Questions tagged [presocratics]

The presocratics were early Greek philosophers active during or before the time of Socrates.

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6answers
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Why is Aristotle's objection not considered a resolution to Zeno's paradox?

It seems to me, perhaps naïvely, that Aristotle resolved Zenos' famous paradoxes well, when he said that, Time is not composed of indivisible nows any more than any other magnitude is composed of ...
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Is knowledge possible in the Heraclitean system?

Heraclitus proposed that everything was in flux always: The Greeks before Heraclitus focused on the essence of things, its nature and being, which they deemed unchangeable. In contrast, Heraclitus ...
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Did Plato record actual conversations in his dialogues?

For example, Did Socrates really meet Zeno in Parmenides as a young man and the conversation that took place between them was recorded by Plato? Are ANY of Plato's dialogues recordings of actual ...
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Did Thales really argue this?

Neil deGrasse Tyson in “Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still” (Cosmos) says something to the following effect. The ancient Greek philosopher Thales argued that natural events such as weather patterns weren'...
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3answers
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Did a lot of Greek philosophers believe lying is impossible?

As I understand it, Parmenides and Heraclitus were two pre-Socratic Greek philosophers whose views could not be farther apart. Parmenides believed that all change is illusory, and that there is just ...
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Is Heraclitus really a Mobilist?

I learned that Heraclitus stressed the importance of change and the ephemeral nature of things in the cosmos. However, it seems that Heraclitus refers to a "logos": The opening of Heraclitus' book ...
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Why does Parmenides impose a limit on his Being?

Parmenides mentions twice in the poem what-is has limit in the part where he talks that what-is is “like the bulk of ball” (B8: lines 42, 49, pages 60, 61). 42: But since the limit is ultimate, ...
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755 views

If Parmenides denied the reality of void, would he then have affirmed the reality of space?

Lucretious, in his poem de rerum natura had atoms moving through the void. It seems at least from a modern perspective that his void is what we would call space. The interesting question, which I ...
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Were any pre-Socratic philosophers interested in building schools/academies?

Plato, as a lot of people know created the Platonic Academy, which focused on teaching many subjects, but didn't any pre-Socratic philosophers think of making an academy/school for teaching subjects ...
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1answer
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Why didn't Thales say the water is principle of matter, but the originating principle, according to Russell?

If I remember Russells Short History of Western Philosophy correctly, Russell unequivocally maintains that Thales was the first philosopher of note. He said: The world is made of water Russell ...
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1answer
899 views

What did Democritus talk about when he talked about “atoms”?

What did the ancient atomists, e.g. Democritus, say about the number of different sorts of atoms? Did they assume four sorts, corresponding to the four elements (earth, water, air, fire, water)? Any ...
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Is there a theory of time consistent with Heraclitus?

Heraclitus is recorded as saying: Upon those who step into the same river, different and again different waters flow (Arius Didymus, Dox. Gr.) It is not possible to step twice into the same ...
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1answer
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Is there any similarity between Parmenides and Berkeley on this score?

J. Barnes says: "Berkeley's argument is in direct line of descent from Parmenides” (The Presocratic Philosophers, p171). This sentence shows up right after he interpreted what Parmenides means by "...
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Lecture about presocratic cosmology [closed]

I want to make a lecture of 60 minutes to my students about presocratic cosmology and I would like some advices and book suggestions. Thanks
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If a cone is divided in a plane parallel to its base, are the surfaces produced by the cut the same or different in size?

Democritus of Abdera, the ancient philosopher of Greece, reasoned over two thousand years ago: If a cut were made through a cone parallel to its base, how should we conceive of the two opposing ...
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1answer
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Why are the hellenic philosophers before Platos time referred to as pre-socratic?

It seems plausible to me that they could equally have been called pre-Plato. Whats the significance of Socrates? Did he instill an ethical turn in Hellenic philosophy (or be seen to do so)?
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Is Protagoras the philosophical root of the “Turing Test”?

Wikipedia places the philosophical root of the "Turing Test" with Descartes. Clearly Descartes is incredibly valuable in this regard, and also in regard to "cogito ergo sum", which can be applied to ...
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Is Oedipus Rex as an encounter of reason with myth?

I'm interested in alternate readings of Oedipus Rex, as opposed to the orthodox modern position embedded in Philosophy since Freud. I've noticed, that the wikipedia entry on Sophocles treatment of ...
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1answer
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Why did Parmenides rely on a fantastic fable to explain a sensitive-refusing theory?

There's one point in Parmenides' philosophy where he distinguishes between the 'Way of the Truth' and the 'Way of the Doxa' in a poem called On Nature. In said manuscript, the philosopher states the ...
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Does Parmenides not face self-contradiction in his views on inquiry?

Parmenides holds that the purpose of inquiry is either to determine the existence of something (so as to say that whatever is, is indeed the case) or the nonexistence of something (so as to say that ...
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Weren't there any philosophers from Africa,America, Middle East before Socrates?

It seems that philosophy began from 2 locations, Asia and Europe, but were there any philosophers from Middle East ,America (south and north) and Africa? I mean, Asia and Europe weren't friends yet ...
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1answer
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Thales's views on marriage and sexuality

What were Thales's views on marriage and sexuality? Allegedly, when someone asked him why he didn't have children, he replied "Because I am fond of children."
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1answer
109 views

Question Concerning A Line From Empedocles Works

Here is the paragraph containing the line to which I referred in the title: The powers spread over the body are constricted, and many afflictions burst in and dull their meditations. After ...
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How to harmonise Empedocles theory of perception

In White Mythologies, in part a disquisition on poetics, Derrida quotes Du Marsais on metaphor: When we speak of the light of the mind, the word light is to be taken metaphorically; for just as ...
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1answer
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On the meaning of “θάνατός ἐστιν ὁκόσα ἐγερθέντες ὁρέομεν, ὁκόσα δὲ εὕδοντες ὕπνος”

Can someone give an explation on the meaning of "θάνατός ἐστιν ὁκόσα ἐγερθέντες ὁρέομεν, ὁκόσα δὲ εὕδοντες ὕπνος," a remaining fragment by Heraclitus. This website translated it as "All the things we ...
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How historically grounded is the standard narrative of the Irrationals in Antiquity?

Its commonly said that the Pythagoreans were unbalanced by the discovery of the irrationals; since their philosophy was predicated on ratios; ratios of two finite numbers. Still, it is natural to ...
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Which pre-Socratic believed the sun was a burning bar of iron?

I had it in my head that it was Anaximander, but I'm not finding it (and it's been a couple of decades since this concept was introduced to me;) Any help is much appreciated.
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Does pure Place have Being?

According to Aristotelian physics A vacuum, or void, is a place free of everything, and Aristotle argued against the possibility. Void doesn't seem to be the Parmenidian Non-Being. It still has ...
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5answers
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Paradox of motion in the emptiness

The philosophers of the Eleatic school, analyzing the nature of the movement, came to this paradox: in order for the body to move, it needs emptiness. But what is emptiness? This is what exists, but ...