- According to Heraclitus, everything is ceaselessly changing. In his argument, Heraclitus says, “all is fire”, which means that the only reality that exists is the reality of change. He argues that permanence does not exist, but it is an illusion. By using the phrase “all is fire”, the philosopher attempts to show that everything takes the nature of fire, which is the root substance of the world (Moore & Bruder, 2012). From this argument, one can derive some meaning when applying Heraclitus theory to the real world. Heraclitus’ theory of ceaseless change raises the problem of identity. For instance, his argument that nothing (including people) remains the same over time attempts to imply that an object is different from what it was yesterday.
- Empedocles considered two aspects of things- the whole object and the basic particles (fire, earth, water and air) that make the objects. This argument is relatively acceptable in the philosophy of science and nature because it takes into account the fact that things, including humans, are made up of small particles and cells that may not change over time.
- Anaximander thought that the basic substance out of which all other objects originates is ageless, indeterminate as well as boundless. The current scientific knowledge holds that the solar system and the universe are under the control of physical powers that hold objects in place.
- Parmenides sought to achieve his theory of reality by assuming basic principles and using them to deduce the nature of true being. In his conclusion, Parmenides argues that ‘being does not change’, which means that change does not exist or change is not possible. This is in contrast to Heraclitus theory that states that everything experiences ceaseless change.
- According to Protagoras, there is no absolute knowledge because the view of a person about nature and the world is valid and has an equal validity to that of another person. In his argument, Protagoras says that man is the measure of everything in the world. If Protagoras’ view is correct, then a person who thinks that finding a cure for HIV/AIDS is wrong because it promotes immorality is as correct as the person who discovers the drug.
- Pythagoras believed in numbers and quantities. According to his view, things exist in form of numbers- the same way a line is made of dots, surfaces make solids and solids make bodies. Pythagoras meant that things exist as things, with a beginning and an end, and can be enumerated. A thing can be distinguished from another thing because it exists in its own form, which can be calculated or enumerated.
- In his philosophy, Protagoras argues that objects are made of particles that experience change. Therefore, changes in objects of experience result from changes in these particles. Each object has its own kind of particles, but each object has all types of particles. Scientific knowledge has proved that matter is made of atoms. However, it is wrong for Anaxagoras to say that everything is infinitely divisible because once atoms are divided into their sub-atoms; they reach a point where they turn into energy and cannot be subdivide any more. This is relatively true because human mind holds knowledge acquired from the five senses and processes this information, yet the knowledge itself is not material thing.
- Although the ancient Greek philosophers developed several theories based on their perceptions of nature, it is worth applying the modern philosophy of science to determine their degree of truthfulness in relation to the nature of reality. This theory is correct because information is immaterial and is stored in neurons.
- The tripartite theory of soul states that soul is made of three parts- logical, high-spirited and appetitive. According to the theory, these three parts of the soul represent three broad classes within the society. Justice is the state of the whole in which each of the three parts functions devoid of interference from other functions. The function of the appetitive part is to produce or cause human pleasure. In fact, it is associated with the desire to gain material wealth. On the other hand, the “high-spirited” part is under the control of the logical part. However, it functions by defending the entire soul from internal and external forces.
- Derived from Socrates’ ideas, Plato’s theory of forms indicates that people can know forms because they exist in the world of forms for a long time even before they were born. Nevertheless, Plato fails to consider the argument that everything studied in science has form- he considers substance as the only thing that has form.
- Aristotle used his theory of the four causes to examine the causes of existence of something. In this theory, the first cause is known as “material cause”, which represents the state of movement of change. The second cause is known as “The Formal cause” and represents change or motion on an objecting resulting from the object’s aspects such as shape, nature or arrangement. Thirdly, efficient cause is the moving cause, which implies to agents of change or movement of an object. Finally, the final cause refers to the purpose or aim of an event such as change or movement.
- The ‘ten categories of being’ refer to other ways through which humans think about their world and nature. These categories help humans make judgments in regards to the quantity, place, relationships, quality, posture, time, activity, passivity and constitution of a substance. They are the basic classifications under which attributes to things are subsumed. It is evident that these ways or categories define how humans perceive objects and explain their nature or forms. In this case, humans define things according to what they see and tend to believe that the reality of nature exists in that form.
- According to this argument, forms are “universals” rather than circularity. They are something that more than one object can become. For example, different things of different types can assume many forms such as largeness, circularity or being blue. However, only one thing can be a person, which means that individuals are “particulars” rather than “universals”. In this case, it is worth noting that the argument is effective in showing the weaknesses of Plato’s theory of forms. Nevertheless, it does not explain the existence of things or the true nature of universals and forms. Therefore, he does not explain the nature of reality.
- Plato’s theory suggests the existence of two realms- the realms of particular and sensible things that do change and the realm of external things that are fixed and do not change. On the other hand, Aristotle says that ‘forms’ exist in ‘particular things only’, which are formed by ‘matter and Form’ (Moore & Bruder, 2012).
- Aristotle seems to argue that every event that produces or leads to the existence of an object must result from another event. In this case, it is worth arguing that the existence of every object or thing is an event influenced by another event. Thus, existence is not a paradox.
Moore, B. N., & Bruder, K. (2012). Philosophy: The power of ideas. New York, NY: McGraw Hill. Web.
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