Presocratic philosophers

Presocratic philosophers - Heather Fackelman Great Books...

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Heather Fackelman October 15, 2007 Great Books and Ideas I Professor Chang Pre-Socratic Philosophers The monist philosophy is the cosmological belief that everything is comprised of one definitive substance. While Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes all believed in this essential principal, they all took the preceding ideas and built upon them, expanding their philosophies to answer a wider array of questions. Thales was the first to expand on this monist way of thinking. Thales, the first Western philosopher, sought to find a single source or common thread connecting all things in the universe. Through careful observation and reasonable evidence, Thales connected all things with water, believing that this was the one substance of which everything consisted. He made this assertion by observing that everything around him was affected by, made by, or nourished by water. Water was that common, underlying substance connecting all things. Thales pupil, Anaximander, took this idea and expanded upon it. While Thales argued that the earth was held up by water, questions arose asking what upheld that water. Anaximander sought to answer this question. He concluded that the earth is upheld because it is the center of the cosmos, supported only because it is an equal distance from everything else in the universe. Anaximander’s common source connecting all things was the principle of apeiron. Apeiron was the theory that “particular stuffs” appeared in pairs, more specifically, polar opposites. He used the
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example of hot and cold. Hot comes into existence because cold goes back to the apeiron. However, there were still questions left unanswered (Overview of Classical Themes, 65). Anaximander’s pupil, Anaximenes, further expanded on the monist principle. He proposed the idea that Pneuma is the “ultimate, pervasive spirit that holds the world together.” Anaximenes struggled with the issue that one thing could not contain various particular things, yet still be considered one, single thing. Instead of pairs of opposite things, Anaximenes put forward opposing processes of change: condensation and
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2008 for the course HONP 102 taught by Professor Garrett during the Fall '07 term at Montclair.

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Presocratic philosophers - Heather Fackelman Great Books...

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