of Parmenides; sought to defend him against critics.
his 'paradoxes'- actually attempts to show the absurdity of
the arguments of Parmenides' critics (reductio ad absurdum-
'to reduce to the absurd')
drop one grain of sand on carpet, no noise. Drop a handful, hear a
thud. Does sand make a noise when dropped on carpet?
the chalk board, and cut it in half. Now cut one of the pieces in
half. In principle, this process could be repeated infinitely, each
piece having measurable magnitude yet being infinitely divisible.
But this would mean the chalkboard is infinitely large.
But this problem applies to
everything with positive magnitude, so everything would be
infinitely large, which is impossible! (This is why Parmenides
thought that "all things are one")
Mr. Martin wants to
run from one side of the room (A) to the other (B). To do so, he
must run half the distance from A to B. But before he gets to that
point, he must run half that distance, and so on, infinitely.
can he leave the starting point?
How can motion be possible?
(so Parmenides thought of being as motionless...)
Collectively, a school of philosophers who rejected monism
(belief in a single unifying principle), and sought some sort of
middle way between the extreme empiricism of Heraclitus and the
extreme rationalism of Parmenides.
philosopher, poet, mystic.
w/ Parmenides that there is no absolute creation or
destruction of reality,
is relative change
is both change & permanence
permanent things: water, air, fire, earth.
explained by their combination & separation.
but why do
these combine, yet combine into separate things?
principle of unity- 'Love'
principle of individuation- 'Strife'
moral forces, opposed.
consider his theory in
The cosmos was at first undifferentiated 'love' (attraction)
at some point, 'strife'
four principles emerge:
Water, air, fire,
love combines the four
'locally' to form distinct elements,
formulas, i.e. bone is 2 parts earth, 2 parts water, 4
collide to form animal parts (eyes, arms, etc)
animal parts mix in random
some work, some don't.
Those that work
perpetuate through reproduction.
worth noting, as
Aristotle responds to him.
world as existing in an intermediate state between complete unity
and total separation. Which way was it headed?
Greeks, he believed that the world began perfect and was getting
Ionian, but moved to Athens to associate w/ Pericles
Athenian statesman and military leader credited w/ sparking the
city's Golden Age.
an advocate of Athenian democracy.
Athens for the first 2&1/2 years of the Peloponnesian wars.
Protagoras & Zeno were also associated w/him.
from Athens for declaring that the sun was a 'white-hot stone,'
not a god.
than claiming 4 elements, he believed that each kind of thing
had its own element (i.e. an infinite #)-
apparent change can only happen b/c that which appears is
already in that which changes.
simply, 'everything is in everything,'
we see is that which predominates.
Proposed 'Nous' (nouj,
or 'mind') as the source of movement and order in the cosmos.
This Mind is-
not 'in' other
& does not depend on
dualism? does Anaxagoras divide reality into 'mind' and
yet- for him, 'mind' is the rarest form of matter.
reality/being in terms of 2 principles: atoms & the 'void.'
atomoj, 'uncuttable') as unchangeable, eternal, and indivisible,
characteristics of being for Parmenides, above. But-
they are infinite
they differ quantitatively (size & shape)
they are qualitatively alike or neutral
Parmenides, they affirm the existence of what-is-not...
atoms move around/collide
in an unlimited emptiness
i.e., the void.
Democritus (460-360 BC) claimed:
without absolute direction (b/c there is no absolute 'up' or
atoms do not have absolute weight (true!- proven by space travel)
atoms do not rest- their motion is eternal.
of sensory perception can be explained on the basis of the above:
& motion of atoms produces
combinations and interactions between them resulting in
qualities perceived through sense experience.
bounce off of our senses,
is transmitted to the atoms that compose our (material) soul
'reads' this information & produces an image of the original object
that we experience.
the senses do not give direct knowledge of reality,
why it is perceived differently by different people.
distinguished 2 types of knowledge:
subjective, sensory knowledge of 'things as they appear' is inferior
knowledge of the true nature of things (atoms) achieved through
specifically scientific observation and mathematics.
Like Parmenides, his philosophy is paradoxical-
it runs contrary to
a theory that is seen as closer to Truth.
distinction was crucial to the scientific revolution-
the world as understood by science as superior to the world of the
Democritus himself saw the problem w/ this:
experience provides the materials reason must work with.
Democritus' ethical theory:
the soul (basically a cluster of very fine atoms) preferred gentle
motion (moderation) to the extreme movements of pain and excessive
our atoms disperse, thus the only life we have is here and now.
materialism leads to a 'prudent' hedonism.
to recognize before we move on:
Implications of the quest for a unifying principle (and universals)
Is reality reducible to a
single unifying principle? to a few? or not reducible?
Where, if anywhere, does
"T"ruth lie? In sensory perception? In
The Ontological Problem
What is the really real? What is only apparently
for permanence and change (real/illusory)
what is the relationship
between the two?
Distinction between 'Being' and 'Becoming';
what constitutes knowledge
and opinion, how are the two related?
what is 'non-being'? Can
it be meaningfully spoken of or defined?
what is 'mind'? How
is it related to matter?
How do we know what we
think we know? What makes the means by which we learn
one in which we can place confidence?
Should/must some things
be taken as self-evidently true, as intuitive "first
If not, is
philosophy even possible?
If so, what and why?
implications of philosophy for living (ethics)
how should one's
philosophy impact one's way of life?
is life-applicability a
valid test of a philosophical system's truth value?