• you start off arguing about particulars (specific things or individuals) and move on to
universals (general things/concepts)
•Universal definition (forms):
- having a definition that is irrefutable is a sign of knowledge
- you cannot be something if you cannot articulate it as a universal definition
MATERIALISTS: MONISTS VS. PLURALISTS
• Anaximander: the indefinite (apeiron)
• Anaximenes: air
Anaximenes was the only one to give some account to his concept of air being the basis of
everything. He believed it was the variation in temperature and density that made air
appear as so many different things when really they were all made of the same basic thing.
•Anaxagoras: all things in existence are made of the same mixture; they just get separated
and combined differently. Anything that we see or deal with is real, it’s a matter of things
recombining and emerging into visibility in just the right way. Everything is mixed into
everything; it’s a matter of separation and combination. The reality is that what really exists
never changes; the 4 elements are constantly mixing and combining in different ways in
repetitive cycles. There is no such thing as coming to be and perishing.
•Empedocles: like Anaxagoras believed in all things being composed of the same 4 elements,
however he also introduced the idea of ‘love’ and ‘strife’ being the cause of why things
combine and separate, they work in a cycle where sometimes love is more dominant and
sometimes strife is more dominant. It is the ratios of elements that affect what we are seeing,
we know what the material matter of everything is, but what separates each mixture from
another is the ratio.
•Democritus: an atomist that believed that everyone had a different view on different things,
everyone has different experiences and therefore there would be conflicting views. He
thought that the nature of eternal things consists in small substance, limitless in quantity.
The differences that account for change are: shape, colour, and position. All things are atoms,
there is nothing else, they just appear in different forms.
Difference between Anaxagoras and Empedocles:
Anaxagoras believed that everything is made of everything (homoiomeros) whereas Empedocles
believed that everything was made up of some combination of the 4 elements (earth, air, fire, water)
through love and strife. Anaxagoras makes the principles infinite, both the uniform parts and the
opposites, whereas Empedocles makes them only the so called elements.
Atomists: Leucippus and Democritus