Philosophy Review - Philosophy Review Midterm Review...

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Philosophy Review Midterm Review Synopsis (Margaret Betz - Oct 18, 2011 9:10 am) All cultures try to explain and order the world around them. Hesiod and Homer offered a theology (origin story about the gods) to the Greeks. It offered them a picture of the world and their place in it. It also introduced the concepts of immortal and mortal (to which philosophers would later add the concept of Eternal). Philosophy began when individuals stopped taking the stories on face value as explanation of the world, challenging them for their reasonableness, taking a critical eye to them. The Pre-Socratic were nature philosophers who used aphorisms and began questioning the nature of the world (this is cosmology and metaphysics). The overarching issues were the question of how The One and Many co-exist and appearance vs. reality. Thales is called the first philosopher by Aristotle. He said "The cause and element of all things is water." Significant that he chose a natural element to try to explain the universe and refused to turn to the gods. This is a radical shift - Thales believed you need to look no further than this world to explain this world. He likely chose water because it constitutes a One and Many simultaneously. Also, Thales noticed how fundamental water is to the existence of all living things. He also said, "All things are full of gods" which is his version of struggling to speak of things having their essence present in them. Again, Thales is trying to explain the world without turning to the other worldly gods. Anaximander wrote of The One as Boundless. He presents the Argument against Infinite Regress in which he considers how each thing is caused or created by something before it, and concludes this can't go on infinitely. There must exist a beginning that had no beginning itself. The is the Boundless. It is "the source of the rest" and "encompasses all things." He describes it as divine (because it stands outside the natural order), imperishable, eternal, and indefinite. The many comes from the Boundless One through a "chaotic mixture" within a "vortex motion" in which like goes to like, and the diverse objects of the universe are formed. Heraclitus said Reality is in flux. Usding the metaphor of a river, Heraclitus claims the universe is marked by change, plurality, ambiguity and opposition. In one and the same object you can have opposing forces, (ex: "the way up and down are the same"). Yet even within change, things are still able to preserve an identity. (The same river despite new waters flowing).
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