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Transcript of Pre-Socratic Philosophy
THEOLOGICAL & ABSTRACT
THE ELEATIC PROBLEM OF BECOMING
If nothing existed in the beginning, nothing would be, for nothing can come into being out of nothing, for then it would be before it was.
Something cannot be in part; it either is or it is not; as such, it is either complete, or it is not.
Just as a transition into being is impossible, since the thing would be before it was, so a transition out of being is impossible, for the thing would be when it is not.
"Mortals suppose that the gods are born and have clothes and voices and shapes like their own. But if oxen, horses, and lions had hands or could paint with their hands and fashion works as men do, horses would paint horse-like images of gods and oxen oxen-like ones, and each would fashion bodies like their own." (fragments 3-4)
1st Principle is God
Divine Attributes: all-moving, all-seeing, all-thinking
MATERIALIST: ALL IS FIRE
ALL IS FIRE (ANALOGICALLY):
PERPETUAL CHANGE ORDERED BY THE LOGOS
into the same
"To god all things are beautiful and good and just, but men have supposed some things to be unjust, others just." (fragment 32)
God is simple, immutable, and unlike man in mind and body
WHY IS THERE SOMETHING RATHER THAN NOTHING?
WHY IS THE SOMETHING MANY?
WHAT BINDS THE MANY TOGETHER?
WHY DOES THE SOMETHING CHANGE?
HOW IS CHANGE POSSIBLE?
WHY IS IT ORDERED?
WHY IS THERE A "WHY"?
"Of the first philosophers, then, most thought the principles which were of the nature of matter were the only principles of all things. That of which all things that are consists, the first from which they come to be, the last into which they are resolved (the substance, remaining, but changing in its modifications), this they say is the element and this the principle of things, and therefore they think nothing is either generated or destroyed, since this sort of entity is always conserved, as we say Socrates neither comes to be absolutely when he comes to be beautiful or musical, nor ceases to be when he loses these characteristics, because the substratum, Socrates himself, remains."
-Aristotle, Metaphysics, A1, 983b
1st principle: WATER
RE: GENERATION & DESTRUCTION
(a) Seeds are moist; (b) life and growth proceeds from water; (c) water destroys and brings an end to things.
(a) the earth floats on water; (b) planets are moved by water.
(a) water is eternal and self-existent; (b) water generates and destroys all things; (c) water orders all things.
According to Thales, water is God.
Question: Is Thales a pantheist?
1. All that is is water.
2. All that is water is God.
3. Therefore, all that is is God.
RE: CHANGE & THE MANY:
Water has many states, solid, liquid, or gas
The one-and-the-many problem is a parts-whole problem.
Find what the many share and negate it.
Reading 2: The finite must be explained by the infinite.
THE BOUNDLESS, THE INFINITE
Reading 1: In order to generate so many beings and to persist despite the perpetual destruction of these beings, the one must be infinite (in quantity).
(ca. 624-585 B.C.)
(ca. 612-545 B.C.)
(ca. 585-528 B.C.)
mechanism for change: condensation & rarification
The sun (fire) emits smoke (clouds), which condenses into water (rain); when the water hardens, it turns into earth; when the earth liquifies, it turns into rivers (water); and the rivers evaporate, returning to the sun (fire).
Number is the form of things
Music, geometry, beauty, etc.
Beliefs about numbers:
Ten is the epitome of number
Four is sacred, 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10
Table of opposites:
Circle = perfect / oval = imperfect
Being = perfect / becoming = imperfect
Immortality of the Soul
Cyclical view of time / history
Various moral mandates: no obvious origin or rationale
Issue: Differences go beyond shape
Question: What makes a bread particle a bread particle?
Answer: Every particle has a little of everything (pluralism), and bread particles have more bread than anything else.
Change occurs with the changing of this ratio.
All complex objects are composed of smaller parts.
These smaller parts, if also composed.
The borrowing of substance cannot continue infinitly.
Therefore, there must be a smallest substance from which larger objects borrow substance (i.e., atoms).
What makes the bits of bread in a bread particle bread?