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Encyclopedia > Empedocles
Western Philosophy
Pre-Socratic philosophy
Engraving of Empedocles
Name: Empedocles (Έμπεδοκλής)
Birth: 490 BC
Death: 430 BC
School/tradition: Pluralist School
Main interests: cosmogenesis and ontology
Notable ideas: All matter is made up of four elements: water, earth, air and fire.
Influenced: Gorgias of Leontini

Empedocles (Greek: Ἐμπεδοκλῆς, ca. 490-430 BC) was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher and a citizen of Agrigentum, a Greek colony in Sicily. Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the origin of the cosmogenic theory of the four classical elements. Much of Empedocles' work still survives today, more so than in the case of any other Presocratic. Empedocles' death was well recorded by his contemporaries, and has been the subject of both legend and a number of literary treatments. The Pre-Socratic philosophers were active before Socrates or contemporaneously, but expounding knowledge developed earlier. ... Download high resolution version (400x618, 149 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 540s BC 530s BC 520s BC 510s BC 500s BC - 490s BC - 480s BC 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC Years: 495 BC 494 BC 493 BC 492 BC 491 BC - 490 BC - 489 BC 488 BC... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 480s BC 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC - 430s BC - 420s BC 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC Years: 435 BC 434 BC 433 BC 432 BC 431 BC - 430 BC - 429 BC 428 BC... The Pluralist School was a school of presocratic philosophers who attempted to reconcile Parmenides rejection of change with the apparently changing world of sense experience. ... Cosmogenesis is the term created by the French Jesuit Priest and Scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the cosmological process of the creation of the Universe. ... // In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek , genitive : of being (part. ... Matter is the substance of which physical objects are composed. ... Chinese Wood (木) | Fire (火) Earth (土) | Metal (金) | Water (æ°´) Japanese Earth (地) | Water (æ°´) | Fire (火) | Air / Wind (風) | Void / Sky / Heaven (空) Hinduism and Buddhism Vayu / Pavan — Air / Wind Agni / Tejas — Fire Akasha — Aether Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth Ap / Jala — Water Water has been important to all peoples of the earth, and it is rich in spiritual tradition. ... Chinese (Wu Xing) Japanese (Godai) Earth (地) | Water (æ°´) | Fire (火) | Air / Wind (風) | Void / Sky / Heaven (空) Hinduism (Tattva) and Buddhism (MahābhÅ«ta) Vayu / Pavan — Air / Wind Agni / Tejas — Fire Akasha — Aether Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth Ap / Jala — Water Bön New Zealand Earth, home and origin of humanity, has often been worshipped in... Chinese (Wu Xing) Japanese (Godai) Earth (地) | Water (æ°´) | Fire (火) | Air / Wind (風) | Void / Sky / Heaven (空) Hinduism (Tattva) and Buddhism (MahābhÅ«ta) Vayu / Pavan — Air / Wind Agni / Tejas — Fire Akasha — Aether Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth Ap / Jala — Water Bön New Zealand According to modern science, Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Gorgias (in Greek Γοργἰας, circa 483-376 BC) // Introduction Due to his ushering in of rhetorical innovations involving structure and ornamentation and his introduction of paradoxologia – the idea of paradoxical thought and paradoxical expression – Gorgias of Leontini has been labeled the ‘father of sophistry’ (Wardy 6). ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 540s BC 530s BC 520s BC 510s BC 500s BC - 490s BC - 480s BC 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC Years: 495 BC 494 BC 493 BC 492 BC 491 BC - 490 BC - 489 BC 488 BC... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 480s BC 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC - 430s BC - 420s BC 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC Years: 435 BC 434 BC 433 BC 432 BC 431 BC - 430 BC - 429 BC 428 BC... Pre-Socratic philosophers are often very hard to pin down, and it is sometimes very difficult to determine the actual line of argument they used in supporting their particular views. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... Map of central Mediterranean Sea, showing location of Agrigentum (modern Agrigento). ... Sicily (Sicilia in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... Cosmogenesis is the term created by the French Jesuit Priest and Scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to describe the cosmological process of the creation of the Universe. ... Several ancient Classical Element Greek version of these ideas persisted throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, deeply influencing European thought and culture. ...

Contents

Philosophy

Empedocles was a pupil of Pythagoras, according to Diogenes Laertius, whose account of Empedocles in his Lives of Philosophers, VIII [1] provides most of our information. Empedocles delivered his philosophy in the form of epic verse. He maintained in Pythagorean fashion that all matter is made up of four elements: water, earth, air and fire. Empedocles called these the four "roots"; the term "element" (στοιχεῖον), was used only by later writers. Pythagoras of Samos (Greek: ; between 580 and 572 BC–between 500 BC and 490 BC) was an Ionian (Greek) philosopher[1] and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. ... Diogenes Laërtius, the biographer of the Greek philosophers, is supposed by some to have received his surname from the town of Laerte in Cilicia, and by others from the Roman family of the Laërtii. ... Matter is the substance of which physical objects are composed. ... Chinese Wood (木) | Fire (火) Earth (土) | Metal (金) | Water (æ°´) Japanese Earth (地) | Water (æ°´) | Fire (火) | Air / Wind (風) | Void / Sky / Heaven (空) Hinduism and Buddhism Vayu / Pavan — Air / Wind Agni / Tejas — Fire Akasha — Aether Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth Ap / Jala — Water Water has been important to all peoples of the earth, and it is rich in spiritual tradition. ... Chinese (Wu Xing) Japanese (Godai) Earth (地) | Water (æ°´) | Fire (火) | Air / Wind (風) | Void / Sky / Heaven (空) Hinduism (Tattva) and Buddhism (MahābhÅ«ta) Vayu / Pavan — Air / Wind Agni / Tejas — Fire Akasha — Aether Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth Ap / Jala — Water Bön New Zealand Earth, home and origin of humanity, has often been worshipped in... Chinese (Wu Xing) Japanese (Godai) Earth (地) | Water (æ°´) | Fire (火) | Air / Wind (風) | Void / Sky / Heaven (空) Hinduism (Tattva) and Buddhism (MahābhÅ«ta) Vayu / Pavan — Air / Wind Agni / Tejas — Fire Akasha — Aether Prithvi / Bhumi — Earth Ap / Jala — Water Bön New Zealand According to modern science, Earth’s atmosphere is a mixture of... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Apart from these four roots, Empedocles postulated something called Love (φιλία) to explain the attraction of different forms of matter, and of something called Strife (νεῖκος) to account for their separation. These ideas should not be confused with the four elements: if the elements are the content of the universe, then Love and Strife explain their variation and harmony. He was also one of the first people to state the theory that light travels at a finite (although very large) speed, a theory that gained acceptance only much later. Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness. ...


Though having much in common with Parmenides's ontology, Empedocles is considered softer and more tolerant in his outlook. Plato, in the famous Sophist dialogue, described Empedocles as a "gentle muse": Parmenides of Elea (Greek: , early 5th century BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea, a Hellenic city on the southern coast of Italy. ... // In philosophy, ontology (from the Greek , genitive : of being (part. ... PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... The Sophist (Greek: Σοφιστής) is one of the late Dialogues of Plato, which was written much more lately than the Parmenides and the Theaetetus, probably in 360 BC.After he criticized his own Theory of Forms in the Parmenides, Plato proceeds in the Sophist with a new conception of the Forms... A dialogue (sometimes spelt dialog[1]) is a reciprocal conversation between two or more entities. ...

Then there are Ionian, and in more recent times Sicilian muses, who have arrived at the conclusion that to unite the two principles is safer, and to say that being is one and many, and that these are held together by enmity and friendship, ever parting, ever meeting, as the-severer Muses assert, while the gentler ones do not insist on the perpetual strife and peace, but admit a relaxation and alternation of them; peace and unity sometimes prevailing under the sway of Aphrodite, and then again plurality and war, by reason of a principle of strife. (Plato, Soph.).

Empedocles was also a mystic and a poet, and Aristotle considered him the inventor of the study of rhetoric.[2] Gorgias of Leontini was his student, and it is probably from Empedocles that Gorgias developed the notion of rhetoric as magic[citation needed]. PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois (U of I) and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... Rhetoric (from Greek , rhêtôr, orator, teacher) is generally understood to be the art or technique of persuasion through the use of spoken language; however, this definition of rhetoric has expanded greatly since rhetoric emerged as a field of study in universities. ... Gorgias (in Greek Γοργἰας, circa 483-376 BC) // Introduction Due to his ushering in of rhetorical innovations involving structure and ornamentation and his introduction of paradoxologia – the idea of paradoxical thought and paradoxical expression – Gorgias of Leontini has been labeled the ‘father of sophistry’ (Wardy 6). ...


Empedocles' life, as recorded by Diogenes Laertius, was based partly on Timaeus' lost Histories and other sources, and seems at points to confuse him with other men of the same name. As a person he was reported by Diogenes as somewhat arrogant, that he "imitated the pompous demeanour, and way of life, and gestures of one master" Anaxagoras, dressing himself in purple and claiming that by the virtue of the knowledge he possessed he had become divine and could perform miracles, as in the case of a dead woman's body, that he notoriously preserved from corruption, exclaiming in verses that Diogenes quotes Timaeus (c. ... Anaxagoras Anaxagoras (Greek: Αναξαγόρας, c. ...

"I, an immortal God, no longer mortal,
Now live among you well revered by all,
As is my due, crowned with holy fillets
And rosy garlands."

Yet his actions and teaching betrayed an egalitarian streak, as in his opposition to a monument to Akron the physician, he fought to preserve Greek democracy and allowed that through his teaching others could also become divine[citation needed]. He even went so far to suggest that all living things were on the same spiritual plane, indicating he was influenced by Pythagorean spirituality. Like Pythagoras, he believed in the transmigration of souls between humans and animals and followed a vegetarian lifestyle. He also propounded a theory of struggle in the animal kingdom that in some ways prefigures natural selection.[3] Egalitarianism is the moral doctrine that equality ought to prevail among some group along some dimension. ... Pythagoras of Samos (Greek: ; between 580 and 572 BC–between 500 BC and 490 BC) was an Ionian (Greek) philosopher[1] and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism. ... Metempsychosis is a doctrine among some followers of Eastern teachings which expresses the theory of transmigration, that the human spirit may incarnate from one body to another, either human, animal, or inanimate, which is very different from the doctrine of reincarnation, which holds that man is an evolving being progressing... For animals adapted to eat primarily plants, sometimes referred to as vegetarian animals, see Herbivore. ... Darwins illustrations of beak variation in the finches of the Galápagos Islands, which hold 13 closely related species that differ most markedly in the shape of their beaks. ...


Empedocles is considered the last Greek philosopher to write in verse and the surviving fragments of his teaching are from his two poems, Purifications and On Nature.


Death and literary treatments

Diogenes Laertius records the legend that he died by throwing himself into an active volcano (Mount Etna in Sicily), so that people would believe his body had vanished and he had turned into an immortal god; however, the volcano threw back one of his bronze sandals, revealing the deceit. The legend is likely to have little truth within it; there is evidence that he actually died in Greece[citation needed]. Mount Etna (also known as Mongibeddu in Sicilian and Mongibello in Italian, a combination of Latin mont- and Arabic jebel, both meaning mountain) is an active volcano on the east coast of Sicily, close to Messina and Catania. ...


In Icaro-Menippus, a comedic dialogue written by the second century satirist Lucian of Samosata, Empedocles’s final fate is re-evaluated. Rather than being incinerated in the fires of Mount Etna, he was carried up into the heavens by a volcanic eruption. Although a bit singed by the ordeal, Empedocles survives and continues his life on the moon, surviving by feeding on dew. Lucian of Samosata (c. ...


Empedocles' death has inspired two major modern literary treatments. Empedocles's death is the subject of Friedrich Hölderlin's play Tod des Empedokles (Death of Empedocles), two versions of which were written between the years 1798 and 1800. A third version was made public in 1826. In Matthew Arnold's poem Empedocles on Etna, a narrative of the philosopher's last hours before he jumps to his death in the crater first published in 1852, Empedocles predicts: Friedrich Hölderlin Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin [] (March 20, 1770 – June 6, 1843) was a major German lyric poet. ... Matthew Arnold Caricature from Punch, 1881: Admit that Homer sometimes nods, That poets do write trash, Our Bard has written Balder Dead, And also Balder-dash Family tree Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic, who worked as an inspector of schools. ...

To the elements it came from
Everything will return.
Our bodies to earth,
Our blood to water,
Heat to fire,
Breath to air.

In 2006, a massive underwater volcano off the coast of Sicily was named after Empedocles [1].


References

  1. ^ Diogenes Laertes, VIII on-line text
  2. ^ In Aristotle's Sophist, according to Diogenes Laertes.
  3. ^ Empedocles, On Nature, vol. Book II

Further reading

  • Bakalis, Nikolaos (2005). Handbook of Greek Philosophy: From Thales to the Stoics. Victoria, B.C.: Trafford. ISBN 1-4120-4843-5. 
  • Burnet, John [1892] (2003). Early Greek Philosophy. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger. ISBN 0-7661-2826-1. 
  • Gottlieb, Anthony (2000). The Dream of Reason: A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance. London: Allen Lane. ISBN 0-7139-9143-7. 
  • Guthrie, W. K. C. [1965] (1978). in A History of Greek Philosophy, vol. 2: The Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-29421-5. 
  • Inwood, Brad (2001). The Poem of Empedocles, rev. ed., Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-4820-X. 
  • Kingsley, Peter (1995). Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-814988-3. 
    • Review by John Bussanich
    • Review by John Opsopaus
  • Kirk, G. S.; J. E. Raven, and M. Schofield (1983). The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History, 2nd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-25444-2. 
  • Long, A. A. (1999). The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-44122-6. 
  • Russell, Bertrand (1945). A History of Western Philosophy, and Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. New York: Simon and Schuster. 
  • Wright, M. R. (1995). Empedocles: The Extant Fragments, new ed., London: Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1-85399-482-0. 

John Burnet (1863–1928) was a Scottish classicist. ... William Keith Chambers Guthrie (1906 – 1981) was a Scottish classical scholar. ... Geoffrey Stephen Kirk (December 3, 1921-March 2003 ) was a British classical scholar. ... Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970), was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, advocate for social reform, and pacifist. ... Bertrand Russells A History of Western Philosophy : And Its Connection with Political and Social Circumstances from the Earliest Times to the Present Day has the ambitious goal of tracing Western philosophy from the earliest times to Russells modern day, which was the nineteen sixties. ...

External links

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Empedocles on Etna
Persondata
NAME Empedocles
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Εμπεδοκλής
SHORT DESCRIPTION Greek philosopher
DATE OF BIRTH ca. 490 BC
PLACE OF BIRTH Agrigentum
DATE OF DEATH ca. 430 BC
PLACE OF DEATH Agrigentum

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Roman Greece is the period of Greek history following the Roman victory over the Corinthians at the Battle of Corinth in 146 BC until the reestablishment of the city of Byzantium and the naming of the city by Emperor Constantine I as the capital of the Roman Empire (as Nova... This an alphabetical list of ancient Greeks. ... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders in history. ... // Lycurgus Lycurgus (Greek: , Lukoûrgos; 700 BC?–630 BC) was the legendary lawgiver of Sparta, who established the military-oriented reformation of Spartan society in accordance with the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi. ... Pericles or Perikles (ca. ... Alcibiades Cleiniou Scambonides (Greek: ; English /ælsɪbaɪədi:z/; 450 BC–404 BC), also transliterated as Alkibiades, was a prominent Athenian statesman, orator, and general. ... Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek: Δημοσθένης, DÄ“mosthénÄ“s) was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. ... This article cites its sources but does not provide page references. ... The Charioteer of Delphi, Delphi Archaeological Museum. ... The great kouros of Samos, the largest surviving kouros in Greece (Samos Archaeological Museum) The Ancient Greek word kouros meant a male youth, and is used by Homer to refer to young soldiers. ... The Lady of Auxerre, an example of a kore Kore (Greek - maiden), plural korai, is the name given to a type of ancient Greek sculpture of the archaic period, the female equivalent of a kouros. ... The Kritios boy belongs to the Late Archaic period and is considered the precursor to the later classical sculptures of athletes. ... The Doryphoros of Polykleitos The Doryphoros (Greek δορυφόρος, lit. ... Statue of Zeus The Greek sculptor Phidias created the 12-m (40-ft) tall Statue of Zeus in about 435 bc. ... Townley Discobolus, London, British Museum, with incorrectly restored head defying the balance of the figure The Discobolus of Myron (discus thrower Greek Δισκοβόλος του Μύρωνα) is a famous Roman marble copy of a lost Greek bronze original, completed during the zenith of the classical period between 460-450 BC. Myrons Discobolus was... -1... The statue of Laocoön and His Sons, also called the Laocoön Group, is a monumental marble sculpture, now in the Vatican Museums, Rome. ... Phidias Showing the Frieze of the Parthenon to his Friends by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema Phidias (or Pheidias) (in ancient Greek, ) (c. ... Death of Sarpedon, painted by Euphronios Euphronios was a Greek painter and potter of red-figure vases, active in Athens between 520 and 470 BC, the time of the Persian Wars. ... Polykleitos (or Polycletus, Polyklitos, Polycleitus, Polyclitus) the Elder was a Greek sculptor of the 5th century BC and the early 4th century BC. Next to famous Phidias, Myron and Kresilas he is the most important sculptor of the Classical antiquity. ... Minotaur, from a fountain in Athens, reflecting Myrons lost group of Theseus and the Minotaur (National Archeological Museum, Athens) Myron of Eleutherae (Greek Μύρων) working 480-444 BCE, was an Athenian sculptor from the mid-fifth century BCE.[1] He was born in Eleutherae on the borders of Boeotia and...


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Empedocles [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy] (5561 words)
Empedocles’ world-view is of a cosmic cycle of eternal change, growth and decay, in which two personified cosmic forces, Love and Strife, engage in an eternal battle for supremacy.
Empedocles' physics have a particularly biological focus as is indicated by his choice of the botanical metaphor of 'roots’ for what were later called 'elements'.
Empedocles is an exponent of the pangenetic theory of embryology.
Empedocles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (824 words)
Empedocles' philosophy is best known for being the origin of the cosmogenic theory of the four classical elements.
Empedocles maintained that all matter is made up of four elements (which he called roots): water, earth, air and fire.
Empedocles was also a mystic and a poet, and some consider him the inventor of the study of rhetoric
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