The Pre-Socratics

The Mind Map

Content:

 

The Milesians

(c. 624 BC - 525 BCE)

Origin 

1 Thales

1.2 Soul1.3 Movement

2 Anaximander

2.1 Arche is Aperion 

2.2 The reaction of hot and cold

3 Anaximenes 

3.1 Arche is Air

3.2 Soul

3.3 One with the cosmos

Heraclitus

(c. 535 - 475 BCE)

Origin

1 Arche is Flux

2 Unity of opposites

3 Temper

4 Opinion

5 Pleasure

6 Perception

Click on the images to enlarge*

Pythagoreanism

(c. 570 BC – 495 BCE)

Origin 

1 Soul 

2 It is Immortal

3 Pleasure, Pain & Ability to feel emotions

4 Time is Cyclical

5 The mystery of the universe contained in numbers

6 Musical notes are numerical

7 Reality

8 Three

9 Metempsychosis 

10 Animals 

11 Humans 

12 Colour is the limit of the body

The Prulalists

(c. 500 BC - 428 BCE)

Origin 

Anaxagoras

1 Infinite seeds (Caus)

2 Fishes, Animals & Man

3 Breaths

4 Thought

5 Order

6 Relativity

7 Dissociating

Empedocles

1 The 4 elements

2 Love & Strife

3 Proportions

4 Human

5 Breath

6 Passivity to proportions

The Atomists

(c. 460 BC - 370 BC)

Origin and Major People

1 Time

2 Void  & Full

3 Association & Dissociation

4 Atoms

5 Position, Shape & Disposition

6 Infinite

7 Spherical

8 Soul, Fire & Movement

9 Images & God

10 Sensation Interpretation

11 Relativity

12 Human

The Milesians

Origin

In his account of his predecessors’ searches for “causes and principles” of the natural world and natural phenomena, Aristotle says that Thales of Miletus (a city in Ionia, on the west coast of what is now Turkey) was the first to engage in such inquiry. He seems to have lived around the beginning of the 6th c. BCE. Aristotle mentions that some people, before Thales, placed great importance on water, but he credits Thales with declaring water to be the first cause (Metaphysics 983b27–33), and he then later raises the question of whether perhaps Hesiod was the first to look for a cause of motion and change (984b23ff.). These suggestions are rhetorical: Aristotle does not seriously imply that those he mentions are engaged in the same sort of inquiry as he thinks Thales was. Two other Greek thinkers from this very early period, Anaximander and Anaximenes, were also from Miletus, and although the ancient tradition that the three were related as master and pupil may not be correct, there are enough fundamental similarities in their views to justify treating them together. (Adding Standford and Wikipedia content into further reading is done)

Content

Arche 

It means: primary substance or origin of everything 

1 Thales 

1.1 Arche is Water

The world rests on water (Aristotle Metaphysics) 

Thales water is the beginning and end of everything. (Metaphysics p.13) 

1.2 Soul 

Some say that soul has been mixed in the whole world. On this basis, perhaps, Thales also held that all things are full of gods. (Aristotle - On the soul p.19 411a 9) 

1.3 Movement

Thales the first philosopher compared the soul with a magnet which makes an iron move (Aristotle - On the soul p.XI and p7 405a 19) 

2 Anaximander

2.1 Arche is Aperion 

Of those who say that [the first principle] is one and moving and indefinite, Anaximander, son of Praxiades, a Milesian who became successor and pupil to Thales, said that the indefinite (to apeiron) is both principle (archē) and element (stoicheion) of the things that are, and he was the first to introduce this name of the principle. He says that it is neither water nor any other of the so-called elements, but some other indefinite (apeiron) nature, from which come to be all the heavens and the worlds in them; and those things, from which there is coming-to-be for the things that are, are also those into which is their passing-away, in accordance with what must be. For they give penalty (dikê) and recompense to one another for their injustice (adikia) in accordance with the ordering of time—speaking of them in rather poetical terms. It is clear that having seen the change of the four elements into each other, he did not think it fit to make someone of these underlying subjects, but something else, apart from these. (Simplicius, Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics 24, lines 13ff. = 12A9 and B1)Anaximander

Pseudo-Plutarch (12A10) says that “Something productive of hot and cold was separated off from the eternal at the genesis of this world and from this a sphere of flame grew around the air around the earth like the bark around a tree.” 

2.2 The reaction of hot and cold

Rather, relying on a semi-biological model, Anaximander claims that the apeiron somehow generates the opposites hot and cold (Stanford Online) 

3 Anaximenes 

3.1 Arche is Air

Anaximenes air is the primary source (Aristotle - On the soul) 

3.2 Soul

‘Our souls, being air, hold us together, and breath and air embrace the whole cosmos’ (frag 2, as quoted in Ps.-Plutarch, Ancient Opinions I 3,4 and Stobaeus Eclogae I. 20, 12) Anaximenes 

3.3 One with the cosmos

‘Our souls, being air, hold us together, and breath and air embrace the whole cosmos’ (frag 2, as quoted in Ps.-Plutarch, Ancient Opinions I 3,4 and Stobaeus Eclogae I. 20, 12) Anaximenes 

 

Heraclitus

Origin

Heraclitus of Ephesus was an Ancient Greekpre-SocraticIonian philosopher and a native of the city of Ephesus, which was then part of the Persian Empire.

His appreciation for wordplay and oracular expressions, as well as paradoxical elements in his philosophy, earned him the epithet "The Obscure" from antiquity. He wrote a single work, On Nature, only fragments of which have survived, increasing the obscurity associated with his life and philosophy. Heraclitus's cryptic utterances have been the subject of numerous interpretations. He has been seen as a "material monist or a process philosopher; a scientific cosmologist, a metaphysician and a religious thinker; an empiricist, a rationalist, a mystic; a conventional thinker and a revolutionary; a developer of logic—one who denied the law of non-contradiction; the first genuine philosopher and an anti-intellectual obscurantist. (Adding Standford and Wikipedia content into further reading is done)

Content

1 Arche is Flux

Heraclitus, too, says that the principle is the soul if indeed it is the exhalation from which he constructs the other things. And he says that it is the most incorporeal thing and is always flowing and that what is in motion is known by what is in movement. And he, along with many, believed that existing things depend on movement. (Aristotle - On the soul p.7 405a 35)

Hot things become cold, the cold becomes hot, wet becomes dry, parched become moist’ (frag. 126 Generation and Corruption) 

2 Unity of opposites

Perish all strife ‘ twist gods and twist men. There would be no harmony, he says, if there were not high and low notes, and there would be no animals without the contrary between males and females. (Aristotle - The Eudemian Ethics p. 113) 

It is harder to fight against pleasure than anger. (Aristotle - The Nicomachean Ethics p27 1105a  8) 

‘ t is what opposes that helps’ and ‘ From different tones comes the fairest tune’ and ‘ all things are produced through strife ‘.   (Aristotle - The Nicomachean Ethics p143 1155b 4) 

3 Temper

It is likely that Heraclitus has the strength of temper in mind when he says that keeping it in check is painful. ‘ It’s hard, he says, ‘ to fight with temper: it will gain victory at the cost of life.’ )(Aristotle - The Eudemian Ethics p. 26 1223b 22) 

4 Opinion

Strength of opinion (Aristotle - The Nicomachean Ethics p122 1146b 31) 

5 Pleasure

Animals have different pleasures ‘ asses would prefer sweepings to gold’  (Aristotle - The Nicomachean Ethics p191 1176a 6) 

6 Perception

Some believe that the smoky exhalation, which is a combination of earth and air combined, is smell. That is why Heraclitus also said that if everything that exists were to become smoke noses would discern it. (Aristotle - On the soul p.82 443a 23)

Pythagoreanism

Origin

 

Pythagoreanism is the philosophy of the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras (ca. 570 – ca. 490 BCE), which prescribed a highly structured way of life and espoused the doctrine of metempsychosis (transmigration of the soul after death into a new body, human or animal. (Adding Standford content into further reading is done)

Content

1 Soul 

Is dust “most” 

Soul is the dust most (pedaco de po) on air. It moves by itself even when there is no wind around. (Aristotle - On the soul p5)

2 It is Immortal

“that the soul is immortal and that it transmigrates into other kinds of animals” (Porphyry, VP 19)

Dicaearchus explicitly says that Pythagoras regarded the soul as immortal

3 Pleasure, Pain & Ability to feel emotions

Thus, it would appear that what is shared with animals and which led Pythagoras to suppose that they had a special kinship with human beings (Dicaearchus in Porphyry, VP 19) is not intellect, as some have supposed (Sorabji 1993, 78 and 208) but rather the ability to feel emotions such as pleasure and pain.

Xenophanes, Pythagoras’ contemporary, provides some more specific information on what happens to the soul after death. He reports that “once when he [Pythagoras] was present at the beating of a puppy, he pitied it and said ‘stop, don’t keep hitting him, since it is the soul of a man who is dear to me, which I recognized, when I heard it yelping’” (Fr. 7).

4 Time is Cyclical

Dicaearchus, in addition to the immortality of the soul and reincarnation, Pythagoras believed that “after certain periods of time the things that have happened once happen again and nothing is absolutely new” (Porphyry, VP 19).

5 The mystery of the universe contained in numbers

The mystery of the universe to be contained in numbers (10 Timaeus Plato)

6 Musical notes are numerical

The correspondence between the central musical concords of the octave, fifth, and fourth and the whole number ratios 2 : 1, 3 : 2 and 4 : 3 is reflected in the accustom (Iamblichus, VP 82)

7 Reality

At Metaphysics 986a22, after presenting his account of the philosophy of “the so-called” Pythagorean (985b23), which has strong connections to the philosophy of Philolaus, Aristotle turns to “others of this same group” and assigns to them what is commonly known as the table of opposites (the opposites arranged according to column [kata sustoichia-n]). These Pythagorean presented the principles of reality as consisting of ten pairs of opposites:

Limit unlimited

Odd even

Unity plurality

Right left

Male female

Rest motion

Straight crooked

Light darkness

Good bad

Square oblong

8 Three

For, like the Pythagorean say, the world and all that is in it is determined by the number three, since the beginning and middle and end give the number at an “all” and the number they give is triad (Aristotle On the heavens p. 6)

9 Metempsychosis 

Dicaearchus says that Pythagoras was the first to introduce metempsychosis into Greece (Porphyry VP 19)

10 Animals 

Nourishment: 

Smell

Others (?) ¹¹

¹¹ Some animals are nourished by smell (Aristotle - On the soul p.85)

11 Humans 

Rituals 

Pythagoras had his expertise in religious rituals. Isocrates emphasizes that “he more conspicuously than others paid attention to sacrifices and rituals in temples” (Busiris 28)

Eudoxus says that “he not only abstained from animal food but would also not come near butchers and hunters” (Porphyry, VP 7)

12 Colour is the limit of the body

the limit of the body is its colour (Aristotle - On the soul p.75)

 
 
 
 
 
 

The Prulaists

Origin

 

The Pluralist school was a school of pre-Socratic philosophers who attempted to reconcile Parmenides' rejection of change with the apparently changing world of sense experience. The school consisted of AnaxagorasArchelaus, and Empedocles. It can also be said to have included the AtomistsLeucippus and Democritus. The Pluralists rejected the idea that the diversity of nature can be reduced to a single principle (monism). Anaxagoras posited that nature contained an innumerable number of principles, while Empedocles reduced nature to four elements (fireairearth, and water) which could not be reduced to one another and which would be sufficient to explain change and diversity. (Adding Wikipedia content into further reading is done)

Content

 

Anaxagoras

1 Infinite seeds (Caus)

Anaxagoras understood the natural world as a mixture containing an infinite number of “seeds” which are different in kind (frag. 4) This mixture, as well as every part of it, is infinitely divisible, and the whole and every part of it contains every kind of thing. A major exception is thought or mind (nous), which is not mixed with everything else but which knows everything else and exercises control over the universe by bringing, about the initial movement of the cosmic mixture (frags. 12-14) (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.XXiii)  

“All things were together, unlimited both in amount and in smallness, for the small, too, was unlimited. And because all things were together, nothing was evident” (59B1)

Everything was mixed together and at rest for an infinite amount of time, and the intelligence instilled change and separated one thing from another. (Aristotle Physics p.185) 

2 Fishes, Animals & Man

Development of animals out of fishes who came to land, and man out of animals. (Plato Temaeus p.44) 

3 Breaths

Anaxagoras also says that when the fishes expel the water through their gills. Fishes breathe by taking in the air which comes to be in their mouth; for a vacuum does not exist (Aristotle On the soul p.138 470b 33) 

4 Thought

All was confusion, and then mind came and arranged things. (Plato Temaeus p.31) 

Anaxagoras wrote a book in which he suggested that the force that brought the world into its present more or less ordered state was nothing other than the mind and the fundamental purpose of philosophy is to understand how the mind thus forgets the world from primordial chaos. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p.XVii)  

The thought is unaffected, and that it possesses nothing in common with other things (Aristotle On the soul p.8 405b 20) 

Anaxagoras owns the conception of thought as impassive and unmixed with anything else. (Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.XXV) 

5 Order

He says at any rate that it alone of things is simple, unmixed, and pure. And he explains both - that is, knowing and brining about movement - by the simple principle when he says that thought moves everything (Aristotle On the soul p.7 405a 14) 

Since it thinks all things, is unmixed, in order that it may ‘control’ - that is, in order that it may be aware. (Aristotle On the soul p.55 429a 18) 

Anaxagoras, who when asked why one should choose to be born rather than not, replied, “In order to admire the heaven and the order of the universe”. (Aristotle - The Eudemian Ethics Oxford p.Xiii) 

6 Relativity

Things will really be for them however they believe. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.18 1009b 26) 

Anaxagoras alleged thesis is that it is (not only possible but) necessary neither to assert nor to deny: ‘ good’ is of course a representative for all other predicates. Against the objection that ‘neither good nor not good’ is itself something true. (Aristotle Metaphysics Oxford p.121 1012a 24) 

Anaxagoras was once asked who was the happiest person. “Not anyone that you would think of”, he replied “but someone who would see very odd to you” Answer to men who thought happiness was fame and money. (Aristotle - The Eudemian Ethics Oxford p. 6) 

7 Dissociating

Anaxagoras (writing in the mid-5th c.) Claims, “The Greeks [i.e., ordinary people] do not think correctly about coming-to-be and passing-away; for no thing comes to be or passes away, but is mixed together and dissociated from the things that are. And thus they would be correct to call coming-to-be mixing-together and passing-away dissociating” (59B17).

Empedocles

1 The 4 elements

Poem of the four elements

 “For by earth we see earth, and by water, either the divine either and by fire destructive fire, By love, and strife by cruel strife” This assumes the principle that the like is known by the like. That is the soul is aware of the object only if they are the same in kind (Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.XXiii) 

To Empedocles, he beholds for the theory that there are four elements, that different kinds of things contain distinct proportions of these elements, and the like are affected by the like. (Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.XXV) 

2 Love & Strife

Things are alternately changing and at rest, changing when love creates unity out of plurality or hatred is creating a plurality out of unity (Aristotle Physics p.185) 

Love divides and strife combines. For when the universe is reduced by strife to its elements, fire and each of the other elements is reduced to a single thing. But whenever again through the love they are brought to a single thing, it is a necessity that parts to each thing are again dissolved. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p.17)  

Now with love, we come all together as one. (Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.203 29)  

3 Proportions

None has a nature of the things that are; There is but mixture and exchange of things mixed, but nature’s name men fix on them. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.33)  

4 Human

Bone exists by ratio, whereas this is the essence and substance of the things. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p.39) 

The flesh will differ from bone because it has a different proportion

(Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.XXiii) Empedocles

5 Breath

Breaths through vessels. Although they contain blood they are not filled with it. Breathing(Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.143) 

6 Passivity to proportions

A person’s wisdom alerts as he alerts his state. Men’s cunning grows with what is presented to them. (...) And as they modified, so did their thoughts Come always modified to mind. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.18 1009b 16)  

Sagacity grows in humans in relation to what is present to them. And Whence it is perpetually set before them also to understand different things. (Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.52) 

 
 
 

The Atomists

Origin and Major People

 

Atomism is a natural philosophy proposing that the physical world is composed of fundamental indivisible components known as atoms.

In the 5th century BCE, Leucippus and his pupil Democritus proposed that all matter was composed of small indivisible particles called atoms. Nothing whatsoever is known about Leucippus except that he was the teacher of Democritus. Democritus, by contrast, was a prolific writer, who wrote over eighty known treatises, none of which have survived to the present day complete. However, a massive number of fragments and quotations of his writings have survived. These are the main source of information on his teachings about atoms. Democritus's argument for the existence of atoms hinged on the idea that it is impossible to keep dividing matter for infinity and that matter must therefore be made up of extremely tiny particles. (Adding Wikipedia content into further reading is done)

Content

1 Time

Time dos not come into being (It always is) (Aristotle Physics p. 187) 

2 Void  & Full

Leucippus and his associate Democritus say that the full and the empty are the elements,

Calling the one being and the other non-being – the full and solid being, the empty non-being (whence they say being no more is than non-being, because the solid no more is than the empty) (Aristotle Metaphysics p.6)

Democritus too; for he says the void and the full exist alike in every part, and yet one of these is being, and the other non-being.  (Aristotle Metaphysics p.35)

The void and the full are found equally in every part whatever, and yet the one of those is that which is, the other that which is not. (Aristotle Metaphysics p. 16) Democritus

3 Association & Dissociation

Democritus and Leucippus, postulate the “fugues”, and make “alteration” and coming-to-be result from them. They explain coming-to-be and passing-away by their “dissociation” and “association”, but “alteration” by their “grouping” and “position”. And since they thought that the “truth” lay in the appearance, and appearance are conflicting and infinitely many, they made the “figures” infinite in number. Hence-owing the change of the compound-the same thing seems different and conflicting to different people; it is “transposed” of a single constituent. For tragedy and comedy are both composed of the same lattes. (Aristotle - On Generation and Corruption p.8)

4 Atoms

Everything is composed of atoms-minute, indivisible, indestructible particles moving perpetually and randomly through the void (i.e. empty space) before they combine to form the world. The atoms are all solids bits differing not in quality but in shape, and soul in a particular consist of spherically shaped atoms. Identifying thought with the soul, that is, with the motion of soul-atom. His reasoning: knowledge is the same as perception because both are identical with the motion of soul-atoms (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. XXii)

5 Position, Shape & Disposition

The opinion of Democritus that things are subject to three differentiations. In his system, the (material) substrate persist as a one-and-the-same, but is differentiated either by rhythm (aka shape), slant (aka position) or deployment (aka disposition) (Aristotle Metaphysics p. 236) 

And they make these the material causes of things. And as those who make the underlying

Substance one generate all other things by its modifications, supposing the rare and the dense to be the sources of the modifications, in the same way these philosophers say the differences in the elements are the causes of all other qualities. These differences, they say, are three-shape and order and position. For they say the real is differentiated only by ‘rhythm’ and ‘inter-contact’ and ‘turning’; and of these rhythm is shape, inter-contact is order, and turning is position; for A differs from N in shape, AN from NA in order, M from W in position. The question of movement – whence or how it is to belong to things – these thinkers, like the others, lazily neglected. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.6)

Democritus describes rightly; he says one thing cannot be made out of two nor two out of one; for he identifies substances with his indivisible magnitudes. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.75)

Democritus seems to think there are three kinds of difference between things; the

Underlying body, the matter, is one and the same, but they differ either in rhythm, i.e. shape, or in turning, i.e. position, or in inter-contact, i.e. order. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.80)

6 Infinite

Democritus and Leucippus, postulate the “fugues”, and make “alteration” and coming-to-be result from them. They explain coming-to-be and passing-away by their “dissociation” and “association”, but “alteration” by their “grouping” and “position”. And since they thought that the “truth” lay in the appearance, and appearance are conflicting and infinitely many, they made the “figures” infinite in number. Hence-owing the change of the compound-the same thing seems different and conflicting to different people; it is “transposed” of a single constituent. For tragedy and comedy are both composed of the same lattes. (Aristotle - On Generation and Corruption p.8)

7 Spherical

Soul consists of spherically shaped atoms. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. XXii)

8 Soul, Fire & Movement

Democritus says that soul is a sort of fire or hot stuff. Because the atomic shapes are infinite, he calls the spherical ones fire and soul (like what are called motes in the air, which appear in the sunbeams that pass through the window), and ‘all-engendering see-bed’ consisting of these things was what he called the elements of all nature. And they call the spherical atoms soul, because such figures are most able to pass through everything and to move  other things because they also undergo movement themselves and because they suppose that it is soul that imparts movement to animals. That is indeed why they call breathing the mark of life (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p.7)

9 Images & God

The idea that our knowledge is based on the reception of images from outside us is employed in Democritus' discussion of the gods, wherein it is clear that our knowledge of the gods comes from eidôla (Atom) (Stanford Online)

10 Sensation Interpretation

Democritus is correct when he says that the eye is water, but incorrect when he says that seeing is mirroring (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 73)

They treat all perceptible objects as tangible. And yet, if this is the case, it is clear that each of the senses is made of touch; but that this is impossible is not hard to see at a glance. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 80)

Proper and common perceptible objects. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 215)

Who treats semblances and effluences as causes. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 124)

Democritus spoke of semblances emanating from objects that reached human beings and were interpreted as portending future goods or evils, according to Sextus Empiricus, Against the Mathematicians IX, 9

11 Relativity

Either there is no truth or at least to us is unclear (Aristotle Metaphysics p. 17) 

12 Human

Aristotle thinks we can see only because of a medium such as air or water. Democritus maintained that the effluences from the perceptible object would be distorted if they had to travel trough a material medium, but not if they travelled through empty space. (Aristotle - On the soul Oxford p. 190)

 

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