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Lecture 4

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Western University
Classical Studies
Classical Studies 2900
Beate Gundert

Homer - 800 B.C. Early Greek Philosophy - 550 to 450 B.C. There was a dark age between this time when there was not much medicine. Passage # 10 • Explains a comparison between the effects of the pharmakon and everyday experi- ence (fig juice which thickens milk). • This is a very important statement. This is called explanation by analogy and is used in science and medicine. This cannot be observed directly but it is ex- plained by the process that can be observed. Early Greek Philosophy (550 to 450 B.C.) • Society is starting to develop. • Earthquakes were seen as caused by the God of the Sea (Poseidon) in the Homer age. Now, 200 years later, we find natural explanations for these events. ◦ Earthquakes are caused by the earth sitting on water. If the water moves, earth might split. ◦ Lightning and thunder is the wind bursting clouds. • The Gods are still important but don't dominate life completely anymore. • People are now interested in inquiring into the nature of the world ◦ How does it operate? ◦ What is it's shape? ◦ Is there unity behind all of these different appearances? • New development takes place in colonies at the fringes of the Greek speaking world. These colonies developed into trading centres. They traded with the Phoenecians and those from the Mediterranean. • When we think of astronomy, we think of Celsus. Between these times, people "night-watched". • Common principles between generalization and abstraction. • Homer was interested in particular events. Homer found and wrote about precise observation but does not try to generalize. Now, we find an interest in the investi- gation of the universe in general. Often these activities serve practical purposes such as navigation which is important for trade. Now, there is an interest in the in- vestigation of things just for the sake of investigating. We have here the attempt to explain the world by using reason and analogy. People then were interested in explaining the world in terms of materials and forces. • Phenomenon - understanding causes. ◦ Why is the sea water salty? Sun is like fire and heat attracts moisture - sun would evaporate the water and would leave what is course. This is why sea water is salty. These ideas might use processes from everyday experiences - for ex. cooking when fluid evaporates. • Phil (love)/soph (wisdom, wise)/ie - people who were engaged in this were termed later physiologoi because they were interested in the investigation of na- ture. Pre-socratics • They lived before Socrates. Socrates died in 339 before Aristotle (400). These peo- ple share the idea that despite the different appearances of phenomenon, it had an order and unity. • Underlying essence out of which the world is developed is conceived of as some- thing material. • The mikrokosmos share the same elements as the macrocosms - we can explain things inside the body with things of the outside of the body • Kosmos - beauty requires order. This is a common experience. • This order had always existed and would always be there. This is eternal and thus something divine. Gods are beings that do not die and thus they are divine. Therefore it was something that was admired but also could be explored. • Where did the world as it exists now, where did it
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