PHIL 100 Chapter 2: Philosophy Before Socrates: Nature Philosophy
Colorado State University
Richard B Mc Kita
Philosophy Before Socrates: Nature Philosophy
Problems of Early Philosophy: Xenophanes: The Gods as Fictions
• The One and The Many • Must be one god, not like mortals.
“If reality is in some sense one, what accounts for Xenophanes criticizes the Homeric gods _____.
the many different individual things… that we ➢ … as unworthy of our admiration and respect.
experience?” (Melchert 11) Xenophanes says that with respect to the truth ______.
➢ …even if we knew it, we couldn't know for sure
• Reality and Appearance that we knew it.
“Might reality in fact be very different from the way
it appears in our experience?” (Melchert 11).
• The Place of Humans in The Universe Heraclitus: Oneness in the Logos
• All things are in flux and in opposition.
“Who are we, and how are we related to the rest of • The world-order, fire, the logos.
what there is?” (Melchert 11). • Wisdom is understanding the logos.
Thales: The One as Water • Learning via sight, hearing, understanding.
• Looking to this world for explanation.
• Water as the cause and element of all things. • Happiness & Moderation: Internal
opposition is essential.
• All things are filled with gods. What, according to Heraclitus, is wisdom?
In saying that all things are full of gods, Thales ➢ Understanding the thought that steers all
apparently meant that ___________. things.
➢ …explanations of events in the world could be
explained in terms of events in the world.
Parmenides: Only the One
Anaximander: The One as the Boundless • The premises of his argument:
Thought and being are the same; nothing is not;
Problems with Thales' Hypothesis nothing cannot be thought.
“Even though water has…unusual properties of
appearing in several different states, water itself is The conclusions:
not unusual. It is… just one of th