PRESOCRATICS: The Pythagorians. Two Philosophical Visions. Milesian Materialism Natural science Metaphysical materialism Methodological empiricism (knowledge = based on sense evidence) Human = natural being with reason Science/philosophy = purely theoretical.
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(knowledge = based on
The Pythagoreans took hold of mathematics, and were the first to advance that study, and being brought up in it, they believed that its principles were the principles of all the things that are.
The principle of all is the monad (the One); arising from this the Duality is substratum to the monad; from the monad and the dyad arise numbers, including the Three (life) and the Four (justice); from numbers, points; from points, lines, plane figures, solid figures, sensible bodies, the elements of which are fire, water, earth and air; these interchange and combine to produce a universe animate, intelligent, spherical, with the earth at its centre.
--Diogenes Laertes on the Pythagoreans
Mathematics = rational order in the cosmos
M I N D / N U M B E R
Being= the One + (Even + Odd)
(arche, “origin” or principle)
M A T T E R
Orderly physical world
(taonta, “all things”)
Note: ‘Mind’ not = separate, but immanent
Harmonic ratios in music
Medieval depiction of ratios
“Harmonic Relations” in Palladio’s Villa Capra
“Harmonic Relations” in Le Corbusier’s Modular
He [Pythagoras] declares that the soul is immortal; and that it changes into other kinds of animals; in addition, that things that happen recur at certain intervals, and nothing is absolutely new; and that all things that come to be alive must be thought akin. Pythagoras seems to have been the first to introduce these opinions into Greece. –Aristotle
Pythagoreans: soul =
Gods are called “Immortals” in Homer, men “brotoi,” i.e. mortal ones. To assert the immortality of the soul was the same as saying, “Man is a kind of god.” This was an utterly new idea for the Greeks.
- Guthrie, Greeks & their Gods
The other revolutionary idea was that liberation (katharsis) came through living the “Pythagorean Way” … in the traditional Greek religion, religious practice was mostly confined to public ritual.
--Burkhardt, Ancient Religion
In Croton, a communal form of life arose of men and women bound together by the strict rules of the Pythagorean existence. Whoever entered such a group had to renounce private possessions; he underwent a five year period of silence; if he turned apostate, he was treated as dead, and a gravestone was erected for him.
Compares to which medieval institution?
There are both physical and spiritual beings
Physical laws = mathematical ideals that matter follows
The universe and its laws = ‘rational’ by nature
Humans = immortal souls in animal bodies
Humans can discover by reason universal norms