Philosophy Of Religion
Philosophy Of Religion PHIL 131
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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Noemie Kiehn on Monday October 5, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHIL 131 at California State University - Sacramento taught by Michael Epperson in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see /class/218861/phil-131-california-state-university-sacramento in PHIL-Philosophy at California State University - Sacramento.
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Date Created: 10/05/15
Notes on Pre Socratic Philosophy Philosophy 131 Philosophy of Religion Epperson Milesian School Thales of Miletus AnaXimander of Miletus AnaXimenes of Miletus Pyth agorean Sch ool Pythagoras H eracleitus of Ephesus Eleatic School Xenophanes Parmenides Zeno Empedocles of Akragas Amlxogoms Atomist School Leucippus Democritus THE MILESIAN SCHOOL Introduction 624548 610546 545 580 500 founded school in Kroton 540 7 480 504501 Reputed founder but no evidence Founder Born 515 dialogue with Socrates 451449 495 430 490 430 500 428 came to Athens in 480 H 400 7 500 Ofthe Eleatic School student oneno 460 7 370 THESIS The genesis of Greek philosophy can be placed in the Ionian philosophical tradition Ionia was the cradle of Greek philosophy Miletus modern day Turkey city of Soke was the cradle of Ionian philosophy Aegean Greek culture submerged by the Dorian invasions of l l3911 century BC Aegean spirit preserved by Ionia7philos0phy literature art etc Homer 7 Ionian literature Ionian cosmology Greek mathematics in uenced by Egyptian mathematics Greek astronomy in uenced by Babylonian astronomy but neither were derived from these Greek math was more theoretical than Egyptian Greek astronomy more empirical than Babylon s astrological divinations Unique to Greece Desire to discover the essence of things Knowledge for its own sake Not tied to religious exclusivity as Indian philosophy etc Not tied to practical bene ts either Eastern philosophy ways of avoiding unhappiness etc Thales of Miletus 624548 AnaXimander of Miletus 610546 AnaXimenes of Miletus H 545 Thales of Miletus The earliest Ionian philosopher Focused on change from birth to death via growth and change Attempted to discern the primary substance undergoing changeiie the permanence underlying an ever changing world Here the concept of primary substance is de ned NOT as matter in the conventional sense instead the idea of primary substance is that of arch 7ie the origin of all things andor the de ning principle of all things Various Ionian philosophers differed on their notions of primary substance but all held it to be material Thales water AnaXimenes air Heraclitus re Not sheer materialists though because no distinction between spirit and matter Ionians were then more primitive scientists than philosophers in the strict sense of the word Did more than merely observe though used speculative thought to theorize the fundamental characterization of the various primary substances Therefore Ionian materialism is more an abstract materialism than modern empirical materialism The idea is that unity is fundamental Unity in difference and difference entering in to Unity Also a lawgovemed universe where balance is the governing principle Thales 0f Miletus Predicted the eclipse of 585 bc according to Herodotus died in 546 almanac navigation via ursa minor Water is the primary substance Water becomes air through heat becomes ice and by extrapolation earth via cold First to raise the question of the ultimate lndamental nature of the world First to raise the notion of Unity in Difference Aristotle the major source for Thales39s philosophy and science identi ed Thales as the first person to investigate the basic principles the question of the originating substances of matter and therefore as the founder of the school of natural philosophy Thales was interested in almost everything investigating almost all areas of knowledge philosophy history science mathematics engineering geography and politics He proposed theories to explain many of the events of nature the primary substance the support of the earth and the cause of change Thales was much involved in the problems of astronomy and provided a number of explanations of cosmological events which traditionally involved supernatural entities His questioning approach to the understanding of heavenly phenomena was the beginning of Greek astronomy Thales39s hypotheses were new and bold and in freeing phenomena from godly intervention he paved the way towards scientific endeavour He founded the Milesian school of natural philosophy developed the scientific method and initiated the first western enlightenment The questions which excited the Milesians were of this kind Can this apparently confused and disordered world be reduced to simpler principles so that our reason can grasp what it is and how it works What is it made of How does change take place They abandoned mythological and substituted intellectual solutions It was no longer satisfying to say that storms were roused by the wrath of Poseidon or death caused by the arrows of Apollo or Artemis A world ruled by anthropomorphic gods of the kind in which their contemporaries believed 7 gods human in their passions as well as in their outward form 7 was a world ruled by caprice Philosophy and science start with the bold confession of faith that not caprice but an inherent orderliness underlies the phenomena and the explanation ofnature is to be sought within nature itself Guthrie W K C 1971 A history of Greek philosophy Vol1 The earlier Presocratz39cs and the Pythagoreans Cambridge Cambridge University Press 4445 Aristotle de ned wisdom as knowledge of certain principles and causes M etaph 982 a23 He commenced his investigation of the wisdom of the philosophers who preceded him with Thales the first philosopher and described Thales as the founder of natural philosophy Metaph 983 b2122 He recorded Thales says that it is water39 it is the nature the arch the originating principle For Thales this nature was a single material substance water To Aristotle the theories of Thales were so obviously different from all that had gone before that they stood out from earlier explanations Thales39s views were not ancient and primitive They were new and exciting and the genesis of scientific conjecture about natural phenomena It was the view for which Aristotle acknowledged Thales as the founder of natural philosophy Anaximander 0f Miletus Younger associate of Thales believed the primary substance again where substance is defined not as matter in the conventional sense instead the idea of primary substance is that of arch 7ie the origin of all things andor the defining principle of all things For AnaXimander this primary substance arch was necessarily indeterminate or boundless This is because only the boundless is incapable of further reduction to some more fundamental arch At the same time any de nite or limited substance would ultimately be reduced to its primary unbounded substanceisince the latter has no limits restricting its encroachments into other nonprimary substances Therefore if the primary substance were water per the thesis of Thales everything would ultimately have been reduced to water long ago which isn t the case The primary substance as arch for AnaXimander is substance without limits Encroachments of one element upon another heat in winter cold in summer are considered injustices Eternal motion brings things into being Vortexlike so that the heavier elements are central and the lighter elements tend toward the circumference The world is not a at disc of water but rather a short spinning cylinder Man evolved from other animals All life originated in the sea and according to changing environments then adapted Anaximenes 0f Miletus Said to have been a student of AnaXimander Unlike Thales and AnaXimander he held that air is the primary substance from which all other substances are produced via natural forces Condensation is an example of solid matter coming from air via wind then water then stones earth fire comes from air via rarefaction Air is the halfway point between earth and fire The earth is a at disc oating on air Conclusion The Ionian philosophers were driven by the wonder and joy of discovery they believed man could know things as they are objectively THE PYTHAGOREAN SOCIETY 2quotd Half of the 63911 century Pythagorasian Ionianifounded a religious Pythagorean Society at Kroton in South Italy A school with an ascetic and religious character stemming from the religious revival in the Ionian civilization toward its endithe attempt to provide genuine religious elements not provided in the Milesian cosmologies nor in the Olympian mythology Movement to skepticism on the one hand and to the mystery religions on the other once the freshness and vigor of the early Ionian civilization and the Milesian philosophies of this time waned Same happened during the fall of the Roman Empire Common ground between Orphicism worship of Dionysius and Pythagoreanism both organized into communities with initiations etc both posited the transmigration of soulsi that the soul is the important pa1t of man not the imprisoning body Not essentially a political group but involved in politics Had political control in Kroton but their lodges were burnt down and they were subject to persecution in 440430 bc Society later revived in Tarentum Italy in the fourth century Ideas centered around purity and practices of puri cation and the transmigration of souls The soul is aided trained and puri ed via silence music and mathematics The soul is the seat of power in man not the body in contrast to the Homeric shades or shadow image of the departed But there is no selfconsciousness or selfidentity bound up with the soul selfidentity doesn t transmigrate in other words Many of the philosophical and mathematical contributions were likely not by Pythagoras himself but by someone in the Pythagorean school such as Philolaus Mathematicometaphysical philosophy Mathematical primacy in nature All things are numerable Musical intervals are also numerical if musical harmony is dependent on number so is harmony in the universe Milesian cosmologies focused on the conflict of opposites in the universe they Pythagoreans focused on the harmony of the universe Via numerical relations Number is fundamental The final real things ARE numbers AnaXimander held that indeterminacy is fundamental Pythagoras held that this indeterminacy is balanced by the Limit which gives it form according to the harmony between the two expressed by number According to Aristotle The Pythagoreans held that the elements of number are the even and the odd the latter are finite the former infinite LE Even numbers are equated with the indefiniteness of AnaXimander odd numbers are the limit which provides harmony l precedes from both since it is both even and odd The Pythagoreans regarded numbers spatially l point 2 line 3 plane 4 solid All bodies consist of points in space which together constitute number Evinced by the tetraktys figure sacred to the Pythagoreans 10 the sum of l 2 3 and 4 Objects are sums of points numbers are sums of points therefore objects are numbers The limited cosmos odd numbers is surrounded by the unlimited or boundless cosmos air even numbers The odd gnomons gures used to geometrecise numbers are always quadratic the even gnomons are constantly changing rectangular shapes 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 3 3 5 4 4 4 6 l 3 5 l 3 5 odd always square 2 2 4 6 2 4 6 even ever elongating rectangles Marriage 3 the combination of the first masculine number 1 and the first feminine number 2 Justice 4 etc This type of numerical assignment seems arbitrary thoughia misapplied extrapolation of mathematics The Pythagorean Theorem their biggest contribution to mathematics While it is also evinced in the Sumerian computations the Pythagorean theorem transcended the mere arithmetical and geometrical fact and combined them in a deductive system The earth was spherical and revolved along with the planets and the sun around the central re or hearth of the Universe represented by the number 1 The world inhales air the unlimited from the unlimited mass outside it the in uence of AnaXimenes and AnaXimander here The Pythagoreans emphasis on the soul and its tripartite nature and proper care in uenced Plato who was also strongly in uenced by their mathematical speculations HERACLITUS An Ephesian modern day Turkey village of Selcuk who ourished approx 504501 bc Disdain for the common man and for the famous of the past Most men are bad All things are in a state of uX not really his though This is not the kernel of his philosophy but it is a central idea By saying that all things change he is not saying that there is no reality however This is not the most important feature of his philosophy though since it is not novel we saw it in other Ionian philosophers The fundamental concept expressed in his Word Unity in diversity difference in unity Anaximander considered the encroachements of opposites on each other as injustices and a disorder that mars the purity of the One Heraclitus says that the con ict among opposites is essential to the One The only One exists in the tension of opposites and this tension is essential We must know that war is common to all and strife is justice and that all things come into being and pass away through strife Numenius Frag l6 Copleston I 40 Men do know know how what is at variance agrees with itself It is an attunement of opposite tensions like that of the bow and the lyre Frag 51 ibid Copleston Reality is The One but The One is Identity in Difference The primary substance for Heraclitus is fireiand not just to be different from Thales and Anaxamenes Fire depends on strife and tension It feeds on and springs up from a multitude of objects changing them into itself Fire embodies the tension between the upward and downward paths elemental to change and the biIth of the cosmos Fire when condensed becomes water which then becomes earth downward path and the earth liquefies evaporates etc upward path He refers almost everything to the evaporation from the sea In an everchanging world enduring substance is explained thus Fire takes from things by kindling and turns back into things by extinguishment All things are an exchange for Fire and Fire for all things even as wares for gold and gold for wares Frag 90 Copleston 42 Matter changes but the aggregate quantity of matter remains constant The hidden attunement of the universe is the balance of the upward and downward paths This leads to a certain relativism To God all things are fair and good and right but men hold some things wrong and some right Frag 102 This is the inevitable conclusion of a pantheistic philosophyithat everything is justified God is the universal reason the universal law immanent in all things binding all things into a unity and determining the constant change in the universe according to universal law Reason and consciousness in manithe rey elementiare the valuable element When re leaves the body the water and earth remaining are worthless Remaining dry is the wisest and best course of action It may pleasure souls to become moist but it is death to soul to become water Human laws should be the embodiment of the Universal Law This participation of man in the Reason of the universe paved the way for the universalist ideas of Stoicism Some claim that Heraclitus believed in a periodic universal con agration where all becomes re as the Stoics believed such that they inherited it from him Copleston says there is no evidence for this Heraclitus Unity in Plurality The desire to conceive of a unity in the obvious plurality comes from the fact that things ARE interdependent and this interdependence IS the unity among the plurality The only unity is the unity in diversity Man is right in seeking unity but it is wrong to assert unity to the detriment of plurality Copleston 44 A material universe which houses life MUST be a changing universe But change implies both diversity and stability for there must be something which changes And so there will be identity in diversity Copleston 46 THESIS Heraclitus of Ephesus conceived of a genuine philosophic notion of Unity in Diversity though he did not adequately systematize it ELEATIC SCHOOL Elea in southern Italy Reputed founder is Xenophanes but no evidence that he was ever there Reputed because he was a monist per the Eleatic School Not a monotheist though which would have been too bizarre to be taken seriously at the time Parmenides A citizen of Elea was likely the real founder of the Eleatic School Born around 500 bc conversed with Socrates around 451449 bc when 65 years old Wrote his philosophy in poetic verse Believed that Being the One is and that change or Becoming is an illusion For if anything comes to be it comes either out of being or nonbeing if the former then it already is if the latter then it is nothing since only nothing can come from nothing Plurality is then also an illusion Rejects Pythagorean school because it embraces the concept of change Introduces a duality of Truth vs Appearance or Reason vs Sense Makes explicit this distinction between Truth and Appearance only implicit in other philosophies Heraclitus etc This is NOT Idealism though Plato etc because the One is not necessarily mere thought Parmenides believes it to be material and the illusion is that the One is plural and differentiated and changing The Eleatic School is Monistic Materialism Only reasoninot senseican apprehend the material and unchanging One Despite this he is often called the father of Idealism This is wrong He may have in uenced the Idealism of Plato but his true lineage goes down through Empedocles and Democritus Anything that CAN be MUST be for if one were to imagine something that did not exist it would be nothing and could not be the object of speech and thought To thing about nothing is the same as to not think If you can thing about it and speak about it then it must be Also paradoxically if something merely COULD be then it could never actually come to be for it would come out of nothing if it didn t exist already and out of nothing comes nothing The it which is is therefore necessarily COMPLETE and immovable and continuous It must be spherical finite in size but infinite temporallyispherical so that it looks the same from all perspectives Asserts the indestructibility of matter later adopted by Democritus and Empedocles Democritus accounted for change by varying aggregations of material indestructible atoms Heraclitus asserted Becoming but not exclusive of Being for the One is Fire but Permenides asserted Being exclusive of Becoming Plato synthesizes the two Parmenides s distinction between senseobjects and true objects via reason the latter the only reality because the former are subject to the Heraclitean ux The objects of true knowledge are stable and eternal like the Being of Parmenidesibut not material like the Being of Parmenedes Aristotle carries it further Being in the sense of the ultimate immaterial reality God is changeless subsistent thought Material being per Heraclitus is subject to change but according to concrete stable forms a la Plato only forms of concrete material The dilemma of Parmenides is solved by accounting for becoming via the concept of Potentia Being does not arise out of nothing nor out of being precisely as being actu but rather out of Potentiaia different kind of something THESIS The Eleatics in general denied the reality of multiplicity and motion There is one principle Being which is material and motionless We sense motion and multiplicity but through reason we can determine that it is mere illusion True being is discovered therefore by Thought Unlike Heraclitus who attempted to show the dialectic mutual interrelation between plurality and unityichange and stability the Eleatics believed in sheer unity and the Pythagoreans in sheer diversitypluralityieven though each concept ultimately presupposes the other Yet Heraclitus philosophy was also unsatisfactory in that it could not sufficiently account for stability in the universe and was bound up with materialistic monism EMPEDOCLES OF AKRAGAS Akragas Agrigentum in Sicily Approx 44443 Amalgamated previous philosophies Embraced Parmenides concept of material being without end indestructible etc Nothing arises from nothing something cannot arise out of nothing But accounted for the experience of change motion and plurality via an atomist doctrine Collections of atoms may come into and go out of being but the atoms themselves do not Empedocles invented the classi cation of matter into the four classes Earth Air Fire and Water These cannot interchange Objects come into being via the intermingling of the four elements and cease to be via the separation of the elements Empedocles mediates the philosophy of Parmenides and the facts of sensory experience The processes of nature re these four particles are attributed to TWO FORCES Love attraction harmony Hate repulsion discord The former brings the four elements together the latter separates them and destroys the unity of the particles thus destroying the composite object Worldprocess is cyclic Starts with Love mingling of elements then moves to Hate dissociation of particles into their individual element groups The world as we know it is in the period of the cycle just after the initial primary sphere and the stage of total separation of the elements Hate is gradually penetrating the sphere Air was the first to be separated off when the earth was formed then fire then earth Water is squeezed out by centrifugal force from the earth s rotation Believed in transmigration of the soul in his Book of Purifications ANAXAGORAS Born at Clazomenae in Asia Minor around 500 bc came to Athens in the Persian Army 48079 First philosopher to settle into the city which would later ourish in philosophy Teacher of Pericles Accepted like Empedocles the theory of Parmenides that Being neither comes into or passes out of existence but is unchangeable Atomist like Empedocles but unlike him did not hold to the four elements He believed that atoms are qualitatively the same as their larger object Some objects are composed of many different types of atoms In the beginning the multiplicity of particles were intermingled homogenously In everything there is a portion of everything Otherwise he could not explain change If grass becomes esh there must be some esh particles in the grass There is cold in warm and warm in cold Empedocles attributed motion to the two fundamental forces Love and Hate Anaxagoras attributes it to the principle of Nous or Mind Introduces the concept of mind but doesn t portray it as noncorporeal does not introduce a kind of dualism in that regard Nous is in all living thingsithe same in all Matter is eternal but Nous sets the vortex in motion and creates matter All change is due to Nous THE ATOMIST SCHOOL Founded by Leucippus of Miletus Member of the school of Parmenides student of Zeno Difficult to discern in this school between the works of Leucippus and Democritus the latter came much later and was not a preSocratic Atomism is the logical J 39 I ofthe J 39 quot J 39 of J J 39 who quot J Parmedian changelessness with the evident change of matter via elemental particles and the two forces Love and Strife The Philosophy of Empedocles formed a transitional stage to the explanation of all qualitative differences by a mechanical juxtaposition of material particles in different patterns Love and Strife would have to be replaced by a more sensible mechanics All these mechanics were developed by the Atomists According to Leucippus and Democritus Infinite number of atoms imperceptible differ in size and shape but have no quality other than solidity and indivisibility They move in the void Unlike Empedocles who said the void is corporeal Leucippus says the void is non being which is just as real as being Space is not a body but is as real as a bodyia different species of reality Later Epicurus would add the force of weight to atoms such that they all move downwardiin uenced by Aristotle s concept of weight Democritus by contrast said there was no up or down or middle in the void Collisions among atoms set up the vortex Anaxagoras and formed the world Leucippus held that larger bodies would tend toward the center against Anaxagoras who held the opposite Like atoms are brought together as in a sieve This forms the four elements Earth Air Fire and Water Leucippus didn t use Empedocles two forces or Anaxogoras Nous didn t feel the need for any moving force Atoms have eternal motion Aristotle later criticized the lack of accounting for this motion Leucippus sought n0 Unmoved Mover The atoms of Leucippus and Democritus are the monads 0f the Pythagorean School only with the properties of Parmenidean being for each is the Parmenidean One And as the elements arose from various arrangements and positions they are like Pythagorean numbers Leucippus rejects the Pythagorean spherical model for earth saying it is more like that of Anaximenes like Anaxagoras a short spinning cylinder The AtomistsiLeucippus and Democritusigive an explanation of the world that is purely mechanical and that is their contributionithe introduction of MECHANICAL MATERIALISM PRESOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY All explorations as to the relationship and status of One and Many Unity and Plurality Continuity and Change The quest for and anticipation of an underlying unity was not primarily driven by empirical induction it was an intuition and a purely philosophical cosmology Presocratic Philosophy centers on the world not the self The early Greek philosophers were primarily cosmologists The stumbling blocks in this endeavor lead to a change of focus from Object with the preSocratics to Subject with the Socraticsifrom the Cosmos to Man himself
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