ancient greek philosophy

Topics: Pre-Socratic philosophy, Pythagoras, Aristotle Pages: 5 (1874 words) Published: February 26, 2014
2. Trace the notion of opposites from the thought of Anaximander through the thought of the Atomists.

According to Anaximander, the worlds consists of opposites. The main opposites are wet-dry and hot-cold. These are conflicting opposites. For one to exist it has to overpower the direct opposite. For example, for the dry earth to exist it has to overpower the wet water. According to Anaximander, this is injustice to one another. Justice therefore has to be restored by the defeated opposite to fight against the other opposites. So the water has to fight the dry land and overpower it for justice to be restored. This occurs in a circle and also with time. He also states that all these movements are caused by the Apaeron which is the mover of all things. For Anaximander progress comes by the conflict of opposites. However, the coming of Aneximanes saw the disregard of the apaeron as the mover of all things. He argued that the Apaeron is unnecessary to explain the roots of influence. He is of the view that the roots of influence cannot be applied when it is not necessary and he went on to suggest that the Arche is air. He accepts that the world is composed of opposites but argues that the opposites are in no way at war with each other but rather that they coexist peacefully. He argues that the opposites continue in each other. So for the moon to come it does not have to fight the sun but the sun gives way to the moon. The same applies to hot and cold. In Aneximanes' view, progress is present on the fact that the opposites give way to each other and are present in one another. Furthermore, Pythagoras also saw the opposites coexisting and in harmony. He talks of the ten opposites which include light and darkness, good and evil, male and female, odd and even numbers. He argues that the good member of each pair must establish dominance over the other evil member. The subordinate must therefore acquiesce to be the subject. In his explanation of the odd and even numbers, he argues that the odd numbers are limited numbers which represent the active force effecting harmony on the unlimited which are the even numbers. He also talks of the effect of the high and low notes in music. He argues that the relationship between the high and low notes produces good music. All these according to Pythagoras fits in the cosmos. So according to Pythagoras, there is harmony between the opposites and this harmony is what brings about progress. However, even though Heraclitus accepted the notion of opposites, he rejected the idea that the opposites are at peace with one another. He argues that there is peace between the opposites. He argues that if there is peace between the opposites like what Pythagoras and Aneximanes claim, there would not be progress in the world. For example, if the sun expresses dominance over the moon and the moon accepts this dominance, there would not be night time and day time. To Heraclitus, the moon has to spend the whole day fighting the sun for night time to come. According to Heraclitus, it is this war between the opposites that brings about progress in the society and hence change is observed. He however argues that despite this change, there is something that remains. The coming of the pluralists saw a different dimension on the notion of opposites. They accept the existence of the four elements but argue that everything is constituted I everything. Their main focus was on the notion of reality being plural and not one. However Empedocles, one of the pluralists, took a swipe at the notion of opposites when he argued that the opposites brings changes. It is important to notice that these opposites are forces and not stuffs. Empedocles argues that change comes through composition and decomposition. So on one hand we have composition and on the other we have decomposition. He also argue that love and strife are agents of transformation and are principles of attraction and separation. Love attracts and...
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