July 1, 2012
Thesis Statement: Which of the Pre-Socratic Philosophers had the most compelling ideas?
I thought that the readings on the Pre-Socratic Philosophers were interesting just because people at this time were asking the same questions about how the universe and reality work the same questions we still ask today. I found that Anaxagoras, and his theories on the difference between matter and the mind, the most interesting. Anaxagoras taught metaphysics between 500b.c. and 428b.c.. Even with what we know today about atoms and their indefinite possibilities for change, Anaxagoras’ logic about how particles change still makes sense. (Moore & Bruder, 2008) Anaxagoras said that “each different kind of substance contains particles of every other kind” (Moore & Bruder, 2008, p.29). He and modern science tended to agree, which is shocking for then when he was living. His idea that fire contains more of the fire element than water does is both common-sense and clearly accurate. Even though “Aristotle and Plato both criticized him for conceiving of mind as merely a mechanical cause of the existing order” (Moore & Bruder, 2008, p30), Anaxagoras might have been on the right track when he said that the human mind was the best, purest, most-knowledgeable, and the highest power on earth. I think that Anaxagoras’ ideas and expressions are compelling because he tried to use his individual common-sense and logic to explain and understand the unknown parts of the universe. He did not do this to help himself, but to help the emerging era of science have some kind of reasonable and sensible explanations. The Pre-Socratic Philosophers ran the gambit in their beliefs about Metaphysics and Epistemology, from staggeringly creative to a little-bit crackpot.
Reference: Moore, B.N., & Bruder, K. (2008). Metaphysics and Epistemology: Existence and Knowledge...