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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

3 minute philosophy: #empedocles

in summary

- thales (the 1st philosopher ever) thought that the entire universe was made of water

- heraclitus thought everything was made of fire

- anaximenes thought everything was made of air

- after examining the ideas of his predecessors empedocles concludes the universe is made entirely of the classical elements - air, water, fire and earth

- he theorised that objects moved according to what they were mostly made of (e.g. fire always goes up and earth always goes down)

- later attempts to improve the theory by shoe-horning in other elements didn't work

- but he did establish the 1st periodic table of elements (such as it was)

- and what he did was the primordial origin of the theory of atoms

- and he was heading in the right direction with his theory of forces

- he identified two forces - love and strife

- (today we know about 4 fundamental forces - gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear, weak nuclear) 

- love was the force that brought objects together and strife was the force that drove them apart

- he postulated on other proto-scientific theories that would be proved on the right line later (e.g. he postulated the universe was once condensed in a tight unmoving sphere constrained by the force of love and later exploded with strife into an expanding mass of stuff - very much like the big bang theory)

- (e.g. 2 - his theory of evolution - life 1st emerged as a bunch of disassociated body parts that came together in random ways to create fantastic creatures with random combinations - those more suited to survival due to their combinations of parts did survive)

- sources for this info also say he threw himself into a volcano and was carried into the heavens by an eruption and lives to this day on the moon

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