By Julian Marias
Thorough and lucid survey of Western philosophy from pre-Socratics to mid twentieth century: significant figures, currents, traits, literature, value, and extra. worthwhile part on modern philosophy — Brentano, Ortega, Heidegger, others. the best straightforward background of philosophy on hand. "Brevity and readability of exposition..." — Ethics.
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Additional resources for History of Philosophy (Historia de la Filosofia)
Empedocles was a n e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y v i t a l a n d interesti n g person. H e w r o t e t w o p o e m s — O n Nature a n d The Purifications— w h i c h were i m i t a t e d b y L u c r e t i u s ; the fragments o f these t h a t are preserved contain very interesting religious, cosmological a n d biological ideas a n d , above a l l , a doctrine w h i c h is t r u l y philosophical i n nature. C O S M O L O G Y . W e shall merely enumerate the most i m p o r t a n t points o f Empedocles' cosmology.
P A R M E N I D E S ' " O N N A T U R E . " T h i s p o e m consisted o f a n i n t r o d u c t i o n o f great poetic power a n d t w o succeeding parts. T h e first p a r t Parmenides and the Eleatic School 21 dealt w i t h the way of truth, a n d the second w i t h the way of opinion. M o r e o f the first p a r t is preserved t h a n o f the second. W e w i l l l i m i t ourselves to p o i n t i n g o u t t h e most i m p o r t a n t passages o f the poem. I n the i n t r o d u c t i o n the poet is t r a v e l i n g the r o a d o f the goddess i n a chariot d r a w n b y spirited horses.
Empedocles tries to solve this p r o b l e m b y means o f the f o u r elements: air, fire, water a n d earth. T h i s marks the first f o r m a l appearance o f the four t r a d i t i o n a l elements. Empedocles says t h a t these elements, w h i c h are the roots of all things, p i f ai/ion-a iravriov, are opposites; they c o n t a i n the contrarieties o f d r y a n d d a m p , o f cold a n d w a r m . These roots are eternal. Empedocles bases this a f f i r m a t i o n o n Parmenides' t h i n k i n g , b u t he makes a new p o i n t : the E n t i t y o f Parmenides was a homogeneous sphere w h i c h c o u l d n o t change.