Short Essay: Empedocles
February 24, 2013
Short Essay: Pre-Socratic Philosopher Empedocles
There were many pre-Socratic philosophers that changed the way we think today and that without them the world could have been a different place. Of the many philosophers that came before Socrates I believe that Empedocles was the most compelling because he took different perspectives on being that came before him and tried to reconcile them into one belief. Empedocles thought that “true reality is permanent and unchangeable, yet he also thought it absurd to dismiss the change we experience as mere illusion.” He thought that everything is made up of the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. These elements are able to create everything. Although everything around us changes, the elements maintain their integrity and remain the same. He also thought that cosmic forces acted on the elements in order to cause them to change, he called them Love and Strife. These two forces act as opposites where love creates and attracts where strife destroys and separates. His evidence is his knowledge on how solar eclipses work and also his experimentation that led to the discovery that water and air are separate substances. I find his ideas compelling because at the time there were conflicting ideas on the makeup of reality and being. The notion that the four elements make up everything and anything and that they are acted upon forces of nature that in turn create them or destroy them is surreal. Why? Because it seems that he was the first to go beyond single elements and single ideas of what being was and is. It seems to me like a cycle of life and death. It also seems that he paved the way for other Philosophers to look deeper than just the elements, just like the atomists did with their writings. I think that one practical example of this theory is plant life. For example during the four seasons plant life...
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