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Burke Essay

1583 words - 6 pages

Eternity, "˜God's Existence' & The Pre-Socratics The Milesians and the majority of Pre-Socratic philosophers* which followed, all described the world in terms of some stuff or combination of stuffs, which the world evolved from. For the majority of the Pre-Socratic philosophers, the world was not created, but was somehow born out of this stuff, guided by some eternal principle. Moreover, the Pre-Socratics believed that the world always existed and will go on forever. Thales believed that this underlying stuff was water. Heraclitus thought it was fire driven by "˜Logos' (ie reason?). Pythagoras thought the world could be explained by the form of quantity (i.e. numbers). Anaximenes thought that it was air; Anaximander thought it was "aperion". It seems easy to come to Thales defense, considering the amount of water in the world; this would be a more likely hypothesis than the fire of Heraclitus or the recipes of elements, which Anaxagorus claimed.Answering the question: Has the world always existed ?(and will never end), requires that we separate the philosopher Promenades and Pythagoras from the other pre-Socratics because Parmenides and Pythagoras both give philosophies which explain why we should believe the world has always existed, whereas the other pre-Socratics do not provide any specific reason or argumentation, they only posit that the world is made of such and such elements guided by some principle. Parmenides reasons that the world does not change, that change is an illusion since being extends indefinitely. Parmenides claims that being is "˜One' and infinite. He calls the oneness of the world divine to refer to its everlastingness rather than some deity, so it may take some qualification before Parmenides is labeled a pantheist. Pythagoras reasons that everything which exists can be explained in terms of numbers, since numbers appear to transcend time, this is probably why he believed the world (i.e. quantity) always existed.In the final analysis, it seems that the answer to the question: Why did the Pre- Socratics think the world always existed? (and never end), cannot be found in any of their writing explicitly. The answer comes from what appears to be the common-sense idea that you cannot get something from nothing, and so there must have always been"¦ something. The "˜fragments' that are left from the Pre-Socratics and any mention of them from later philosophers do not give any particular explanation The Pre-Socratics assert that there has always been this stuff which existed, and from this stuff the world evolved, guided by some eternal principle. I assume that if these Pre-Socratics say that there has always been this stuff which existed, then the guiding principle (e.g. "Logos", "Love & Strife", "apeiron", "the One" of Parmenides, "Nous"), must have also always co-existed eternally, since why would these respective "˜eternal principles' come into being at...

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