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It is disputed whether the last expression is to be taken literally, implying that the universe is God, or whether it is a metaphor to express God's perfection and omnipresence. With all his freedom of censure Xenophanes is far from claiming for himself that oracular authority which the Pythagoreans ascribed to the dicta of their master. 'It is not for man,' he says, 'to hope for certainty in these matters of high speculation. However well he speaks, he has not attained to knowledge, but only to probability at best?.'
The chief representative of the Eleatic School is Parmenides (b.515 B.C.). The fragments of his philosophical poem, collected by Mullach, amount to more than 150 hexameters. He disengaged the doctrine of Xenophanes from its theological form, and ascribed to Being what his predecessor had ascribed to God. His philosophy is the antithesis of that of Heraclitus. While Heraclitus said 'all is motion and change, the appearance of fixity is merely illusion of the senses;' Parmenides asserted, with distinct reference to him, that all that exists has existed and will exist the same for ever, that it is change and multiplicity which is illusory. It is only by thought we can become conscious of the really existent; being and thought are the same, sense can only give rise to uncertain opinion. In such language we see partly a protest against the vagueness of the conception of development or 'becoming,' by which the Ionic philosophers endeavoured to explain the origin of things, 'You say fire becomes water, but each thing is what it is, and can never be otherwise;' partly an idea of the indestructibility of matter; partly an anticipation of the later distinction between necessaryand contingent truth; thus one point dwelt upon by him was the impossibility of any separation of parts of space.
1 Και το μεν ουν σαφές ούτις ανήρ γένετ' ουδέ τις έσται ειδώς αμφί θεών τε και άσσα λέγω περί πάντων: ει γάρ και τα μάλιστα τύχοι τετελεσμένον είπών, αυτός όμως ουκ οίδε· δόκος δ' επί πάσι τέτυκται.
But though truth only belonged to the world of real existence, Parmenides condescended to give his romance of nature for the benefit of those who could not penetrate beyond the world of phenomena. He begins with two principles, light and darkness, also called fire and earth, or male and female; and supposes all things to proceed from their mixture. The existing universe consists of a central fire, the seat of the presiding Deity, and of several concentric rings of mingled light and darkness, bounded on the outside by a wall of fame. The first-born of Gods was Love, by whom the union of opposites is brought about. In this we may trace a reminiscence of the Hesiodic "Epws.
Zeno of Elea (b. 490 B.C.) is chiefly known from his arguments showing the absurd consequences of the ordinary belief in the phenomenal world. Parmenides must be right in denying motion and multiplicity, for their assertion leads to self-contradiction. Zeno was in consequence called the inventor of Dialectic.
His arguments, especially the famous 'Achilles,' still find a place in treatises on Logic'.
1 It is thus given by Mill (System of Logic II. 3852), “The argument is, let Achilles run ten times as fast as the tortoise, yet if the tortoise has the start, Achilles will never overtake him. For suppose them to be at first separated by an interval of a thousand feet: when Achilles has run those thousand feet, the tortoise will have got on a hundred: when Achilles has run those hundred, the tortoise will have run ten, and so on for ever: therefore Achilles may run for ever without overtaking the tortoise.'
The clearly marked opposition between the Ionic and the Eleatic views of nature, as shown in Heraclitus and Parmenides, had a powerful influence on the subsequent course of philosophy. Empedocles, Anaxagoras, and the Atomists agreed in accepting the Eleatic principle of the immutability of substance, while denying its absolute Oneness; and they explained the Ionic becoming' as the result of the mixture of a number of unchangeable substances. Empedocles of Agrigentum (b. 500 B.C.) 'than whom,' says Lucretius, ‘Sicily has produced nothing holier, more marvellous or more dear,' held that there were four eternal, self-subsistent elements or roots of things,' which were being continually separated and combined under the influence of Love and Hatred. At times Love has the upper hand, at times Hate. When Love has the complete supremacy the elements are at rest, united in one all-including sphere (palpos): when Hate prevails, the elements are entirely separate. The soul, like all other things, is formed by the mixture of the elements, and is thus capable of perception, for like can only be perceived by like'. In regard to the origin of living things, Empedocles imagined that the several parts or limbs were in the first instance produced separately in the bosom of the earth, eyes apart from brows, arms from shoulders, etc.; and that these were afterwards joined at haphazard, giving rise to all sorts of monsters, oxheaded men, men-headed oxen; and that it was only after successive trials that nature gave birth to perfect animals, fitted to survive and
to propagate their
γαίη μεν γαρ γαίαν οπώπαμεν, ύδατι δ' ύδωρ,
στοργή δε Στοργήν, Νεϊκος δε τε νείκεϊ λυγρώ.
race'. In his opinions on the Gods and on religion, Empedocles was chiefly influenced by Pythagoras. He believed in the existence of Daemons intermediate between Gods and men, some of which had passed into mortal bodies
an atonement for former sins, and could only be restored to their original state after long ages of discipline. While at one time he speaks of God as one spirit pervading the world in swift thought, in other places he speaks of Gods produced like men from the mixture of the elements, but possessed of a longer existence, and then again we find divinity attributed to Sphaerus and the four elements and two moving powers.
Empedocles closes the series of those philosophers who used the medium of verse for their speculations. We have still nearly 500 verses remaining of his two great philosophical poems (the Περί φύσεως and Καθαρμοί) so highly praised by Lucretius in the well-known lines
"Carmina quin etiam divini pectoris ejus
ut vix humana videatur stirpe creatus.' The claim to divinity seems to have been seriously pui forward by Empedocles himself in the line χαίρετ', εγω δ' υμίν θεός άμβροτος, ουκέτι θνητός, and one of the stories told about his death was that he had been carried up to heaven in a chariot of fire; the more common belief however seems to have been that reported by Horace
- deus immortalis haberi dum cupit Empedocles, ardentem frigidus Aetnam insiluit.
Returning now to Ionia, we see the effect of the Eleatic school in the speculations of Anaxagoras of
See the lines quoted in R. and P. § 175.
Clazomenae (b. 500 B.C.), the friend and teacher of Pericles and Euripides, of whom Aristotle says that his speculations, compared to those of his predecessors, were as sober reason contrasted with baseless vagaries ?. Instead of the four elements of Empedocles, which he declared to be themselves compounds, he assumed an indefinite number of 'seeds' of the different kinds of matter. To these seeds later philosophers gave the distinctive name of "homoeomeries,' denoting that the constituent particles of bodies were of the same nature as the bodies which they composed, while the unqualified atoms of Democritus gave rise to the different qualities of their compounds by the mode in which they were compounded. In the beginning these seeds were huddled together in a confused chaos, then came Nous, the pure self-moving intelligence, almighty and all-wise (this takes the place of the half-conscious Love and Hate of Empedocles), and communicated a rotatory impulse to the inert mass, by means of which the cognate particles were gradually brought together and reduced to order. Nous is the soul of the world and dwells in all living things, even plants, as the principle of their life. Whether Anaxagoras called it by the name of God is doubtful. Plato and Aristotle complain that, having begun well, he failed to make full use of the right principle with which he started, and turned his attention to mechanical causes, only having recourse to Nous as a deus ex machina when the others failed.
Diogenes of Apollonia in Crete was a younger contemporary of Anaxagoras, against whom he took up a reactionary position and defended the older Ionic doctrine, assuming Air to be the one principle out of which all things were produced, and assigning to it all the attri
1 Met. Α 984 B 17 νήφων παρ' εικη λέγοντας.