these sources had direct access to the works of the Presocratics, but in many others, the line is indirect and often depends on the work of Aristotle, Theophrastus, and other ancient philosophers who did have access. The sources for the fragments and testimonia made selective use of the material available to them, in accordance with their own special, and varied, interests in the early thinkers. (For analyses of the doxographic tradition, and the influence of Aristotle and Theophrastus on later sources, see Mansfeld 1999, Runia 2008, and Mansfeld and Runia 1997, 2009a, and 2009b.) Although any account of a Presocratic thinker has to be a reconstruction, we should not be overly pessimistic about the possibility of reaching a historically responsible understanding of these early Greek thinkers.

Calling this group “Presocratic philosophers” raises certain difficulties. The term was made current by Hermann Diels in the nineteenth century, and was meant to mark a contrast between Socrates who was interested in moral problems, and his predecessors, who were supposed to be primarily concerned with cosmological and physical speculation. “Presocratic,” if taken strictly as a chronological term, is not quite accurate, for the last of them were contemporaneous with Socrates and even Plato. Moreover, several of the early Greek thinkers explored questions about ethics and the best way to live a human life. The term may also suggest that these thinkers are somehow inferior to Socrates and Plato, of interest only as their predecessors, and its suggestion of archaism may imply that philosophy only becomes interesting when we arrive at the classical period of Plato and Aristotle. Some scholars now deliberately avoid the term, but if we take it to refer to the early Greek thinkers who were not influenced by the views of Socrates, whether his predecessors or contemporaries, there is probably no harm in using it. (For discussions of the notion of Presocratic philosophy, see Long's introduction in Long 1999, Laks 2006, and the articles in Laks and Louguet 2002.)

A second problem lies in referring to these thinkers as philosophers. That is almost certainly not how they could have described themselves. While it is true that Heraclitus says that “those who are lovers of wisdom must be inquirers into many things” (22B35), the word he uses, philosophos, does not have the special sense that it acquires in the works of Plato and Aristotle, when the philosopher is contrasted with both the ordinary person and other experts, including the sophist (particularly in Plato), or in the resulting modern sense in which we can distinguish philosophy from physics or psychology; yet the Presocratics certainly saw themselves as set apart from the ordinary person and also from other thinkers (poets and historical writers, for example) who were their predecessors and contemporaries. As the fragment from Heraclitus shows, the early Greek philosophers thought of themselves as inquirers into many things, and the range of their inquiry was vast. They had views about the nature of the world, and these views encompass what we today call physics, chemistry, geology, meteorology, astronomy, embryology, and psychology (and other areas of natural inquiry), as well as theology, metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. In the earliest of the Presocratics, the Milesians, it can indeed be difficult to discern the strictly philosophical aspects of the views in the evidence available to us. Nevertheless, despite the danger of misunderstanding and thus underestimating these thinkers on account of anachronism, there is an important sense in which it is quite reasonable to refer to them as philosophers. That sense is inherent in Aristotle's view (see, e.g., Met. I, Phys. I, De Anima I): these thinkers were his predecessors in a particular sort of inquiry, and even though Aristotle thinks that they were all, for one reason or another, unsuccessful and even amateurish, he sees in them a similarity such that he can trace a line of continuity of both subject and method from their work to his own. The questions that the early Greek philosophers asked, the sorts of answers that they gave, and the views that they had of their own inquiries were the foundation for the development of philosophy as it came to be defined in the work of Plato and Aristotle and their successors. Perhaps the fundamental characteristic is the commitment to explain the world in terms of its own inherent principles.

By contrast, consider the 7th century BCE poem of Hesiod, his Theogony (genealogy of the gods). Hesiod tells the traditional story of the Olympian gods, beginning with Chaos, a vague divine primordial entity or condition. From Chaos, a sequence of gods is generated, often by sexual congress, but sometimes no particular cause is given. Each divine figure that arises is connected with a part of the physical universe, so his theogony is also a cosmogony (an account of the generation of the world). The divinities (and the associated parts of the world) come to be and struggle violently among themselves; finally Zeus triumphs and establishes and maintains an order of power among the others who remain. Hesiod's world is one in which the major divinities are individuals who behave like super-human beings (Gaia or earth, Ouranos or sky, Cronos — an unlocated regal power, Zeus); some of the others are personified characteristics (e.g., Momus, blame; and Dusnomia, lawlessness). For the Greeks, the fundamental properties of divinity are immortality and power, and each of Hesiod's characters has these properties (even though in the story some are defeated, and seem to be destroyed). Hesiod's story is like a vast Hollywood-style family history, with envy, rage, love, and lust all playing important parts in the coming-to-be of the world as we know it. The earliest rulers of the universe are violently overthrown by their offspring (Ouranos is overthrown by Cronos, Cronos by Zeus). Zeus insures his continued power by swallowing his first consort Metis (counsel or wisdom); by this he prevents the predicted birth of rivals and acquires her attribute of wisdom (Theogony 886–900). In a second poem, Works and Days, Hesiod pays more attention to human beings, telling the story of earlier, greater creatures who died out or were destroyed by themselves or Zeus. Humans were created by Zeus, are under his power, and are subject to his judgment and to divine intervention for either good or ill. (A good discussion of the Hesiodic myths in relation to Presocratic philosophy can be found in McKirahan 2011. Burkert 2008 surveys influence from the east on the development of Presocratic philosophy, especially the myths, astronomy, and cosmogony of the Babylonians, Persians, and Egyptians.)

Hesiod's world, like Homer's, is one that is god-saturated, where the gods may intervene in all aspects of the world, from the weather to mundane particulars of human life, reaching into the ordinary world order from outside, in a way that humans must accept but cannot ultimately understand. The Presocratics reject this account, instead seeing the world as a kosmos, an ordered natural arrangement that is inherently intelligible and not subject to supra-natural intervention. A striking example is Xenophanes 21B32: “And she whom they call Iris, this too is by nature cloud / purple, red, and greeny yellow to behold.” Iris, the rainbow, traditional messenger of the gods, is after all, not supra-natural, not a sign from the gods on Olympus who are outside of and immune from the usual world order; rather it is, in its essence, colored cloud.

Calling the Presocratics philosophers also suggests that they share a certain outlook with one another; an outlook that can be contrasted with that of other early Greek writers. Although scholars disagree about the extent of the divergence between the early Greek philosophers and their non-philosophical predecessors and contemporaries, it seems evident that Presocratic thought exhibits a significant difference not only in its understanding of the nature of the world, but also in its view of the sort of explanation of it that is possible. This is evident in Heraclitus. Although Heraclitus asserts that those who love wisdom must be inquirers into many things, inquiry alone is not sufficient. At 22B40 he rebukes four of his predecessors: “Much learning does not teach understanding; else it would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, and again Xenophanes and Hecataeus.” Heraclitus' implicit contrast is with himself; in 22B1 he suggests that he alone truly understands all things, because he grasps the account that enables him to “distinguish each thing in accordance with its nature” and say how it is. For Heraclitus there is an underlying principle that unites and explains everything. It is this that others have failed to see and understand. According to Heraclitus, the four have amassed a great deal of information — Hesiod was a traditional source of information about the gods, Pythagoras was renowned for his learning and especially views about how one ought to live, Xenophanes taught about the proper view of the gods and the natural world, Hecataeus was an early historian — but because they have failed to grasp the deeper significance of the facts available to them, their unconnected bits of knowledge do not constitute understanding. Just as the world is an ordered arrangement, so human knowledge of that world must be ordered in a certain way.

Source: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pre...


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A History of Greek Philosophy 2. The Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus

A History of Greek Philosophy 2 The Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus by W.K.C. Guthrie by W.K.C. Guthrie W.K.C. Guthrie

Synopsis:

All volumes of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek philosophy have won their due acclaim. The most striking merits of Guthrie's work are his mastery of a tremendous range of ancient literature and modern scholarship, his fairness and balance of judgement and the lucidity and precision of his English prose. He has achieved clarity and comprehensiveness.


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Mythos refers to mythology.

Logos to Logic

Mythos refers to a story

Logos refers to a dialogue; Dialogue is what Plato will call the dialetics.

Dialectic or dialectics (Greek: διαλεκτική, dialektikḗ), also known as the dialectical method, is a discourse between two or more people holding different points of view about a subject but wishing to establish the truth through reasoned arguments.

Plato Plato


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Heraclitus says "listen to my report" - "listen to what I am arguing" - "listen to the argumentation" - "don't just listen to me".

The early Greek philosophers are moving away from accepting things just because they are the religious or social norms towards the idea that we should rationally evaluate things. We should demand that our understanding is logical and can be explained.

Homeric Problems by Heraclitus by Heraclitus Heraclitus


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There is a Presocratic Pagination that you might come across:

Diels Krantz numbers (DK)
(Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 1908)

Platonic Dialogues
Stephanus Numbers (1578)

Aristotlean Treatises
Becker Numbers (1831)


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Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy: from Thales to Aristotle

Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy from Thales to Aristotle by S. Marc Cohen by S. Marc Cohen (no photo)

Synopsis:

Soon after its publication, Readings in Ancient Greek Philosophy was hailed as the favorite to become the 'standard' text for survey courses in ancient philosophy. Nothing on the market touches it for comprehensiveness, accuracy, and readability.* (*APA Newsletter on Teaching Philosophy). Fifteen years on, that prediction has been borne out, and the volume's preeminence as the leading anthology for the teaching of ancient philosophy still stands.

The Fourth Edition features a completely revamped and expanded unit on the Presocratics and Sophists that draws on the wealth of new scholarship published on these fascinating thinkers over the past decade or more. At the core of this unit, as ever, are the fragments themselves--but now in thoroughly revised and, in some cases, new translations by Richard McKirahan and Patricia Curd, among them those of the recently published Derveni Papyrus.


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Most folks are familiar with the Greek Philosophers and those from Athens.

But many of the Pre Socratics were actually from the Ionian area in Turkey or on the coast of what is today Eastern Turkey.

Pre-Socratic philosophy is Greek ancient philosophy before Socrates (and includes schools contemporary to Socrates that were not influenced by him.

In Classical antiquity, the Presocratic philosophers were called physiologoi (Greek: φυσιόλογοι; in English, physical or natural philosophers).

Aristotle called them physikoi ("physicists", after physis, "nature") because they sought natural explanations for phenomena, as opposed to the earlier theologoi (theologians), whose philosophical basis was supernatural.[

Diogenes Laërtius divides the physiologoi into two groups, Ionian and Italiote, led by Anaximander and Pythagoras, respectively.

Hermann Diels popularized the term pre-socratic in Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (The Fragments of the Pre-Socratics) in 1903.

However, the term pre-Sokratic was in use as early as George Grote's Plato and the Other Companions of Sokrates in 1865. Edouard Zeller was also important in dividing thought before and after Socrates.[5]

Major analyses of pre-Socratic thought have been made by Gregory Vlastos, Jonathan Barnes, and Friedrich Nietzsche in his Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks.

It may sometimes be difficult to determine the actual line of argument some Presocratics used in supporting their particular views. While most of them produced significant texts, none of the texts has survived in complete form. All that is available are quotations by later philosophers (often biased) and historians, and the occasional textual fragment.

The Presocratic philosophers rejected traditional mythological explanations of the phenomena they saw around them in favor of more rational explanations. These philosophers asked questions about "the essence of things":

From where does everything come?
From what is everything created?
How do we explain the plurality of things found in nature?
How might we describe nature mathematically?
Others concentrated on defining problems and paradoxes that became the basis for later mathematical, scientific and philosophic study.

Later philosophers rejected many of the answers the early Greek philosophers provided, but continued to place importance on their questions. Furthermore, the cosmologies proposed by them have been updated by later developments in science.


Source: Wikipedia




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Thales of Miletus




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Timeline of Ancient Philosophers



Help

Marks point out approximately different periods in philosophy. Note the division is not strict, some Roman philosophers may be considered followers of hellenism, depending on the font, for example.

(-600, -450): Pre-Socratic philosophy.
(-450,-300): Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, ...
(-300,-100): Hellenistic philosophy.
(-100,450): Roman philosophy.

Ionic school has not been represented (not really a school), nor cirenaic, megaric and peripatetic.

In some cases, there are not exact birth and death dates, and there have been representat merely orientative boxes. Bear in mind that there could be important divergencies, depending on the font.

Source: Wikipedia

Note: For the Pre-Socratics we are going from about 600 BC to 450BC


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Thales begins Philosophy

Beginning Date: 585BCE = Thales of Meletus predicts the eclipse of the sun

Why should philosophy begin in the distant Greek colony of Meletus?

Greek philosophy began in the colonies probably because the colonies were developing a civilization for their colony from nothing - but they had a whole bunch of cosmopolitan influences - additionally they also would be forced to develop a degree of self sufficiency and a higher degree of autonomy - because you have to develop your own stuff and grow your own crops etc. in order to survive.

The colonies had people who had to think for themselves because they had to solve many more of their own problems. On the video - the presenter likened this self sufficiency that the United States had to have when it started as a group of colonies.

For Aristotle - He thought that Philosophy begins in leisure - you need time to think. You need to have a certain degree of security and comfort in order to do philosophy. It doesn't usually happen during wars - because then people have to just think about living and survival.

It probably began in Meletus and these colonies because of the Babylonian and Egyptian influence. The Egyptian influence was probably stronger than the Babylonian influence because the Egyptians invented geometry. It means geo - earth and metry - measure or the measurement of the earth. Pythagorus was certainly influenced by the Egyptians.

a) Babylonian and Egyptian influence

b) Mathematical Development - Geometry?


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What were the first questions in philosophy?

Here is a quotation from Aristotle's Metaphysics 983b18:

"They do not all agree about how many or what kinds of such principles there are, but Thales, the founder of philosophy stated it to be water."

Metaphysics by Aristotle by Aristotle Aristotle

** A problem about the principles of nature. All things are changing in nature. When you eat something - that something actually changes and becomes part of you. How is it possible for all of these things to change into other things. If you are eating a peach, how is it possible for this peach - somehow when you eat it - for it to become part of you. Even though there are different things - there must be one central thing which is the same - the Pre-Socratics want to understand the rules of nature (the principles). They wanted to know what exactly is the world made of? Who am I in this world? Who am I in this cosmos? What are the principles at the heart of the cosmos? They are no longer mythological or religious explanations.


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Contrast Mythos - the pre socratics which derived its cosmos questions from the mythology which came before - moved from mythology to logic. You can see below that Hesiod is asking the muses (the Greek gods) - a religiously inspired authority - which the pre socratics will move away from. Here Hesiod is asking the gods to give him an idea on how the world was created. What you see with the pre socratics is a bold leap in a critical attitude.

Hesiod was one of the primary authors with Homer of Greek mythology.

Here is a quote:

"Tell me these things, Muses, who dwell on Olympus, From the beginning and tell me, which of them was born first". - Hesiod - Theogony - 114

Theogony (Classical Library) by Hesiod by Hesiod Hesiod

The Pre socratics make a bold leap:

Thales - Water
Anaximander - Boundless
Anaximenes - Air
Xenophanes - Rejects Divine Authority
Parmenides - Rational Argumentation

Thales thought that the principles surrounding the cosmos was based in water. It is not just important that he states that the principle is water but he is able to give arguments for it. The pre socratics are leaping past that we should believe things only because they are religious or the beliefs of the gods or that there is a religious authority. Rather they felt we should believe things out of arguments and reason. But most important, we do not need a muse, because all of us have the capacity to understand arguments and understand reason and logic.


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What the Pre Socratics Wrote On:

*Physics
*Ethics
*Astronomy
*Epistemology
*the divine
*Mathematics
*Metaphysics
*Meteorology
*Geometry
*Politics
*Perception
*History

- How to Live in the Cosmos - all pre socratics united on these questions
- The Pre-Socratics had to invent the language of Philosophy
- They seem to dance around an issue - rather than saying it directly.
- They are trying to say something for the first time.

Source for the above: You tube - https://youtu.be/_Z1AaTO6eQA


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The Sophists

"Man is the measure of all things." - Protagoras

- The Sophists were traveling teachers.
- They were not philosophers per se.
- Protagoras would argue that "knowledge is actually the invention of the human mind". That would get some of the other philosophers crazy. Man is the measure of all things. Socrates, Aristotle and Plato were especially bothered by the Sophists. Socrates and others said that if Man is the measure of all things then maybe we could never understand the cosmos. It seems to smack at the lack of objectivity. Can we really be certain that we are doing the right thing in ethics? There are concerns raised about the nature of truth itself. But the arguments of the sophists are quite powerful.

Protagoras Protagoras


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*No complete pre-socratics writings
*Fragments exist which include quotes and citations by later philosophers

Key Source Authors for the Pre-Socratics

*Plato and The Placita (Opinions)
Plato Plato

*Aristotle
Aristotle Aristotle

*Theophrastus
Theophrastus Theophrastus

*Eudemus

*Meno

*Cicero
Cicero (no photo)

*Celement of Alexandria

*Sextus Empiricus
Sextus Empiricus Sextus Empiricus

*Plutarch
Plutarch Plutarch

*Aetius - Lost Works of Selections in Natural Philosophy

*Hipploytus

*Diogenes Aertius

*Simplicius
Simplicius (no photo)

*Alexander of Aphordisias

*John Philoponus
John Philoponus (no photo)


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The problem that we have is that the pre-socratic works were probably burned so when a later philosopher cites them to prove that they are wrong - then the quotes do not represent the full philosophical ideas of the pre-socratic being quoted. That original philosopher would not have presented his ideas that way.

What we have of the pre-socratic works are spotty at best.

Pre-Socratic studies is a growing field in philosophy today.

The big name people listed above are probably the ones who are actually quoting the pre-socratics.

Theophrastus took over Aristotle's school when he died.

Eudemus was at the same school.

Sextus Empiricus was actually a doctor from the Roman world.

Epistemology refers to a system of knowledge.

Metaphysics refers to one's theory of reality.

Ethics - the question of how one ought to live.


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The Early Pre-Socratic Philosophers

https://youtu.be/khRT9mzpC3s?list=PLS...

This is the next video you should watch on the pre-socratics.

Source: Youtube


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 22, 2015 11:08PM) (new)

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The Early Pre-Socratics - Milesians, Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus

Meletus - coast on present day Turkey

Three different tiers - on peninsula
The Milesian School

Source:

Plato (Theasetetus)

Aristotle (Metaphysics, Politics)

Appollodorus

Thales b. 625 BCE

“acme” - 45 years

Eclipse - 585 BCE

Three major members of the Milesian School - (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes)

Probably Aristotle did not know much about them either

The Stories of Thales

In Ancient Times, philosophers had a mixed reputation for practicality
Thales and the Well

Philosophers can achieve wealth but do not desire it
Thales and the Olive Presses

Thales is reported to have predicted the eclipse of 585 BCE.

Thales interest in eclipses and astronomy probably began with geometry.,

Thales describes the cosmos as water.
This could mean, according to Aristotle:
everything comes from water as the originating source or ==== A Material Explanation

everything really is water in
one form or another - The Earth Floats on Water ================= A Metaphysical Explanation

Thales on the Soul - dedicated to rationalistic explanation

- soul - it is what produces motion

- a magnetic lodestone causes iron to move, therefore it has soul

- Anything that moves must have a soul

Source: Youtube video cited in message 22

Thales Thales


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Before Galileo: The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe

Before Galileo The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe by Ray Kurzweil by John Freely John Freely

Synopsis:

Histories of modern science often begin with the heroic battle between Galileo and the Catholic Church, which sparked the Scientific Revolution and led to the world-changing discoveries of Isaac Newton. In reality, more than a millennium before the Renaissance, a succession of scholars paved the way for the discoveries for which Galileo and Newton are credited. In Before Galileo, John Freely investigates the first European scientists, many of them monks, whose influence ranged far beyond the walls of their monasteries. He shows how science and religion existed together, and places the great discoveries of the age in their rightful context.


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On Truth and First Causes

Discussions on truth originate with Thales. There are certain expectations that some explanations are true and that some are false.
What are the causes or the principles for the things that are changing? It is important to note that not all causes involve change.
To talks about principles is to talk about the guiding rule or the elemental structure that allows things to be.

“…our predecessors who considered the things that are and philosophized about truth., for it is clear that
they too speak of certain principles and causes.” (Aristotle, 983a26)

“Of those who pursued philosophy the majority believed that the only principle of all things are principles in the form of matter. (Materialistic explanation)
For that of which all existing things are composed and that from which they originally come to be and that into which they finally
perish - the substance persisting but changing its attributes - this they state is the element and principe of things that are..

However, they do not all agree about how many of what kinds of such principles there are, but Thales, the founder of this kind
of philosophy, stated it to be water..

He may have gotten this idea seeing that the nourishment of all things is moist..” (Aristotle, 938b6)

Reality has a material cause

The Greeks postulated the four elements of water, earth, air, fire.

So we see these guys at the beginning of science - the very earliest beginnings.

Thales: “Some say that the soul is mixed in with the whole universe and perhaps this is why Thales supposed that all things
are full of gods.


That is a famous attribute of Thales = that all things are full of the gods.

The Milesian school is looking for the material cause of things.

Notice also that all things are in motion too.

Thales argued that everything was sitting on water - floating.

The soul is the principle of motion.

All things are full of the gods.

Thales Thales

Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet by John Burnet (no photo)


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Anaximander

*age 64 in 547/7 BCE - Diogenes Laertius argued.

Supposedly the first man to construct a map of the world (surely it was incorrect)
Predicted an Earthquake (that is the story)
Set up a gnomon at Sparta (sun dial)
The student of Thales
He represents a leap forward in terms of Thale’s thinking - he agrees with Thales that there has to be one unifying principle to explain how all of these things are changing
and how we can understand the one and the many.
But he calls it the APERION.

APEIRON

= the indefinite and boundless, later the infinite

The Boundless

What is the Boundless?

First off:

*The indefinite stuff is
-moving
-directive of other things
-eternal
-thus, divine

The problem with Thales water explanation is that things do not all look like water.

Anaximander Anaximander


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Anaximander

*age 64 in 547/7 BCE - Diogenes Laertius argued.

Supposedly the first man to construct a map of the world (surely it was incorrect)
Predicted an Earthquake (that is the story)
Set up a gnomon at Sparta (sun dial)
The student of Thales
He represents a leap forward in terms of Thale’s thinking - he agrees with Thales that there has to be one unifying principle to explain how all of these things are changing
and how we can understand the one and the many.
But he calls it the APERION.

APEIRON

= the indefinite and boundless, later the infinite

The Boundless

What is the Boundless?

First off:

*The indefinite stuff is
-moving
-directive of other things
-eternal
-thus, divine

The problem with Thales water explanation is that things do not all look like water.

(no image) Fragments by Anaximander Anaximander (no photo)


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InPho
The Indiana Philosophy Ontology Project


The Pre-Socratics

https://inpho.cogs.indiana.edu/idea/798


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Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

http://www.iep.utm.edu/greekphi/


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Metaphysics (Aristotle discusses the Pre-Socratics)

Metaphysics by Aristotle by Aristotle Aristotle

Synopsis:

Metaphysics (Greek: τὰ μετὰ τὰ φυσικά) is one of the principal works of Aristotle & the first major work of the branch of philosophy with the same name. The principal subject is "being qua being", or being understood as being. It examines what can be asserted about anything that exists just because of its existence & not because of any special qualities it has. Also covered are different kinds of causation, form & matter, the existence of mathematical objects, & a prime-mover God.


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Pre-Socratic Philosophy

http://www.philosophy.gr/presocratics...


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