5 okotber 2007 hari kamis
AND THE MODEL OF ECUMENISM
It is difficult to read a newspaper or a magazine, or listen to the radio or television, without coming across some mention of the phenomenon of globalization. What is meant by globalization, however, is not always clear; what is clear is that it is something which presents a number of challenges to existing institutions (and to those affected by these institutions), and to which one must respond. In this paper, then, I want briefly to explore what globalization is, to identify what some of these challenges are, and to suggest how philosophical reflection provides some insights and a means by which one might appropriately respond to such challenges.
What is globalization? While the term `globalization' is relatively new -- the word `globalize' was coined only in 1944 -- the phenomenon of globalization itself is not. To `globalize' -- meaning "to make global; especially to make worldwide in scope or application"1 -- entails action and interaction, across borders and across continents, and the spread of cultural, economic, and political ideas (particularly by way of trade, industry, technology, the arts, letters, music and religion) throughout the world. Thus, perhaps the earliest, genuinely worldwide, wave of globalization was not, as some claim, that marked by the series of economic, social, and political changes which followed the Second World War or the recent collapse of the Soviet Union, but that of the empires of western Europe -- Spain, England, France, and Portugal -- in the 16th and 17th centuries and the concurrent missionary activities of Christianity. There have been other waves of globalization since then, such as secularization, which originated in
Today, `globalization' is thought of as predominantly economic, i.e., as being principally focused on trade and investment, and, particularly, global competition and deregulation.2 Yet, as the preceding definition indicates, this economic trend or process is intermingled with a number of underlying political and cultural conditions and values, and it is primarily because of these conditions and values that globalization has had the effects it has. This interplay of the economic, the political, and the cultural has, of course, always been the case. For example, early waves of globalization, fueled by missionary zeal and supported by the territorial ambitions of European rulers, changed or replaced or built not only political, but religious and economic institutions in lands far distant from their source. Globalization, then, generally produces changes in the economic, the political, the social, and the religious environments -- though not all of these are affected at the same time and to the same degree.
Today's globalization has elicited a mixed response, but again this is not surprising for this, too, has always been the case with movements that have a globalizing character. Eighteenth century secularism (that, in many respects, continues to be present) brought with it ideas of individual liberty, autonomy, democracy and, later, socialism. In so doing it both challenged existing traditions and changed the ways of understanding one's place in the world. While some welcomed these changes to social, political and religious institutions, and to how individuals understand themselves within these communities, others were left confused, disoriented or feeling marginalized. The response to contemporary globalization has been similarly mixed -- though it is worth noting that this response is not one that is divided just along `east/west' or `north/south' lines, but reflects a division of opinion that exists within many of the nations of the world.
Perhaps the principal reason why contemporary globalization has given rise to such a divided response is that, as an economic process, it is often identified with international capitalism and, as a political and cultural process, it has generally been associated with interests that have their origins in `the West.' According to many, the underlying rationality of globalization is `instrumental rationality,' its underlying principles are `universal' principles, and the mass culture it is said to bring with it, seems not to respond to, but merely to replace the cultures it encounters. Those who are opposed to globalization hold that, as these interests and principles spread, they marginalize local traditions and practices, and impose not only the answers and values of `others,' but come to dominate even the way in which communities and nations pose questions that relate to their self-understanding. Because globalization is not controlled by any one country or government (and, certainly, not by many of the countries affected by it), critics further insist that it undermines local political institutions and is fundamentally non- or anti-democratic.
Yet some have insisted that these putatively negative features of globalization are not as extensive and pervasive as has been claimed, and they have argued that there are aspects of globalization that are quite positive. While they may lead to the disruption and the transformation of some values, the vehicles of globalization also bring some positive values and provide means of preserving `local' culture and traditions. For example, consider the existence of the electronic media and, more recently, the Internet which allow members of national and cultural groups new and more effective ways of communicating with one another and of promoting their culture and traditions. These means have not only helped maintain language and culture, but have permitted community, even with those who, through emigration, are in `the diaspora.'3 More importantly, perhaps, globalization has brought about an increased consciousness of principles of justice, equality, and rights (e.g., through human rights declarations, conventions, and education), has encouraged people to demand that these rights be respected, and has even led to the creation of institutions that are broader than the nation state, whereby life, liberty, and security of the person can be defended, and whose authority leaders of nation states cannot simply ignore. It has also brought about the means of effecting reform. More and more, capacities exist that allow people to remove themselves from the arbitrary restrictions of local authorities, to pursue and to exchange knowledge, information, and ideas internationally, and to bring their concerns to the notice of a wider community. Through the communications technology that comes with globalization (and a socially responsible use of this technology), for example, it becomes increasingly easier for a people to express its will. Furthermore, environmental action, and international safety and security (e.g., versus terrorism) are more effectively pursued when individuals and groups can draw on the information technology that globalization depends on and promotes. In bringing together not only a wide range of ideas and practices but of people from radically different backgrounds, globalization has contributed to the creation, in many countries of a much more pluralistic ethos. These positive results, then, are also consequences of globalization, its underlying forces and ideas, and the technologies it has encouraged and employed.
In any event, however positive or negative its effects, globalization is a fact. There has admittedly been a strong reaction to it. Think, for example, of the work of scholars, such as Saskia Sassen and Mahdi Elmandjra,4 who have advanced a sustained theoretical critique of globalization. Think, as well, of the demonstrations in developing countries, such as
Globalization, therefore, presents us with a number of challenges -- and these challenges include: how to react to the ideas and values that seem to be part of globalization; whether one can find a way of directing, transforming or redeeming the process of globalization in order to address such problems as poverty, disease, oppression, and lack of education, that affect people the world over; and whether it is possible to limit the influence of globalization in certain spheres and, thereby, allow for the continuity of local cultures and traditions. Responding to these challenges is not an easy task, since we must also acknowledge that there are positive effects of globalization and, therefore, take account of the concerns of both those favoring and those opposing it.
Indeed, some might say that the parties and the interests here are so far apart that either there can be no solution, or the solution can only be `political' or a matter of mere expediency and compromise, and not rational or principled. This is, perhaps, one of the greatest challenges occasioned by globalization -- that is, to determine whether we can articulate general, fundamental principles which will enable us to manage or control it.
In the next few pages, I want to suggest that one can meet the preceding challenges of globalization -- i.e., find ways to `redeem' it, to ensure that it is responsive to basic human needs, and to direct it so that it can address at least some of the concerns of those who find that they have benefitted little from it -- without rejecting it. Specifically, I will argue that philosophical reflection shows that there is, or can be, common ground shared by critics and proponents of globalization alike, and that this can provide a basis for a constructive response to the challenges globalization presents.
IN SEARCH OF A PHILOSOPHY FOR GLOBAL TIMES
The key to a constructive response to globalization, then, is to find a point from which a broad range of groups and individuals -- including those who, to varying degrees, already have a role in promoting economic, political, and social globalization -- can identify common interests and use them to decide how to direct it. How might philosophy be helpful here?
Some philosophers, such as John Rawls,6 Norman Daniels,7 and Kai Nielsen,8 have claimed that decision making within a pluralistic ethos requires us to abandon `foundationalist' strategies -- i.e., strategies which restrict reasoned discussion to inference from axiomatic and universal `first principles.' They hold that interlocutors -- individuals and collectivities alike -- can arrive at certain common principles via a kind of wide reflective equilibrium (WRE). Thus, if individuals from different cultures and different perspectives can find some `neutral ground' from which to start discussion, the process of WRE will allow them to come to a consensus about the ideas and values that are appropriate to the discussion and -- in the present case, for example, -- to address such questions as the character and direction of globalization.
Now, some consider this approach to be just the importation of another `western' `rationalist' perspective into public debate, under the guise of `neutrality.'9 Consequently (though without making a judgment on the appropriateness of the strategy of WRE), I want to suggest another option -- that we take the example of ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, and that, through a philosophical analysis of what is involved in this, we see whether we can discern or articulate a way of decision making that would allow ongoing discussion of the relative merits of globalization and of directing (redeeming, if you will) its activities. Such an approach could, I would also suggest, allow a wide range of potential participants to `have a place at the table,' and ensure that the ideologies of a few do not arbitrarily make a rule for all.
THE ECUMENICAL MODEL
What is "ecumenism"? Webster's Dictionary defines it as a movement "promoting cooperation and better understanding among different religious denominations;" the new Oxford Dictionary states that it is "the doctrine, or quality, of universality (especially of the Christian church)." The etymology of the word is Greek. It is ultimately derived from the word oikos (household), which might thereby suggest something narrow and insular, though its actual root is oikoumene -- "the whole inhabited world." Though there is a tension of `household' and `world' in the etymology of `ecumenism,' this etymology also suggests a kind of unity where, despite the differences among communities, all can live and work together.
The origins of ecumenism are in the early 20th century within the Christian religious tradition and, as it is generally understood, it aims at Christian unity (though, in fact, it has come to extend beyond that). As a religious movement, ecumenism professes to try `to know, understand, and love others as they wish to be known and understood.'10 It seeks to avoid confrontation, to `find what is shared,' but also to locate where, exactly, individuals or groups disagree, to find ways of bringing the parties together to live and work in harmony or cooperatively, and perhaps to discern `new' (or previously unrecognized) truths.
The ideal of ecumenism rests on certain presuppositions about the nature and character of the traditions and perspectives it addresses, though it would take these to be fairly non-controversial. It presupposes, for example, 1) that different religious (and, similarly, non-religious) perspectives or faiths are ultimately committed to the recognition of truth, and of acting on this; 2) that these different perspectives -- and particularly those which have lasted over time -- actually do contain `truth' (either in terms of propositions affirmed or, in a more extended sense, of commitments); 3) that there is, therefore, a truth or set of truths which all do or can come to share, and that therefore all faiths or discourses share in some truth; 4) that no one group has articulated or can articulate all the truth -- that there can be a growth in one's understanding of one's own truth; 5) that these truths are to be found in the values and the facts present in the experience, discourse, and other practices of believers; 6) that one's `local' or `personal' views -- that is, one's religious or other basic commitments -- are inseparable from what one is, and cannot coherently be `hived off' or separated into a private sphere, independent of the public realm; and 7) that it is with these basic commitments that all discussion must begin. Thus, ecumenism would challenge the claims that a `secularist' separation of the public and private is possible, that a separation of private conviction from public discourse is necessary for social harmony, and that a secularist position is neutral -- viewing this instead as another `commitment' to be brought into dialogue.
Though ecumenism is, admittedly, a `western' institution or practice, as we see in the preceding paragraph, what distinguishes it from a number of other approaches is that it acknowledges the fact and the legitimacy of diversity, and it acknowledges that one need not search for a `neutral' territory, independent of one's basic beliefs and commitments, for discussion with others to begin. It also reminds us that no one has a complete understanding or an exhaustive knowledge of the ideas and values of one's own tradition, and it notes that it is sometimes through contact with others that we may come to be able to arrive at a more complete understanding and articulation of them. As suggested above, ecumenism requires that the participants deal with one another in a spirit of humility.
But while respecting differences, the aim of ecumenism is not just cooperation, but finding what unites. Moreover (and unlike those who advocate wide reflective equilibrium), it presumes that the participants actually do or can share something fundamental, and it sees its range as `global' -- as `worldwide in scope or application.' It is also neither relativistic nor an approach that is ultimately contractarian or conventional. Further, while it recognizes that there are differences -- legitimate differences -- among traditions, it also holds that this diversity does not extend so far that the different groups, i.e., national, cultural and religious are incommensurable with, or irredeemably separated from, one another. In short, while ecumenism acknowledges the legitimacy and value of difference, it aims at the mutual recognition of unity, but this unity is not identity or uniformity.
The `participants' in the ecumenical enterprise can and do, then, have radically different religious commitments. Indeed, ecumenism is not just an inter-Christian activity, but inter-religious; one sees Christian-Buddhist, Hindu-Christian, to a lesser degree Muslim-Christian, and even Christian-atheist, e.g., Christian-Marxist exchanges. Yet, it has had at least some measure of success -- and so it is worthwhile for philosophers to ask what it is about ecumenism that has enabled it to have this success without resulting in relativism or subjectivism, or taking one's own or one's neighbor's religious, or non-religious, commitments any less seriously.
ECUMENISM AS OPENNESS
What underlies the possibility, and the success, of ecumenism? It is not that the participants believe that their respective religious perspectives are somehow `reducible' to one or another or are subsumable under one umbrella-like religious denomination. Undoubtedly, success depends on the respect of others in their "differences," noted above. But more than this is necessary for people of sometimes quite diverse backgrounds and traditions to be able to meet and find common ground on which they can build. A central factor in the success of ecumenical dialogue, I would suggest, is that those involved accept that there are interests, values, and concerns among people of different religious, political, and cultural traditions that all share, and -- on a more theoretical plane -- that these values, interests, and concerns are shared because there is a fundamental non-arbitrary relationship between them and how the world -- reality -- is. Specifically, they are shared because they reflect something basic about what it is to be a human person, e.g., the kind of being -- physical, mental, moral and spiritual -- that humans are, and the kinds of needs such beings have. That these interests and values and so on are shared is, in short, not coincidental.
What are these basic interests and values?
At the most elementary level, there is the recognition of the nature and value of life itself. To have human life there must be certain objective and material conditions, e.g., the presence of food, water, related resources, shelter and security, as well as the possibility of satisfying not only fundamental physical, but also intellectual, moral and spiritual needs. At an equally elementary level, for a people or any group of persons to live and thrive, they have to recognize that these interests, needs and goals, are common interests, needs and goals, and have to share or be capable of sharing a discourse and sets of practices with others that enable these interests to be pursued. They must also recognize individually the importance of these needs and, perhaps, interests and goals, and the superiority of some values to others, though they can, at least, begin to disagree about which values are superior to others.
However, but there is another set of material or quasi-material conditions that must exist, and that is necessary for the immediately preceding elementary conditions to exist. First, there must be a recognition of one another as human beings with whom we can live and act and, second (which is not actually independent of the first), that we do or can share a number of beliefs, attitudes and opinions about how nature works, what basic human needs are, how we might or must satisfy these needs, and so on. We might call these `dominant ideas.'
It is important to recognize that these `dominant ideas,' or the kinds of beliefs that human persons must share in order to interact with other persons, are not arbitrary or casual. Since many of these ideas are about the nature of reality and, specifically, about human needs and basic desires, they are not things that people can simply choose to have or not have. Indeed, they are also often the kinds of beliefs from which one derives one's sense of self and which determine or allow conscious and purposeful action in the future. The details or specific character of these beliefs can, of course, vary -- they can be ideas reflecting gender, ethnicity, religion, and so on -- and some become more or less dominant, depending on the surrounding circumstances. In broad terms these ideas -- for example, our understanding of `person,' `need,' `life,' and `future,' and, arguably, `like us' and `not like us,' which reflect gender and ethnicity -- are the kinds of ideas that, if we gave them up, we would (as one might in conversation say) no longer be who we were before. These dominant ideas have, in fact, a claim on us and provide a way through which we understand the world around us.
Finally, the success of ecumenism depends on the shared recognition that our basic interests and values are rooted in, or include, something fundamental that accounts for what we are and what we need, explains the relevance of these values, and so on -- something that is not explained solely by, nor is reducible to, the set of presently existing human individuals. This recognition seems to be essential to those who participate in any ecumenical discussion though there is more to the faith and religious belief of the participants than this.
Ecumenism recognizes, then, that religious belief is not just about a transcendent reality, but is also about this world. It holds -- as many, if not most, religious believers hold -- that the truths of religion are truths which concern and affect human life and flourishing in concreto. These basic interests and values related to our understanding of ourselves and our world underlie our distinctively religious beliefs as a whole, and it is because these interests and these values are or can come to be seen as also basic to the religious beliefs of others, that discussion and dialogue among those of different religious denominations can begin. Ecumenical dialogue generally does not start off by asking, `What is the divine?'; a more productive starting point may be the question, `What is it to show love to our fellow human beings?'
The success of ecumenism -- that it is able to go beyond a superficial level of coexistence and cooperation -- requires not only that there must at least be a mutual readiness to `be open' to others, but also a mutual recognition of others as human beings with whom we share, or are capable of sharing, certain dominant ideas -- ideas which reflect or come to reflect a common understanding of what human beings objectively are, and of at least some of the things that are necessary for such beings to live and flourish. This openness and this recognition can, however, take place from within the perspective of one's own religious tradition. Moreover, as noted above, while ecumenism acknowledges that there are basic ideas and values that are objective and authentic, it also allows that these values are i) not always fully articulated, and ii) in some sense incomplete and that they grow and evolve (and must grow and evolve) because the world in which we live is incomplete and grows and evolves. This is consistent with, if not demanded by, the view that if there is a god or absolute principle that is not reducible to the finite, then no one interpretation or set of interpretations of that `being' is sufficient to express it. Thus ecumenism admits that there can be some `truth' in the views of others.11 Thus, there can be inter-creedal or inter-cultural discourse and debate about these ideas and values, without calling into question the objectivity of values; one can come to a deeper and more enriched understanding of one's own values and can acquire a greater knowledge and appreciation of what is of value through this interaction with others.
Of course, it may well be that, at times, one group will not be able to go far in communicating with another on certain issues because sometimes the circumstances under which the discussants meet have become rather complex, and the interest in discerning or finding what does or can unite must be rekindled. (Here we might think of the difficulties involved in bringing together warring ethnic groups who live in the same country.) But there is no reason to think that such difficulties are insurmountable and such breakdown in communication irremediable.
In short, then, the project of ecumenism rests on the presupposition that it is possible for individuals from disparate groups to come to recognize together the existence of certain shared interests and dominant ideas. As I have suggested above, there is good evidence to believe that such dominant ideas do exist and are, or can be, shared with others. At the same time, the success of ecumenism reminds us as well that the presence of such ideas is not inconsistent with a diversity in national, cultural, and religious origin.12
PHILOSOPHY IN AN ECUMENICAL MODEL
Now how can this `ecumenical' model help philosophy or philosophers in addressing the challenges of globalization? Can globalization be pursued in a way that respects both basic common values, e.g., about the interests and needs of human beings, and cultural diversity?
Let us recall certain characteristics of globalization, and what, exactly, these characteristics imply or might entail.
As noted above, the process of globalization leads to an interdependency among institutions in different countries, and may even lead to the establishment of new social, political and cultural institutions on a world-wide basis. In doing so, many practices and institutions previously existing will inevitably disappear. In general, globalization is a complex process that reflects a number of features, including features which we can describe as `values,' and it both presupposes and tends towards establishing certain values as universal.
Now, such a move towards interdependency and unity is obviously not based on mere force and obviously not opposed to many of the values people have. Globalization assumes that there are human interests, needs, and wants that are common or general and which already exist, or must come to exist, on a global level. This is plausible, as the example of ecumenism suggests. Indeed, some values involved in globalization are consistent with, or are the same, `local' values. It is, arguably, because of these features that what globalization brings or does has been able so quickly to `take root' in different economic or political environments. Still, this is not to say that all the ideas and values accompanying globalization are ideas and values that should be dominant.
Moreover, while globalization presupposes that there are values that are or can be global, this does not entail that it is monolithic in character. Because it is not the product of a single, comprehensive set of static cultural and political ideas and values, globalization can take root and develop in a country in a variety of ways. But it is not just because the precise circumstances of its origin vary (e.g., what specific `globalizing' phenomenon is being referred to, and what particular interests and needs give rise to it) that the process of globalization will differ somewhat from one culture to another. It is also because, when it `arrives' in a new environment, it does not enter into a vacuum. Globalization must take account of both the material reality and the dominant ideas in a society; it has to respond to `the environment' into which it enters, and so its effects will inevitably be different. One sees this as well when one considers previous waves of globalization where, based on the specific character of the societies it came into contact with, one later found distinct manifestations or variations of Christianity, e.g., Latin American Christianity, or democracy, e.g., Indian democracy, or economic system, e.g., African socialism.
Again, it is important to recall that not all of the values that have accompanied globalization are values that are unique to, or inherent in, globalization. Because some may actually be incidental to globalization in general, they can be rejected without thereby rejecting globalization itself. Even where core values of globalization differ from or conflict with local values, in order to succeed, as we have seen, globalization has to be brought into contact with and, to an extent, accommodate itself to the basic values and interests characteristic of the cultures into which it enters. At least some of the values that accompany globalization have to be open to change, for the process of globalization to continue.
Finally, it is important to recognize that globalization itself does not carry with it a complete set of values and ideas. Because globalization is a process and a product of a range of interests and `forces,' it is to some degree incomplete and possibly (inevitably?) inconsistent with certain needs and basic values. So, it is by no means unreasonable to consider bringing such a process into line with these needs and values.
The preceding points then further suggest or entail three things. First, they suggest that some -- perhaps many -- of the values that have accompanied globalization are open to modification and change and, therefore, that they can be changed. For example, the way that competition and commerce are engaged in can be consistent with a respect for the well-being of communities. The preceding account also reminds us that globalization is not an impersonal or natural force, but it involves the conscious actions of human agents and, so, can be controlled by them. Finally, these features of globalization suggest that even if there is a tendency towards interdependency, this does not eliminate or preclude all diversity. There is no obvious reason why global economic strategies cannot accommodate national and local `differences;' national cultures and institutions can retain a distinctive character even with the existence of international markets.
Given these features of globalization, one can say that globalization is (at least in principle, and very likely in fact) consistent with pluralism. Indeed, one might argue that the preceding account of globalization entails that, to be truly global, it must be pluralistic. For, if one holds that no single set of ideas, beliefs, commitments, and practices can exhaust all human possibilities, and if one acknowledges that individuals do live and develop in different geographical, economic, social and political circumstances, it would be inconceivable that, even where there are common features, all would or could end up with a monolithic or static cultural, social, economic or political structure. Further, given the preceding features, globalization need not -- and, in fact, should not -- be anti-democratic and inattentive to local conditions. The existence of the information technology that has accompanied globalization can in principle, as noted at the beginning of this paper, ensure the continued presence and development of local and regional cultures -- though this development may lead at times in unanticipated directions.
Still, it is clear that globalization also leads to changes in values and in dominant ideas. It challenges established institutions -- but, of course, all that is new and different does so. Nor is challenge to local values and ideas an obviously bad thing, because it is far from clear that local culture is something that ought to be protected from outside influences or ought to be entirely controlled by local authorities.
These features and consequences of globalization show then that the interdependency or the unity that globalization may bring is consistent with the recognition of basic human needs and values or of the value of cultural diversity. Globalization is not monolithic, and it is not likely to be inflexible and static. Besides, globalization is not a blind force, but the consequence of acts of individual agents, and it is a process that, as we have seen above, can be responsive to other values and interests. If this is correct, then it is possible to consider orienting, or re-orienting, the forces or values accompanying globalization and, arguably, to `redeeming' or reforming the process of globalization itself. Still, the fundamental question is: How is this to be done? This again is where philosophy comes in.
A PHILOSOPHICAL RESPONSE TO GLOBALIZATION
So what is the role of philosophy in addressing the challenges of globalization? The central claim of this paper is that philosophy can help to discern and, thereby, provide a `discourse' -- modeled after that implicit in ecumenism -- that can serve as a context in which a reasonable response to these challenges can be achieved.
Specifically it is by identifying and pointing to the basic interests, dominant ideas, and values that we can or do already have in common with others, that philosophy can help to locate shared, though not neutral, ground, and articulate or make clear a space or discourse in which discussion can take place with those of other cultures and, by extension, with those having different stands on globalization. Indeed, for even the most elementary communication with, let alone criticism of, those having other perspectives to be possible, there has to be such a shared discussion. Philosophy also reminds us that, given the `open-endedness' of human life, we will inevitably be `called out' from where we are -- that we have much to learn, that what we have to learn is not simply arbitrary or purely subjective (because it can involve human needs and interests), and that this learning involves entering into relations with those `not like us.' Ecumenical dialogue -- a dialogue which has these features as well -- can, therefore, plausibly be a model for an exchange that can lead not just to consensus, but to the mutual recognition of a course of action as objectively best.
Philosophical analysis of the phenomenon of globalization itself indicates, furthermore, that the values that one finds in globalization are not, and cannot be, complete and exhaustive and that -- because they need to be consistent with certain basic facts about the world and about the nature of human persons -- an attempt to bring them into coherence with these facts is appropriate. It shows as well that it is possible that one could `redirect' or reform some of the values and trends that have accompanied globalization, specifically those that have come into conflict with other important values and traditions. Given the model of ecumenical dialogue, philosophy can discern or arrive at general fundamental principles to govern discussion between both those who can be described as agents of globalization and those who would oppose them.
Nevertheless, in showing how one might go about responding to the challenges of globalization, philosophy also reminds us that more is involved here than having globalization conform to an a priori set of universal values, principles or dominant ideas. For example, it indicates that the influences of globalization -- the influence of the knowledge of other cultures, of scientific discovery and of spiritual or religious experience -- may entail that we must enunciate or `invent' new `structures of meaning'13 that will allow us better to take account of, and more fully grasp, the changing and evolving environment in which we live. Of course, this is not done in a vacuum; such activity will reflect existing dominant ideas, principles, and values. As the model of ecumenism suggests, no one has a complete or fully articulated set of values and ideas, and the presence of globalization in a society may in fact be an occasion for one's dominant ideas and values to develop or change.
This last point does not mean that individuals or societies must concede or capitulate to all of the influences of globalization. Still, we have to understand not only the negative but the positive aspects of globalization if we wish to have some control over it. No culture should long refuse to engage these influences -- nor, in fact, can it since the present wave of globalization is so significant that one's views and even commitments may develop without one being aware of it. Consider how the presence of computers affects how many understand or talk about the mind or consciousness. Just as societies have to respond to the material conditions of reality, i.e., the material and quasi-material conditions for life, so, in order to grow and flourish, they have to address the challenges presented by changes in the social, political, religious or economic environment. No society and no individual has any ground for holding that all of what one believes and is committed to is exactly the way it should be and is infallible. And we should note as well that even those who seek to avoid certain aspects of the world around them, e.g., Hutterites and the Amish in North and
Of course, the experience of globalization may be unsettling because, as noted above, our present commitments and beliefs cannot remain just as they are. And even though some of the values and ideas of globalization are open to change, it does not follow that we will be able to pick and choose from them as it suits us. And so we might even challenge Mill's justification for pluralism in On Liberty. Since globalization brings with it new values and ideas, we may be forced to ask questions we do not know how exactly to answer and we may be challenged to answer why our old questions are in fact appropriate or useful questions. Indeed, one may find oneself having to express one's thought in a larger `reality,' i.e., a context that includes elements `foreign' to those to which one is accustomed. All the same, one should not take the preceding remarks as implying that one must simply accept the fact that one can be forced to express one's thought in `another reality.'
This call to invent new structures of meaning, or to recognize that one may have to express one's thought in a `larger reality,' is, however, really nothing more than a demand of the character of conscious life -- which reflects, after all, the influence of the culture, ideas, and material environment around it -- and it is a demand that one cannot escape. Taking globalization seriously and responding to its challenges, are simply features of acknowledging the existence of the ideas and values of others, and of taking other persons seriously. As one comes to put one's thought into coherence with this `larger' experience, one's ideas will inevitably change and develop. But, even if this is unsettling, the preceding analysis assures us that globalization is not something that we must fear.
If, however, after all of this, one still claims that his or her culture must exclude or reject external or `foreign' influences, and that an `ecumenical model' of discourse -- along with the recognition of shared concepts of life and human flourishing -- must be rejected, it is unclear not only how one can constructively, or even effectively, deal with the phenomenon of globalization, but also how one's own culture and values can develop and flourish, i.e., survive.
Globalization and the ideas, forces and technologies that it brings with it are here to stay. What I have tried to defend in these pages is the claim that there is a positive way in which one can respond to globalization -- one that calls for a `participative construction'14 and transformation, rather than a mere rejection or fatalistic acceptance, of it.
Specifically, I have argued that there is no epistemic impediment to globalization, and that the success of ecumenism gives us a reason to believe that those involved in and affected by globalization can enter into fruitful dialogue with one another in order to `orient' the process of globalization so that it is consistent with respect for persons and with a significant measure of individual and cultural diversity. Philosophy, drawing on the model of ecumenical dialogue, can help to define or describe this discourse, by identifying values and dominant ideas which all do or can share, and by ensuring that these values and ideas are coherent with the material and quasi-material conditions for human flourishing. Moreover, using a discourse modeled on ecumenism to engage the challenges of globalization not only would be compatible with, but also would promote cross-cultural community and mutual understanding; it would not entail ignoring diversity or starting from some `neutral' ground where individuals have to abandon their own basic values, dominant ideas and commitments, and it would not produce a bland homogeneity. Thus, the interdependency and unity that globalization brings may be consistent with -- and may even demand -- diversity. But the ecumenical model of discourse, described above, is also one that, though respectful of people's `starting points,' acknowledges that they must -- whether they like it or not -- sometimes reevaluate what their basic beliefs and dominant ideas mean and, when necessary, go beyond them and, thereby, better reflect values and interests which make a genuinely human life possible.15 We can have confidence, then, that there can be a constructive response to the challenges that globalization presents, and that philosophy has an important role in this.
1. Merriam Webster Dictionary.
2. In this sense, globalization is `a process of increasing economic activity towards the integration of national economics into a single world economy, for example, with increased trading opportunities.'
3. See Anthony M. Stevens‑Arroyo, "Syncretic sociology: towards a cross‑disciplinary study of religion," Sociology of Religion 59 (1998): 217-20.
4. Mahdi Elmandjra, Premiere guerre civilisationnelle (Casablanca, Maroc: Toubkal, 1992). For some other recent critical studies, see Saskia Sassen, Globalization and Its Discontents (New York: New Press, 1998), and Eleonore Kofman and Gillian Youngs, Globalization: Theory and Practice (New York: Pinter, 1996).
5. One evidence of economic globalization is the presence of multinational or transnational corporations and the influence of international economic agreements in countries such as
6. See John Rawls, A Theory of Justice (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1971). The initial articulation of reflective equilibrium is found in his "Outline of a Decision Procedure for Ethics," Philosophical Review 60 (1951): 177-197.
7. See Norman Daniels, "Wide Reflective Equilibrium and Theory Acceptance in Ethics" in Journal of Philosophy 76 (1979): 256-282; "Reflective Equilibrium and Archimedean Points," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 10 (1980): 83-103; Justice and Justification: Reflective Equilibrium in Theory and Practice (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996). See also J. Raz, "The Claims of Reflective Equilibrium," Inquiry 25 (1982): 307-330.
8. See "In Defence of Wide Reflective Equilibrium" in Ethics and Justification (ed. Douglas Odegard), (Edmonton, AB: Academic Publishers, 1988), pp. 19-37, and "Relativism and Wide Reflective Equilibrium," Monist 76 (1993): 316-332.
9. See, for example, Hendrik Hart and Kai Nielsen, Searching for Community in a Withering Tradition: Conversations between a Marxian Atheist and a Calvinian Christian (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990).
10. See Decree 12 of the
11. As Aristotle writes, `No one is able to attain the truth adequately, while, on the other hand, no one fails entirely, but every one says something true about the nature of things' (Metaphysics II, 993a27‑993b2).
12. I have argued elsewhere as well that this is compatible with pluralism. See my "Communities of Values and Ecumenism," in The Future of Value Inquiry, (ed. Matti Häyry and Tuija Takala), Nordic Value Studies, (
13. I owe this notion to Professor H. Daniel Dei of the Universidad de Morón,
14. See Vincent Shen, "Construction of Meaningful World in I Ching -- on the Origin of Chinese Philosophizing," in Philosophical Challenges and Opportunities of Globalization (ed. George F. McLean), (Washington, DC: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 1999).
15. By way of illustration, some societies make efforts to ensure that basic human needs are met, but fail to recognize basic individual human rights; other societies may explicitly recognize human rights, but in a way that is simply formal and not substantive. For human life to flourish, however, it is clear that there must be both the satisfaction of needs and the recognition of rights, and so these societies must move beyond where they are.
IT was at Miletos that the earliest school of scientific cosmology had its home, and it is not, perhaps, without significance that Miletos is just the place where the continuity of
It should be added that the Lydian alliance would facilitate intercourse with
The founder of the Milesian school, and therefore the first man of science, was Thales;4 but all we can really be said to know of him comes from Herodotos, and the Tale of the Seven Wise Men was already in existence when he wrote. He says that Thales was of Phoenician descent, a statement which other writers explained by saying he belonged to a noble house descended from Kadmos and Agenor.5 Herodotos probably mentions the supposed descent of Thales simply because he was believed to have introduced certain improvements in navigation from
3. The Eclipse Foretold by Thales
The most remarkable statement Herodotos makes about Thales is that he foretold the eclipse of the sun which put an end to the war between the Lydians and the Medes.8 Now, he was quite ignorant of the cause of eclipses. Anaximander and his successors certainly were so,9 and it is incredible that the explanation should have been given and forgotten so soon. Even supposing Thales had known the cause of eclipses, such scraps of elementary geometry as he picked up in
Now it is possible to predict eclipses of the moon approximately without knowing their true cause, and there is no doubt that the Babylonians actually did so. It is generally stated, further, that they had made out a cycle of 223 lunar months, within which eclipses of the sun and moon recurred at equal intervals of time.11 This, however, would not have enabled them to predict eclipses of the sun for a given spot on the earth's surface; for these phenomena are not visible at all places where the sun is above the horizon at the time. We do not occupy a position at the centre of the earth, and the geocentric parallax has to be taken into account. It would only, therefore, be possible to tell by means of the cycle that an eclipse of the sun would be visible somewhere, and that it might be worth while to look out for it, though an observer at a given place might be disappointed five times out of six. Now, if we may judge from reports by Chaldaean astronomers which have been preserved, this was just the position of the Babylonians in the eighth century B.C. They watched for eclipses at the proper dates; and, if they did not occur, they announced the fact as a good omen.12 To explain what we are told about Thales no more is required. He said there would be an eclipse by a certain date; and luckily it was visible in
4. The Eclipse Foretold by Thales
The prediction of the eclipse does not, then, throw any light on the scientific attainments of Thales; but, if we can fix its date, it will give us an indication of the time at which he lived. Astronomers have calculated that there was an eclipse of the sun, probably visible in
5. Thales in
The introduction of Egyptian geometry into Hellas is ascribed to Thales,18 and it is probable that he did visit
6. Thales and Geometry
As to the nature and extent of the mathematical knowledge brought back by Thales from
7. Thales as a Politician
Thales appears once more in Herodotos some time before the fall of the Lydian monarchy. He is said to have urged the Ionian Greeks to unite in a federal state with its capital at Teos.28 We shall have occasion to notice more that once that the early schools of philosophy by no means held aloof from politics; and, there are many things, for instance the part played by Hekataos in the Ionian revolt, which suggest that the scientific men of Miletos took up a very decided position in the stirring times that followed the death of Thales. It is this political action which has gained the founder of the Milesian school his undisputed place among the Seven Wise Men; and it is owing to his inclusion among those worthies that the numerous anecdotes told of him in later days attached themselves to his name.29
8. Uncertain Character of the Tradition
So far as we know, Thales wrote nothing, and no writer earlier than Aristotle knows anything of him as a scientific man and a philosopher; in the older tradition he is simply an engineer and an inventor.30 It is obvious, however, that the requirements of Milesian enterprise and commerce would necessarily turn his attention to problems which we should call astronomical. He was said, we saw, to have introduced the practice of steering a ship's course by Ursa minor;31 and there is a remarkable persistence in the tradition that he tried to do something for the calendar, though the details are not sufficiently well attested to find a place here.32 No doubt he constructed a παράπηγμα like those of much later date which have been discovered at Miletos.33 The παράπηγμα was the oldest form of almanac, and gave, for a series of years, the equinoxes and solstices, the phases of the moon, the heliacal risings and settings of certain stars, and also weather predictions. Even Aristotle does not pretend to know how Thales arrived at the views he ascribes to him or by what arguments they were supported. This very reserve, however, makes it hard to doubt that he was correctly informed with regard to the few points about them he mentions, so we may venture on a conjectural restoration of his cosmology. This, of course, must be taken for just what it is worth.
9. The Cosmology of Thales
The statements of Aristotle may be reduced to three:
(1) The earth floats on the water.34
(2) Water is the material cause35 of all things.
(3) All things are full of gods. The magnet is alive; for it has the power of moving iron.36
The first of these statements must be understood in the light of the second, which is expressed in Aristotelian terminology, but would undoubtedly mean that Thales had said water was the stuff of which all other things were transient forms. We have seen that this was the great question of the day.
Aristotle and Theophrastos, followed by Simplicius and the doxographers, suggest several explanations of this doctrine. Aristotle gives them as conjectures; it is only later writers that repeat them as if they were quite certain.37 The most probable view seems to be that Aristotle ascribed to Thales the arguments used at a later date by Hippon of Samos in support of a similar thesis.38 That would account for their physiological character. The rise of scientific medicine had made biological arguments popular in the fifth century; but, in the days of Thales, the prevailing interest was not physiological, but meteorological, and it is from this point of view we must try to understand the theory.
Now it is not hard to see how meteorological considerations may have led Thales to adopt the view he did. Of all the things we know, water seems to take the most various shapes. It is familiar to us in a solid, a liquid, and a vaporous form, and so Thales may well have thought he saw the world-process from water and back to water again going on before his eyes. The phenomenon of evaporation naturally suggests that the fire of the heavenly bodies is kept up by the moisture they draw from the sea. Even at the present day people speak of "the sun drawing water." Water comes down again in rain; and lastly, so the early cosmologists thought, it turns to earth. This may have seemed natural enough to men familiar with the
The third of the statements mentioned above is supposed by Aristotle to imply that Thales believed in a "soul of the world," though he is careful to mark this as no more than an inference.40 The doctrine of the world-soul is then attributed quite positively to Thales by Aetios, who gives it in the Stoic phraseology which he found in his immediate source, and identifies the world-intellect with God.41
Nor must we make too much of the saying that "all things are full of gods." It is not safe to regard an apophthegm as evidence, and the chances are that it belongs to Thales as one of the Seven Wise Men, rather than as founder of the Milesian school. Further, such sayings are, as a rule, anonymous to begin with, and are attributed now to one sage and now to another.44 On the other hand, it is probable that Thales did say the magnet and amber had souls. That is no apophthegm, but more on the level of the statement that the earth floats on the water. It is just the sort of thing we should expect Hekataios to record about Thales. It would be wrong, however, to draw any inference from it as to his view of the world; for to say the magnet and amber are alive is to imply, if anything, that other things are not.
12.The Life of Anaximander
Anaximander, son of Praxiades, was also a citizen of Miletos, and Theophrastos described him as an "associate" of Thales.45 We have seen how that expression is to be understood (§ XIV).
According to Apollodoros, Anaximander was sixty-four years old in Ol. LVIII.2 (547/6 B.C.); and this is confirmed by Hippolytos, who says he was born in Ol. XLII. 3 (610/9 B.C.), and by Pliny, who assigns his great discovery of the obliquity of the zodiac to Ol. LVIII.46 We seem to have something more here than a combination of the ordinary type; for, according to all the rules, Anaximander should have "flourished" in 565 B.C., half-way between Thales and Anaximenes, and this would make him sixty, not sixty-four, in 546. Now Apollodoros appears to have said that he had met with the work of Anaximander; and the only reason he can have had for mentioning this must be that he found in it some indication which enabled him to fix its date. Now 547/6 is just the year before the fall of Sardeis, and we may perhaps conjecture that Anaximander mentioned what his age had been at the time of that event. We know from Xenophanes that the question, "How old were you when the Mede appeared?" was considered an interesting one in those days.47 At all events, Anaximander was apparently a generation younger than Thales.48
Like his predecessor, he distinguished himself by certain practical inventions. Some writers credited him with that of the gnomon; but that can hardly be correct. Herodotos tells us this instrument came from
13. Theophrastus on Anaximander's Theory of the Primary Substance
Nearly all we know of Anaximander's system is derived in the last resort from Theophrastos, who certainly knew his book.52 He seems once at least to have quoted Anaximander's own words, and he criticised his style. Here are the remains of what he said of him in the First Book:
Anaximander of Miletos, son of Praxiades, a fellow-citizen and associate of Thales,53 said that the material cause and first element of things was the Infinite, he being the first to introduce this name of the material cause. He says it is neither water nor any other of the so-called54 elements, but a substance different from them which is infinite; from which arise all the heavens and the worlds within them.—Phys. Op. fr. 2 (Dox. p. 476; R. P. 16).
He says that this is "eternal and ageless," and that it "encompasses all the worlds."—Hipp. Ref. i. 6 (R. P. 17 a).
And into that from which things take their rise they pass away once more, "as is meet; for they make reparation and satisfaction to one another for their injustice according to the ordering of time," as he says55 in these somewhat poetical terms.—Phys. Op. fr. 2 (R. P. 16).
And besides this, there was an eternal motion, in which was brought about the origin of the worlds.—Hipp. Ref. i. 6 . (R. P. 17 a).
He did not ascribe the origin of things to any alteration in matter, but said that the oppositions in the substratum, which was a boundless body, were separated out —Simpl. Phys. p. 150, 20 (R. P. 18).
14. The Primary Substance is Not One of the Elements
Anaximander taught, then, that there was an eternal, indestructible something out of which everything arises, and into which everything returns; a boundless stock from which the waste of existence is continually made good. That is only the natural development of the thought we have ascribed to Thales, and there can be no doubt that Anaximander at least formulated it distinctly. Indeed, we can still follow to some extent the reasoning which led him to do so. Thales had regarded water as the most likely thing to be that of which all others are forms; Anaximander appears to have asked how the primary substance could be one of these particular things. His argument seems to be preserved by Aristotle, who has the following passage in his discussion of the Infinite:
Further, there cannot be a single, simple body which is infinite, either, as some hold, one distinct from the elements, which they then derive from it, or without this qualification. For there are some who make this (i.e. a body distinct from the elements) the infinite, and not air or water, in order that the other things may not be destroyed by their infinity. They are in opposition one to another—air is cold, water moist, and fire hot—and therefore, if any one of them were infinite, the rest would have ceased to be by this time. Accordingly they say that what is infinite is something other than the elements, and from it the elements arise.—Arist. Phys. Γ. 204 b 22 (R. P. 16 b).
It is clear that Anaximander is here contrasted with Thales and with Anaximenes. Nor is there any reason to doubt that the account given of his reasoning is substantially correct, though the form is Aristotle's own, and in particular the "elements" are an anachronism.56 Anaximander started, it would seem, from the strife between the opposites which go to make up the world; the warm was opposed to the cold, the dry to the wet. These were at war, and any predominance of one over the other was an "injustice" for which they must make reparation to one another at the appointed time.57 If Thales had been right in saying that water was the fundamental reality, it would not be easy to see how anything else could ever have existed. One side of the opposition, the cold and moist, would have had its way unchecked, and the warm and dry would have been driven from the field long ago. We must, then, have something not itself one of the warring opposites, something more primitive, out of which they arise, and into which they once more pass away. That Anaximander called this something by the name of φύσις is the natural interpretation of what Theophrastos says; the current statement that the term ἀρχή was introduced by him appears to be due to a misunderstanding.58 We have seen that, when Aristotle used the term in discussing Thales, he meant what is called the "material cause,"59 and it is hard to believe that it means anything else here.
15. Aristotle's Account of the Theory
It was natural for Aristotle to regard this theory as an anticipation or presentiment of his own doctrine of "indeterminate matter,"60 and that he should sometimes express the views of Anaximander in terms of the later theory of "elements." He knew that the Boundless was a body,61 though in his own system there was no room for anything corporeal prior to the elements; so he had to speak of it as a boundless body "alongside of" or "distinct from" the elements (παρὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα). So far as I know no one has doubted that, when he uses this phrase, he is referring to Anaximander.
In a number of other places Aristotle speaks of some one who held the primary substance to be something "intermediate between" the elements or between two of them .62 Nearly all the Greek commentators referred this to Anaximander also, but most modern writers refuse to follow them. It is, no doubt, easy to show that Anaximander himself cannot have said anything of the sort, but that is no real objection. Aristotle puts things in his own way regardless of historical considerations, and it is difficult to see that it is more of an anachronism to call the Boundless "intermediate between the elements" than to say that it is "distinct from the elements." Indeed, if once we introduce the elements at all, the former description is the more adequate of the two. At any rate, if we refuse to understand these passages as referring to Anaximander, we shall have to say that Aristotle paid a great deal of attention to some one whose very name has been lost, and who not only agreed with some of Anaximander's views, but also used some of his most characteristic expressions.63 We may add that in one or two places Aristotle certainly seems to identify the "intermediate" with the something "distinct from" the elements.64
There is even one passage in which he speaks of Anaximander's Boundless as a "mixture," though his words may perhaps admit of another interpretation.65 But this is of no consequence for our interpretation of Anaximander. It is certain that he cannot have said anything about "elements," which no one thought of before Empedokles, and no one could think of before Parmenides. The question has only been mentioned because it has given rise to a lengthy controversy, and because it throws light on the historical value of Aristotle's statements. From the point of view of his own system, these may be justified; but we shall have to remember in other cases that, when he seems to attribute an idea to some earlier thinker, we are not bound to take what he says in an historical sense.66
16. The Primary Substance is Infinite
Anaximander's reason for conceiving the primary substance as boundless was, no doubt, as indicated by Aristotle, "that becoming might not fail."67 It is not clear, however, that these words are his own, though the doxographers speak as if they were. It is enough for us that Theophrastos, who had seen his book, attributed the thought to him. And certainly his view of the world would bring home to him the need of a boundless stock of matter. The "opposites" are, we have seen, at war with one another, and their strife is marked by "unjust" encroachments on either side. The warm commits "injustice" in summer, the cold in winter, and this would lead in the long run to the destruction of everything but the Boundless itself, if there were not an inexhaustible supply of it from which opposites might continually be separated out afresh. We must picture, then, an endless mass, which is not any one of the opposites we know, stretching out without limit on every side of the world we live in.68 This mass is a body, out of which our world once emerged, and into which it will one day be absorbed again.
17. The Innumerable Worlds
We are told that Anaximander believed there were "innumerable worlds in the Boundless,"69 and we have to decide between the interpretation that, though all the worlds are perishable, there are an unlimited number of them in existence at the same time, and Zeller's view that a new world never comes into existence till the old one has passed away, so that there is never more than one world at a time. As this point is of fundamental importance, it will be necessary to examine the evidence carefully.
In the first place, the doxographical tradition proves that Theophrastos discussed the views of all the early philosophers as to whether there was one world or an infinite number, and there can be no doubt that, when he ascribed "innumerable worlds" to the Atomists, he meant coexistent and not successive worlds. Now, if he had classed two such different views under one head, he would have been careful to point out in what respect they differed, and there is no trace of any such distinction. On the contrary, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Archelaos, Xenophanes, Diogenes, Leukippos, Demokritos, and Epicurus are all mentioned together as holding the doctrine of "innumerable worlds" on every side of this one,70 and the only distinction is that, while Epicurus made the distances between these worlds unequal, Anaximander said all the worlds were equidistant.71 Zeller rejected this evidence72 on the ground that we can have no confidence in a writer who attributes "innumerable worlds" to Anaximenes, Archelaos, and Xenophanes. With regard to the first two, I hope to show that the statement is correct, and that it is at least intelligible in the case of the last.73 In any case, the passage comes from Aetios,74 and there is no reason for doubting that it is derived from Theophrastos, though the name of Epicurus has been added later. This is confirmed by what Simplicius says:
Those who assumed innumerable worlds, e.g. Anaximander, Leukippos, Demokritos, and, at a later date, Epicurus, held that they came into being and passed away ad infinitum, some always coming into being and others passing away.75
It is practically certain that this too comes from Theophrastos through Alexander.
We come next to a very important statement which
It may be added that it is very unnatural to understand the statement that the Boundless "encompasses all the worlds" of worlds succeeding one another in time; for on this view there is at a given time only one world to "encompass." Moreover, the argument mentioned by Aristotle that, if what is outside the heavens is infinite, body must be infinite, and there must be innumerable worlds, can only be understood in one sense, and is certainly intended to represent the reasoning of the Milesians ; for they were the only cosmologists who held there was a boundless body outside the heavens.79 Lastly, we happen to know that Petron, one of the earliest Pythagoreans, held there were just one hundred and eighty-three worlds arranged in a triangle,80 which shows at least that the doctrine of a plurality of worlds was much older than the Atomists.
18. "Eternal Motion" and the Dinê
The doxographers say it was the "eternal motion" that brought into being "all the heavens and all the worlds within them." We have seen (§ VIII.) that this is probably only the Aristotelian way of putting the thing, and that we must not identify the primordial motion of the Boundless with any purely mundane movement such as the diurnal revolution. That would be quite inconsistent, moreover, with the doctrine of innumerable worlds, each of which has, presumably, its own centre and its own diurnal revolution. As to the true nature of this motion, we have no definite statement, but the term "separating off" (ἀπόκρισις) rather suggests some process of shaking and sifting as in a riddle or sieve. That is given in Plato's Timaeus as the Pythagorean doctrine,81 and the Pythagoreans followed Anaximander pretty closely in their cosmology (§ 54). The
When, however, we come to the motion of the world once it has been "separated off," we are on safer ground. It is certain that one of the chief features of early cosmology is the part. played in it by the analogy of an eddy in water or in wind, a δίνη (or δῖνος),82 and there seems to be little doubt that we are entitled to regard this as the doctrine of Anaximander and Anaximenes.83 It would arise very naturally in the minds of thinkers who started with water as the primary substance and ended with "air," and it would account admirably for the position of earth and water in the centre and fire at the circumference, with "air" between them. Heavy things tend to the centre of a vortex and light things are forced out to the periphery. It is to be observed that there is no question of a sphere in revolution at this date; what we have to picture is rotary motion in a plane or planes more or less inclined to the earth's surface.84 It is in favour of the conjecture given above as to the nature of the primordial motion that it provides a satisfactory dynamical explanation of the formation of the δίνη, and we shall find once more (§180) that the Atomists held precisely this view of its origin.
19. Origin of the Heavenly Bodies
The doxographers also give us some indications of the process by which the different parts of the world arose from the Boundless. The following statement comes ultimately from Theophrastos:
He says that something capable of begetting hot and cold out of the eternal was separated off at the origin of this world. From this arose a sphere of flame which fitted close round the air surrounding the earth as the bark round a tree. When this had been torn off and shut up in certain rings, the sun, moon and stars came into existence.—Ps.-Plut. Strom. fr. 2 (R. P. 19).85
We see from this that, when a portion of the Boundless was separated off from the rest to form a world, it first differentiated itself into the two opposites, hot and cold. The hot appears as flame surrounding the cold; the cold, as earth with air surrounding it. We are not told here how the cold was differentiated into earth, water and air, but there is a passage in Aristotle's Meteorology which throws some light on the question. After discussing the views of the "theologians" regarding the sea, he says:
But those who are wiser in the wisdom of men give an origin for the sea. At first, they say, all the terrestrial region was moist; and, as it was dried up by the sun, the portion of it that evaporated produced the winds and the turnings back of the sun and moon,86 while the portion left behind was the sea. So they think the sea is becoming smaller by being dried up, and that at last it will all be dry. Meteor, B, 1. 353 b 5.
And the same absurdity arises for those who say the earth too was at first moist, and that, when the region of the world about the earth was heated by the sun, air was produced and the whole heavens were increased, and that it (the air) produced winds and caused its (the sun's) turnings back.87—Ib. 2. 355 a 21 (R. P. 20 a).
In his commentary on the passage, Alexander says this was the view of Anaximander and Diogenes, and cites Theophrastos as his authority for the statement. This is confirmed by Anaximander's theory of the sea as given by the doxographers (§ 20). We conclude, then, that after the first separation of the hot and the cold by the δίνη, the heat of the flame turned part of the moist, cold interior of the world into air or vapour—it is all one at this date—and that the expansion of this mist broke up the flame itself into rings. We shall come back to these rings presently, but we must look first at what we are told of the earth.
20. Earth and Sea
The origin of earth and sea from the moist, cold matter which was "separated off" in the beginning is thus described:
The sea is what is left of the original moisture. The fire has dried up most of it and turned the rest salt by scorching it. - Aet. iii. 16, 1 (R. P. 20 a).
He says that the earth is cylindrical in form, and that its depth is as a third part of its breadth.—Ps.-Plut. Strom fr. 2 (R. P. ib.).
The earth swings free, held in its place by nothing. It stays where it is because of its equal distance from everything. Its shape is hollow and round, and like a stone pillar. We are on one of the surfaces, and the other is on the opposite side.88—Hipp. Ref. i. 6 (R. P. 20).
Adopting for a moment the popular theory of "elements," we see that Anaximander put fire on one side as the hot and dry, and all the rest on the other as the cold, which is also moist. This may explain how Aristotle came to speak of the Boundless as intermediate between fire and water. And we have seen also that the moist element was partly turned into "air" or vapour by the fire, which explains how Aristotle could say the Boundless was something between fire and air, or between air and water.89
The moist, cold interior of the world is not, in fact, water. It is always called "the moist" or "the moist state." That is because it has to be still further differentiated under the influence of heat into earth, water, and vapour. The gradual drying up of the water by the fire is a good example of what Anaximander meant by "injustice."
Thales had said that the earth floated on the water, but Anaximander realised that it was freely suspended in space (μετέωρος) and did not require any support. Aristotle has preserved the argument he used. The earth is equally distant from the circumference of the vortex in every direction, and there is no reason for it to move up or down or sideways.90 The doctrine of innumerable worlds was inconsistent with the existence of an absolute up and down in the universe, so the argument is quite sound. The central position of the earth is due to the δίνη; for the greater masses tend to the centre of an eddy.91 There is good evidence that Anaximander made the earth share in the rotary movement.92 It is not, however, a sphere, so we must not speak of an axial revolution. The shape given to the earth by Anaximander is easily explained if we adopt the view that the world is a system of rotating rings. It is just a solid ring in the middle of the vortex.
21. The Heavenly Bodies
We have seen that the flame which had been forced to the circumference of the vortex was broken up into rings by the pressure of expanding vapour produced by its own heat. I give the statements of Hippolytos and Aetios as to the formation of the heavenly bodies from these rings.
The heavenly bodies are a wheel of fire, separated off from the fire of the world, and surrounded by air. And there are breathing-holes, certain pipe-like passages, at which the heavenly bodies show themselves. That is why, when the breathing-holes are stopped, eclipses take place. And the moon appears now to wax and now to wane because of the stopping and opening of the passages. The wheel of the sun is 27 times the size of (the earth, while that of) the moon is 18 times as large.93 The sun is the highest of all, and lowest are the wheels of the stars. —Hipp. Ref. i. 6 (R. P. 20).
The heavenly bodies were hoop-like compressions of air, full of fire, breathing out flames at a certain point through orifices.Aet. ii. 13, 7 (R. P. 19 a).
The sun was a wheel 28 times the size of the earth, like a chariot-wheel with the felloe hollow, full of fire, showing the fire at a certain point through an orifice, as through the nozzle of a pair of bellows.—Aet. ii. 20, i (R. P. 19 a).
The sun was equal to the earth, but the wheel from which it breathes out and by which it is carried round was 27 times the size of the earth.—Aet. ii. 21, 1.
The sun was eclipsed when the orifice of the fire's breathing-hole was stopped.—Aet. ii. 24., 2.
The moon was a wheel 19 times the size of the earth, like a chariot-wheel with its felloe hollow and full of fire like that of the sun, lying oblique also like it, with one breathing-hole like the nozzle of a pair of bellows. [It is eclipsed because of the turnings of the wheel.]94 —Aet. ii. 25, 1.
The moon was eclipsed when the orifice of the wheel was stopped.—Aet. ii. 29, 1.
(Thunder and lightning, etc.) were all caused by the blast of the wind. When it is shut up in a thick cloud and bursts forth with violence, then the tearing of the cloud makes the noise, and the rift gives the appearance of a flash in contrast with the blackness of the cloud.—Aet. iii. 3, 1.
Wind was a current of air (i.e. vapour), which arose when its finest and moistest particles were stirred or melted by the sun.—Aet. iii. 7, 1.
There is a curious variation in the figures given for the size of the wheels of the heavenly bodies, and it seems most likely that 18 and 27 refer to their inner, while 19 and 28 refer to their outer circumference. We may, perhaps, infer that the wheels of the "stars" were nine times the size of the earth; for the numbers 9, 18, 27 play a considerable part in primitive cosmogonies.95 We do not see the wheels of fire as complete circles; for the vapour or mist which formed them encloses the fire, and forms an outer ring except at one point of their circumference, through which the fire escapes, and that is the heavenly body we actually see.96 It is possible that the theory of "wheels" was suggested by the Milky Way. If we ask how it is that the wheels of air can make the fire invisible to us without becoming visible themselves, the answer is that such is the property of what the Greeks at this date called "air." For instance, when a Homeric hero is made invisible by being clothed in "air," we can see right through both the "air" and the hero.97 It should be added that lightning is explained in much the same way as the heavenly bodies. It, too, was fire breaking through condensed air, in this case storm clouds. It seems probable that this was really the origin of the theory, and that Anaximander explained the heavenly bodies on the analogy of lightning, not vice versa. It must be remembered that meteorology and astronomy were still undifferentiated,98 and that the theory of "wheels" or rings is a natural inference from the idea of the vortex.
So far we seem to be justified, by the authority of Theophrastos, in going; and, if that is so, certain further inferences seem to be inevitable. In the first place, Anaximander had shaken himself free of the old idea that the heavens are a solid vault. There is nothing to prevent us from seeing right out into the Boundless, and it is hard to think that Anaximander did not believe he did. The traditional cosmos has given place to a much grander scheme, that of innumerable vortices in a boundless mass, which is neither water nor air. In that case, it is difficult to resist the belief that what we call the fixed stars were identified with the "innumerable worlds" which were also "gods." It would follow that the diurnal revolution is only apparent; for the stars are at unequal distances from us, and can have no rotation in common. It must, then, be due to the rotation of the cylindrical earth in twenty-four hours. We have seen that the earth certainly shared in the rotation of the δίνη. That gets rid of one difficulty, the wheel of the "stars," which is between the earth and the moon; for the fixed stars could not be explained by a "wheel" at all; a sphere would be required. What, then, are the "stars" which are accounted for by this inner wheel? I venture to suggest that they are the morning and the evening stars, which, we have seen (p. 23, n. 1), were not recognised yet as a single luminary. In other words, I believe that Anaximander regarded the fixed stars as stationary, each rotating in its own vortex. No doubt this involves us in a difficulty regarding the rotation of the sun and the moon. It follows from the nature of the vortex that they must rotate in the same direction as the earth, and, on the assumption just made, that must be from west to east, and it must be a slower rotation than that of the earth, which is inconsistent with the fact that the circumference of a vortex rotates more rapidly than the centre. That, however, is a difficulty which all the Ionian cosmologists down to Demokritos had to face. Holding, as they did, that the whole rotation was in the same direction, they had to say that what we call the greatest velocities were the least. The moon, for instance, did not rotate so rapidly as the sun, since the sun more nearly keeps up with the fixed stars.99 That Anaximander failed to observe this difficulty is not surprising, if we remember that he was the first to attack the problem. It is not immediately obvious that the centre of the vortex must have a slower motion than the circumference. This serves to explain the origin of the theory that the heavenly bodies have a rotation of their own in the opposite direction to the diurnal revolution which we shall see reason for attributing to Pythagoras (§ 54).
We have, in any case, seen enough to show us that the speculations of Anaximander about the world were of an extremely daring character. We come now to the crowning audacity of all, his theory of the origin of living creatures. The Theophrastean account of this has been well preserved by the doxographers:
Living creatures arose from the moist element as it was evaporated by the sun. Man was like another animal, namely, a fish, in the beginning.—Hipp. Ref. i. 6 (R. P. 22 a).
The first animals were produced in the moisture, each enclosed in a prickly bark. As they advanced in age, they came out upon the drier part. When the bark broke off,100 they survived for a short time.101—Aet. v. 19, 4 (R. P. 22).
Further, he says that originally man was born from animals of another species. His reason is that while other animals quickly find food by themselves, man alone requires a lengthy period of suckling. Hence, had he been originally as he is now, he would never have survived.—Ps.-Plut. Strom. fr. 2 (R. P. ib.).
He declares that at first human beings arose in the inside of fishes, and after having been reared like sharks,102 and become capable of protecting themselves, they were finally cast ashore and took to land.—Plut. Symp. Quaest. 730 f (R. P. ib.).
The importance of these statements has sometimes been overrated and still more often underestimated. Anaximander has been called a precursor of
23. The Life of Anaximenes
Anaximenes of Miletos, son of Eurystratos, was, according to Theophrastos, an "associate" of Anaximander.104 Apollodoros said, it appears, that he "flourished" about the time of the fall of Sardeis (546/5 B.C.), and died in Ol. LXIII. (528/525 B.C.).105 In other words, he was born when Thales "flourished," and "flourished" when Thales died, and this means that Apollodoros had no definite information about his date. He perhaps made him die in the sixty-third Olympiad because that gives just three generations for the Milesian school.106 We cannot therefore say anything positive as to his date, except that he must have been younger than Anaximander.
24. His Book
Anaximenes wrote a book which survived until the age of literary criticism; for we are told that he used a simple and unpretentious Ionic,107 very different, we may suppose, from the poetical prose of Anaximander.108 The speculations of Anaximander were distinguished for their hardihood and breadth; those of Anaximenes are marked by the opposite quality. He appears to have thought out his system carefully, but he rejects the more audacious theories of his predecessor. The result is that, while his view of the world is less like the truth than Anaximander's, it is perhaps more fruitful in ideas that were destined to hold their ground.
25. Theory of the Primary Substances
Anaximenes is one of the philosophers on whom Theophrastos wrote a special monograph;109 and this gives us an additional guarantee for the trustworthiness of the tradition. The following110 are the passages which contain the fullest account of the central feature of his system:
Anaximenes of Miletos, son of Eurystratos, who had been an associate of Anaximander, said, like him, that the underlying substance was one and infinite. He did not, however, say it was indeterminate, like Anaximander, but determinate; for he said it was Air.—Phys. Op. fr. 2 (R. P. 26).
From it, he said, the things that are, and have been, and shall be, the gods and things divine, took their rise, while other things come from its offspring.—Hipp. Ref. i. 7 (R. P. 28).
"Just as," he said, "our soul, being air, holds us together, so do breath and air encompass the whole world."—Aet. i. 3, 4 (R. P. 24).
And the form of the air is as follows. Where it is most even, it is invisible to our sight; but cold and heat, moisture and motion, make it visible. It is always in motion; for, if it were not, it would not change so much as it does.—Hipp. Ref. i. 7 (R. P. 28).
It differs in different substances in virtue of its rarefaction and condensation.—Phys. Op. fr. 2 (R. P. 26).
When it is dilated so as to be rarer, it becomes fire; while winds, on the other hand, are condensed Air. Cloud is formed from Air by felting;111 and this, still further condensed, becomes water. Water, condensed still more, turns to earth; and when condensed as much as it can be, to stones.—Hipp. Ref. i. 7 (R. P. 28).
26. Rarefaction and Condensation
At first, this looks like a falling off from the more refined doctrine of Anaximander to a cruder view; but this is not really the case. On the contrary, the introduction of rarefaction and condensation into the theory is a notable advance.112 In fact, it makes the Milesian cosmology consistent for the first time; since a theory which explains everything as a form of a single substance is clearly bound to regard all differences as quantitative. The only way to save the unity of the primary substance is to say that all diversities are due to the presence of more or less of it in a given space. And when once this step has been taken, it is no longer necessary to make the primary substance something "distinct from the elements," to use Aristotle's inaccurate but convenient phrase; it may just as well be one of them.
The air Anaximenes speaks of includes a good deal that we should not call by the name. In its normal condition, when most evenly distributed, it is invisible, and it then corresponds to our "air"; it is the breath we inhale and the wind that blows. That is why he called it πνεῦμα. On the other hand, the old idea that mist or vapour is condensed air, is still accepted without question. It was Empedokles, we shall see, who first discovered that what we call air was a distinct corporeal substance, and not identical either with vapour or with empty space. In the earlier cosmologists "air" is always a form of vapour, and even darkness is a form of "air." It was Empedokles who cleared up this point too by showing that darkness is a shadow.113
It was natural for Anaximenes to fix upon "air" as the primary substance; for, in the system of Anaximander, it occupied an intermediate place between the two fundamental opposites, the ring of flame and the cold, moist mass within it (§ 19). We know from Plutarch that he fancied air became warmer when rarefied, and colder when condensed. Of this he satisfied himself by a curious experimental proof. When we breathe with our mouths open, the air is warm; when our lips are closed, it is cold.114
28. The World Breathes
This argument brings us to an important point in the theory, which is attested by the single fragment that has come down to us.115 "Just as our soul, being air, holds us together, so do breath and air encompass the whole world." The primary substance bears the same relation to the life of the world as to that of man. Now this was the Pythagorean view;116 and it is also an early instance of the argument from the microcosm to the macrocosm, and so marks the beginning of an interest in physiological matters.
29. The Parts of the World
We turn now to the doxographical tradition concerning the formation of the world and its parts:
He says that, as the air was felted, the earth first came into being. It is very broad and is accordingly supported by the air.— Ps.-Plut. Strom. fr. 3 (R. P. 25).
In the same way the sun and the moon and the other heavenly bodies, which are of a fiery nature, are supported by the air because of their breadth. The heavenly bodies were produced from the earth by moisture rising from it. When this is rarefied, fire comes into being, and the stars are composed of the fire thus raised aloft. There were also bodies of earthy substance in the region of the stars, revolving along with them. And he says that the heavenly bodies do not move under the earth, as others suppose, but round it, as a cap turns round our head. The sun is hidden from sight, not because it goes under the earth, but because it is concealed by the higher parts of the earth, and because its distance from us becomes greater. The stars give no heat because of the greatness of their distance.—Hipp. Ref. i. 7, 4-6 (R. P. 28).
Winds are produced when air is condensed and rushes along under propulsion; but when it is concentrated and thickened still more, clouds are generated; and, lastly, it turns to water.117 -Hipp. Ref. i. 7, 7 (Dox. p. 561).
The stars [are fixed like nails in the crystalline vault of the heavens, but some say they] are fiery leaves, like paintings.118—Aet. ii. 14, 3 (Dox. p. 344).
They do not go under the earth, but turn round it.—Ib. 16, 6 (Dox. p. 348).
The sun is fiery.—Ib. 20, 2 (Dox. p. 348).
It is broad like a leaf.—Ib. 22, 1 (Dox. p. 352).
The heavenly bodies turn back in their courses119 owing to the resistance of compressed air.—Ib. 23, 1 (Dox. p. 352).
The moon is of fire.—Ib. 25, 2 (Dox. p. 356).
Anaximenes explained lightning like Anaximander, adding as an illustration what happens in the case of the sea, which flashes when divided by the oars—Ib. iii. 3, 2 (Dox. p. 368).
Hail is produced when water freezes in falling; snow, when there is some air imprisoned in the water.—Aet. iii. 4, 1 (Dox. p. 370).
The rainbow is produced when the beams of the sun fall on thick condensed air. Hence the anterior part of it seems red, being burnt by the sun's rays, while the other part is dark, owing to the predominance of moisture. And he says that a rainbow is produced at night by the moon, but not often, because there is not constantly a full moon, and because the moon's light is weaker than that of the sun.—Schol,. Arat.120 (Dox. p. 231).
The earth was like a table in shape.—Aet. iii. 10, 3 (Dox. p. 377).
The cause of earthquakes was the dryness and moisture of the earth, occasioned by droughts and heavy rains respectively. —Ib. 15, 3 (Dox. p. 379).
We have seen that Anaximenes was justified in going back to Thales in regard to the nature of primary substance; but the effect upon the details of his cosmology was unfortunate. The earth is once more imagined as a table-like disc floating on the air. The sun, moon, and stars are also fiery discs which float on the air "like leaves"; an idea naturally suggested by the "eddy" (δίνη). It follows that the heavenly bodies cannot go under the earth at night, as Anaximander must have held, but only round it laterally like a cap or a millstone.121 This view is also mentioned in Aristotle's Meteorology,122 where the elevation of the northern parts of the earth, which makes it possible for the heavenly bodies to be hidden from sight, is referred to. This is only meant to explain why the stars outside the
The earthy bodies, which circulate among the planets, are doubtless intended to account for eclipses and the phases of the moon.124
30. Innumerable Worlds
As might be expected, there is much the same difficulty about the "innumerable worlds" ascribed to Anaximenes as there is about those of Anaximander. The evidence, however, is far less satisfactory.
31. Influence of Anaximenes
It is not easy for us to realise that, in the eyes of his contemporaries, and for long after, Anaximenes was a much more important figure than Anaximander. And yet the fact is certain. We shall see that Pythagoras, though he followed Anaximander in his account of the heavenly bodies, was far more indebted to Anaximenes for his general theory of the world (§ 53). We shall see further that when, at a later date, science revived once more in Ionia, it was "the philosophy of Anaximenes" to which it attached itself (§ 122). Anaxagoras adopted many of his most characteristic views (§ 135), and so did the Atomists.129 Diogenes of Apollonia went back to the central doctrine of Anaximenes, and made Air the primary substance, though he also tried to combine it with the theories of Anaxagoras (§ 188). We shall come to all this later; but it seemed desirable to point out at once that Anaximenes marks the culminating point of the line of thought which started with Thales, and to show how the "philosophy of Anaximenes" came to mean the Milesian doctrine as a whole. This it can only have done because it was really the work of a school, of which Anaximenes was the last distinguished representative, and because his contribution to it was one that completed the system he had inherited from his predecessors. That the theory of rarefaction and condensation was really such a completion of the Milesian system, we have seen (§ 26), and it need only be added that a clear realisation of this fact will be the best clue at once to the understanding of the Milesian cosmology itself and to that of the systems which followed it. In the main, it is from Anaximenes they all start.
1. See Introd. § II. Ephoros said that Old Miletos was colonised from Milatos in Crete at an earlier date than the fortification of the
2. Herod. i. 29. See Radet, La Lydie et le monde grec au temps des Mermnades (Paris, 1893).
3. Herod. i. 75. It is important for a right estimate of Ionian science to remember the high development of engineering in these days. Mandrokles of Samos built the bridge over the Bosporos for King Dareios (Herod. iv. 88), and Harpalos of Tenedos bridged the
4. Simplicius quotes Theophrastos as saying that Thales had many predecessors Dox. p. 475, 11). This need not trouble us; for the scholiast on Apollonios Rhodios (ii. 1248) tells us that he made Prometheus the first philosopher, which is merely an application of Peripatetic literalism to a phrase of Plato's (Phileb. 16 c 6). Cf. Note on Sources, § 2.
5. Herod. i. 170 (R. P. 9 d); Diog. i. 22 (R. P. 9). This is no doubt connected with the fact mentioned by Herodotos (i. 146) that there were Kadmeians from Boiotia among the original Ionian colonists. Cf. also Strabo, xiv. pp. 633, 636; Pausan. vii. 2, 7. These, however, were not Semites.
6. Diog. i. 23, Καλλίμαχος δ' αὐτὸν οἶδεν εὑρετὴν τῆς ἄρκτου τῆς μικρᾶς λέγων ἐν τοῖς Ἰάμβοις οὕτως—
καὶ τῆς ἁμάξης ἐλέγετο σταθμήσασθαι
τοὺς ἀστερίσκους, ᾗ πλέουσι Φοίνικες.
7. See Diels, "Thales ein Semite?" (Arch. ii. 165 sqq.), and Immisch, "Zu Thales Abkunft" (ib. p. 515). The name Examyes occurs also in Kolophon (Hermesianax, Leontion, fr. 2, 38 Bgk.), and may be compared with other Karian names such as Cheramyes and Panamyes.
8. Herod. i. 74.
9. For the theories held by Anaximander and Herakleitos, see infra, §§ 19, 71.
10. Diog. i. 23, δοκεῖ δὲ κατά τινας πρῶτος ἀστρολογῆσαι καὶ ἡλιακὰς ἐκλείψεις καὶ τροπὰς προειπεῖν, ὥς φησιν Εὔδημος ἐν τῇ Περὶ τῶν ἀστρολογουμένων ἱστορίᾳ, ὅθεν αὐτὸν καὶ Ξενοφάνης καὶ Ἡρόδοτος θαυμάζει. The statement that Thales "predicted" solstices as well as eclipses is not so absurd as has been thought. Eudemos may very well have meant that he fixed the dates of the solstices and equinoxes more accurately than had been done before. That he would do by observing the length of the shadow cast by an upright (γνώμων), and we shall see (p. 47) that popular tradition ascribed observations of the kind to him. This interpretation is favoured by another remark of Eudemos, preserved by Derkyllides (ap. Theon. p. 198, 17 Hiller), that Thales discovered τὴν κατὰ τὰς τροπὰς αὐτοῦ (τοῦ ἡλίου) περίοδον, ὡς οὐκ ἴση ἀεὶ συμβαίνει. In other words, he discovered the inequality of the four seasons which is due to the solar anomaly.
11. It is wrong to call this the Saros with Souidas; for sar on the monuments always means 602=3600, the number of the Great Year. The period of 223 lunations is, of course, that of the retrograde movement of the nodes.
12. See George Smith, Assyrian Discoveries (1875), p. 409. The inscription which follows was found at Kouyunjik:—
"To the king my lord, thy servant Abil-Istar.
. . .
"Concerning the eclipse of the moon of which the king my lord sent to me; in the cities of Akkad Borsippa, and Nipur, observations they made, and then in the city of
. . .
"And when for the eclipse of the sun we made an observation, the observation was made and it did not take place. That which I saw with my eyes to the king my lord I send." See further R. C. Thomson, Reports of the Magicians and Astrologers of Nineveh and Babylon (1900).
13. Cf. Schiaparelli, "I primordi dell' Astronomia presso i Babilonesi" (Scientia, 1908, p. 247). His conclusion is that "the law which regulates the circumstances of the visibility of solar eclipses is too complex to be discovered by simple observation," and that the Babylonians were not in a position to formulate it. "Such a triumph was reserved to the geometrical genius of the Greeks."
15. The words of Herodotos (i. 74), οὖρον προθέμενος ἐνιαυτὸν τοῦτον ἐν τῷ δὴ καὶ ἐγένετο, mean at first sight that he only said the eclipse would occur before the end of a certain year, but Diels suggests (Neue Jahrb. xxxiii. p. 2) that ἐνιαυτός has here its original sense of "summer solstice" (cf. Brugmann, Idg. Forsch. xv. p. 87). In that case Thales would have fixed the date within a month. He may have observed the eclipse of May 18, 603 B.C. in
16. For Apollodoros, see Note on Sources, §21. The dates in our text of Diogenes (i. 37; R. P. 8) cannot be reconciled with one another. That given for the death of Thales is probably right; for it is the year before the fall of Sardeis in 546/5 B.C., which is one of the regular eras of Apollodoros. It no doubt seemed natural to make Thales die the year before the "ruin of
17. Diog. i. 22 (R. P. 9), especially the words καθ' ὃν καὶ οἱ ἑπτὰ σοφοὶ ἐκλήθησαν. The story of the tripod was told in many versions (cf. Diog. i. 28-33 ; Vors. i. p. 226 sqq.). It clearly belongs to the Delphian Tale of the Seven Wise Men, which is already alluded to by Plato (Prot. 343 a, b). Now Demetrios of Phaleron dated this in the archonship of Damasias at Athens (582/1 B.C.), and the Marmor Parium dates the restoration of the ἀγὼν στεφανίτης at Delphoi in the same year, and also identifies it with that of Damasias (cf. Jacoby, p. 170, n. 12).
18. Proclus, in Eucl.
19. Herod. ii. 20.
20. Aet. iv. 1.1 (Dox. p. 384).
21. Dox. pp. 226-229. The Latin epitome will be found in Rose's edition of the Aristotelian fragments.
22. Hekataios, fr. 278 (F.H.G. i. p. 19).
23. See Cantor, Vorlesungen über Geschichte der Mathematik, vol. i. pp. 12 sqq.; Allman, "Greek Geometry from Thales to Euclid" (Hermathena, iii. pp. 164-174).
24. Proclus, in Eucl. pp. 65, 7; 157, 10; 250, 20; 299, 1; 352, 14 (Friedlein). Eudemos wrote the first histories of astronomy and mathematics, just as Theophrastos wrote the first history of philosophy.
25. Proclus, p. 352, 14, Εὔδημος δὲ ἐν ταῖς γεωμετρικαῖς ἱστορίαις εἰς Θαλῆν τοῦτο ἀνάγει τὸ θεώρημα (Eucl. 1.26) τὴν γὰρ τῶν ἐν θαλάττῃ πλοίων ἀπόστασιν δι' οὗ τρόπου φασὶν αὐτὸν δεικνύναι τούτῳ προσχρῆσθαί φησιν ἀναγκαῖον.
26. The oldest version of this story is given in Diog. i. 27, ὁ δὲ Ἱερώνυμος καὶ ἐκμετρῆσαί φησιν αὐτὸν τὰς πυραμίδας, ἐκ τῆς σκιᾶς παρατηρήσαντα ὅτε ἡμῖν ἰσομεγέθης ἐστίν.. Cf. Pliny, H. Nat. xxxvi. 82, mensuram altitudinis earum deprehendere invenit Thales Milesius umbram metiendo qua hora par esse corpori solet. (Hieronymos of Rhodes was contemporary with Eudemos.) This need imply no more than the reflexion that the shadows of all objects will be equal to the objects at the same hour. Plutarch (Conv. sept. sap. 147 a) gives a more elaborate method, τὴν βακτηρίαν στήσας ἐπὶ τῷ πέρατι τῆς σκιᾶς ἣν ἡ πυραμὶς ἐποίει γενομένων τῇ ἐπαφῇ τῆς ἀκτῖνος δυοῖν τριγώνων, ἔδειξας ὃν ἡ σκιὰ πρὸς τὴν σκιὰν λόγον εἶχε, τὴν πυραμίδα πρὸς τὴν βακτηρίαν ἔχουσαν.
27. See Gow, Short History of Greek Mathematics, § 84.
28. Herod. i. 170 (R. P. 9 d).
29. The story of Thales falling into a well (Plato, Theaet. 174 a) is nothing but a fable teaching the uselessness of σοφία; the anecdote about the "corner" in oil (Ar. Pol. A, 11. 1259 a 6) is intended to inculcate the opposite lesson.
30. Cf. Aristophanes, Clouds 180 (after a burlesque description of how Sokrates provided himself with a cloak) τί δῆτ' ἐκεῖνον τὸν Θαλῆν θαυμάζομεν; Birds 1009 (of Meton's town-planning, ἅνθρωπος Θαλῆς). Plato's way of speaking is remarkable. Cf. Rep. 600a ἀλλ' οἷα δὴ εἰς τὰ ἔργα σοφοῦ ἀνδρὸς πολλαὶ ἐπίνοιαι καὶ εὐμήχανοι εἰς τέχνας ἤ τινας ἄλλας πράξεις λέγονται, ὥσπερ αὖ Θάλεώ τε πέρι τοῦ Μιλησίου καὶ Ἀναχάρσιος τοῦ Σκύθου.
31. See p. 41, n. 2.
32. If he tried to introduce the year of 360 days and the month of 30 days, he may have learnt that in
33. For the Milesian παραπήγματα see Rehm, Berl. Sitzungsber., 1893, p. 101 sqq., 752 sqq.
34. Ar. Met. A, 3. 983 b 21 (R. P. 10); De caelo, B, 13. 294 a 28 (R. P. 11).
35. Met. A, 3. 983 b 21 (R. P. 10). We must translate ἀρχή here by "material cause," for τῆς τοιαύτης ἀρχῆς means τῆς ἐν ὕλης εἴδει ἀρχῆς (b 7). The word, then, is used here in a strictly Aristotelian sense. Cf. Introd. p. ii, n. 3.
36. Arist. De an. A, 5. 411 a 7 (R. P. 13); ib. 2. 405 a 19 (R. P. 13 a). Diog. i. 24 (R. P. ib.) adds amber.
37. Met. A, 3. 983 b 22 ; Aet. i. 3, 1 ; Simpl. Phys. p. 36, 10 (R. P. 10, 12, 12 a). The last of Aristotle's explanations, that Thales was influenced by cosmogonical theories about Okeanos and Tethys, has strangely been supposed to be more historical than the rest, whereas it is merely a fancy of Plato's taken literally. Plato says (Theaet. 180 d 2; Crat. 402 b 4) that Herakleitos and his predecessors (οἱ ῥέοντες) derived their philosophy from Homer (Il. xiv. 201), and even earlier sources (Orph. frag. 2, Diels, Vors. 66 B 2). In quoting this suggestion, Aristotle refers it to "some"—a word which often means Plato—and he calls the originators of the theory παμπαλαίους, as Plato had done (Met. A, 3. 983 b 28; cf. Theaet. 181 b 3). This is how Aristotle gets history out of Plato. See Note on Sources, § 2.
38. Compare Arist. De an. A, 2. 405 b 2 (R. P. 220) with the passages referred to in the last note. We now know that, though Aristotle declines to consider Hippon as a philosopher (Met. A, 3. 984 a 3; R. P. 219 a), he was discussed in the Peripatetic history of medicine known as Menon's Iatrika. See §185.
39. The view here taken most resembles that of the "Homeric allegorist" Herakleitos (R. P. 12 a). That, however, is also a conjecture, probably of Stoic, as the others are of Peripatetic, origin.
40. Arist. De an. A, 5. 411 a 7 (R. P. 13).
41. Aet. i. 7, 11=Stob. i. 56 (R. P. 14). On the sources here referred to, see Note on Sources, §§ 11, 12.
42. Cicero, De nat. d. 1. 25 (R. P. 13 b). On
43. See Introd. § IX.
44. Plato refers to the saying πάντα πλήρη θεῶν in Laws, 899 b 9 (R. P. 14 b), without mentioning Thales. That ascribed to Herakleitos in the De part. an. A, 5. 645 a 7 seems to be a mere variation on it. In any case it means only that nothing is more divine than anything else.
45. R. P. 15 d. That the words πολίτης καὶ ἑταῖρος, given by Simplicius, De caelo, p. 615, 13, are from Theophrastos is shown by the agreement of Cic. Acad. ii. 118, popularis et sodalis. The two passages represent independent branches of the tradition. See Note on Sources, §§ 7, 12.
46. Diog. ii. 2 (R. P. 15); Hipp. Ref. i. 6 (Dox. p. 560); Plin. N.H. ii. 31.
47. Xenophanes, fr. 22 (= fr. 17 Karsten; R. P. 95 a).
48. The statement that he "died soon after" (Diog. ii. 2; R. P. 15) seems to mean that Apollodoros made him die in the year of Sardeis (546/5), one of his regular epochs.
49. For the gnomon, see Introd. p. 26, n. 1; and cf. Diog. ii. 1 (R. P. 15); Herod. ii. 109 (R. P. 15 a). Pliny, on the other hand, ascribes the invention of the gnomon to Anaximenes (N.H. ii. 187).
50. Aelian, V.H. iii. 17. Presumably Apollonia on the Pontos is meant.
51. The lower part of a contemporary statue has been discovered at Miletos (Wiegand, Milet, ii. 88), with the inscription ΑΝ]ΑΞΙΜΑΝΔΡΟ. It was not, we may be sure, for his theories of the Boundless that Anaximander received this honour; he was a statesman and an inventor, like Thales and Hekataios.
52. In this and other cases, where the words of the original have been preserved by Simplicius, I have given them alone. On the various writers quoted, see Note on Sources, §§ 9 sqq.
53. Simplicius says "successor and disciple" (διάδοχος καὶ μαθητής) in his Commentary on the Physics; but see above, p. 50, n. 4.
54. For the expression τὰ καλούμενα στοιχεῖα, see Diels, Elementum, p. 25, n. 4.
55. Diels (Vors. 2, 9) begins the actual quotation with the words ἐξ ὧν δὲ ἡ γένεσις . . . The Greek practice of blending quotations with the text tells against this. Further, it is safer not to ascribe the terms γένεσις and φθορά in their technical Platonic sense to Anaximander, and it is not likely that Anaximander said anything about τὰ ὄντα.
56. See p. 12, n. 2.
57. The important word ἀλλήλοις is in all the MSS. of Simplicius, though omitted in the Aldine. This omission made the sentence appear to mean that the existence of individual things (ὄντα) was somehow a wrong (ἀδικία) for which they must be punished. With ἀλλήλοις restored, this fanciful interpretation disappears. It is to one another that whatever the subject of the verb may be make reparation and give satisfaction, and therefore the injustice must be a wrong which they commit against one another. Now, as δίκη is regularly used of the observance of an equal balance between the opposites hot and cold, dry and wet, the ἀδικία here referred to must be the undue encroachment of one opposite on another, such as we see, for example, in the alternation of day and night, winter and summer, which have to be made good by an equal encroachment of the other. I stated this view in my first edition (1892), pp. 60-62, and am glad to find it confirmed by Professor Heidel (Class. Phil. vii., 1912, p. 233 sq.).
58. The words of Theophrastos, as given by Simplicius (Phys. p. 24, 15: R. P. 16), are ἀρχήν τε καὶ στοιχεῖον εἴρηκε τῶν ὄντων τὸ ἄπειρον, πρῶτος τοῦτο τοὔνομα κομίσας τῆς ἀρχῆς, the natural meaning of which is "he being the first to introduce this name (τὸ ἄπειρον) of the material cause." Hippolytos, however, says (Ref. i. 6, 2) πρῶτος τοὔνομα καλέσας τῆς ἀρχῆς, and this has led most writers to take the words in the sense that Anaximander introduced the term ἀρχή. Hippolytos, however, is not an independent authority (see Note on Sources, § 13), and the only question is what Theophrastos wrote. Now Simplicius quotes Theophrastos from Alexander, who used the original, while Hippolytos represents a much more indirect tradition. Obviously, καλέσας is a corruption of the characteristically Peripatetic κομίσας, and the omission of τοῦτο is much more likely than its interpolation by Alexander or Simplicius. But, if τοῦτο is genuine, the ὄνομα referred to must be τὸ ἄπειρον, and this interpretation is confirmed by Simpl. De caelo 615, 15, ἄπειρον δὲ πρῶτος ὑπέθετο. In another place (p. 150, 23) Simplicius says πρῶτος αὐτὸς ἀρχὴν ὀνομάσας τὸ ὑποκείμενον, which must mean, as the context shows, "being the first to name the substratum of the opposites as the material cause," which is another point altogether. Theophrastos is always interested in noting who it was that "first" introduced a concept, and both ἄπειρον and ὑποκείμενον were important enough to be noted. Of course he does not mean that Anaximander used the word ὑποκείμενον. He only infers that he had the idea from the doctrine that the opposites which are "in" the ἄπειρον are "separated out." Lastly, the whole book from which these extracts were taken was Περὶ τῶν ἀρχῶν, and the thing to note was who first applied various predicates to the ἀρχή or ἀρχαί.
59. See p. 47 n. 6 and Introd. p. 11 n. 3.
60. Arist. Met. Λ, 2. 1069 b 18 (R. P. 16 c).
61. This is taken for granted in Phys. Γ, 4. 203 a 16; 204 b 22 (R. P. 16 b), and stated in Γ, 8. 208 a 8 (R. P. 16 a). Cf. Simpl. Phys. p. 150, 20 (R. P. 18).
62. Aristotle speaks four times of something intermediate between Fire and Air (Gen. Corr. B, 1. 328 b 35; ib. 5. 332 a 21; Phys. A, 4. 187 a 14; Met. A, 7. 988 a 30). In five places we have something intermediate between Water and Air (Met. A, 7. 988 a 13; Gen. Corr. B, 5. 332 a 21; Phys. Γ, 4. 203 a 18; ib. 5. 205 a 27; De caelo, Γ, 5. 303 b 12). Once (Phys. A, 6. 189 b 1) we hear of something between Water and Fire. This variation shows at once that he is not speaking historically. If any one ever held the doctrine of τὸ μεταξύ, he must have known which "elements" he meant.
63. Arist. De caelo, Γ, 5. 303 b 12, ὕδατος μὲν λεπτότερον, ἀέρος δὲ πυκνότερον, ὃ περιέχειν φασὶ πάντας τοὺς οὐρανοὺς ἄπειρον ὄν.
64. cf. Phys. Γ, 5. 204 b 22 (R. P. 16 b), where Zeller rightly refers τὸ παρὰ τὰ στοιχεῖα to Anaximander. Now, at the end (205 a 25) the whole passage is summarised thus: καὶ διὰ τοῦτ' οὐθεὶς τὸ ἓν καὶ ἄπειρον πῦρ ἐποίησεν οὐδὲ γῆν τῶν φυσιολόγων, ἀλλ' ἢ ὕδωρ ἢ ἀέρα ἢ τὸ μέσον αὐτῶν. In Gen. Corr. B, 1. 328 b 35 we have first τι μεταξὺ τούτων σῶμά τε ὂν καὶ χωριστόν, and a little further on (329 a 9) μίαν ὕλην παρὰ τὰ εἰρημένα. In B, 5. 332 a 20 we have οὐ μὴν οὐδ' ἄλλο τί γε παρὰ ταῦτα, οἷον μέσον τι ἀέρος καὶ ὕδατος ἢ ἀέρος καὶ πυρός.
65. Met. Λ, 2. 1069 b 18 (R. P. 16 c). Zeller (p. 205, n. 1) assumes an "easy zeugma."
66. For the literature of this controversy, see R. P. 15. Professor Heidel has shown in his "Qualitative Change in Pre-Socratic Philosophy" (Arch., xix. p. 333) that Aristotle misunderstood the Milesians because he could only think of their doctrine in terms of his own theory of ἀλλοίωσις. That is quite true, but it is equally true that they had no definite theory of their own with regard to the transformations of substance. The theory of an original "mixture" is quite as unhistorical as that of ἀλλοίωσις. Qualities were not yet distinguished from "things," and Thales doubtless said that water turned into vapour or ice without dreaming of any further questions. They all believed that in the long run there was only one "thing," and at last they came to the conclusion that all apparent differences were due to rarefaction and condensation. Theophrastos (ap. Simpl. Phys. 150, 22) says ἐνούσας γὰρ τὰς ἐναντιότας ἐν τῷ ὑποκειμένῳ . . . ἐκκρίνεσθαι. I do not believe these words are even a paraphrase of anything Anaximander said. They are merely an attempt to "accommodate" his views to Peripatetic ideas, and ἐνούσας is as unhistorical as the ὑποκείμενον.
67. Phys. Γ, 8. 208 a 8 (R. P. 16 a). Cf. Aet. i. 3, 3 (R. P. 16 a). The same argument is given in Phys. Γ, 4. 203 b 18, a passage where Anaximander has just been named, τῷ οὕτως ἂν μόνον μὴ ὑπολείπειν γένεσιν καὶ φθοράν, εἰ ἄπειρον εἴη ὅθεν ἀφαιρεῖται τὸ γιγνόμενον. I cannot, however, believe that the arguments at the beginning of this chapter (203 b 7; R. P. 17) are Anaximander's. They bear the stamp of the Eleatic dialectic, and are, in fact, those of Melissos.
68. I have assumed that the word ἄπειρον means spatially infinite, not qualitatively indeterminate, as maintained by Teichmüller and Tannery. The decisive reasons for holding that the sense of the word is "boundless in extent" are as follows: (1) Theophrastos said the primary substance of Anaximander was ἄπειρον and contained all the worlds, and the word περιέχειν everywhere means "to encompass," not, as has been suggested, "to contain potentially." (2) Aristotle says (Phys. Γ, 4. 203 b 23) διὰ γὰρ τὸ ἐν τῇ νοήσει μὴ ὑπολείπειν καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς δοκεῖ ἄπειρος εἶναι καὶ τὰ μαθηματικὰ μεγέθη καὶ τὰ ἔξω τοῦ οὐρανοῦ· ἀπείρου δ' ὄντος τοῦ ἔξω, καὶ σῶμα ἄπειρον εἶναι δοκεῖ καὶ κόσμοι. The mention of σῶμα shows that this does not refer to the Atomists. (3) Anaximander's theory of the ἄπειρον was adopted by Anaximenes, and he identified it with Air, which is not qualitatively indeterminate.
69. Cf. [Plut.] Strom. fr. 2 (R. P. 21 b).
70. Aet. ii. 1, 3 (Dox. p. 327). Zeller seems to be wrong in understanding κατὰ πᾶσαν περιαγωγήν here of revolution. It must mean "in every direction we turn," as is shown by the alternative phrase κατὰ πᾶσαν περίστασιν. The six περιστάσεις are πρόσω, ὀπίσω, ἄνω, κάτω, δεξιά, ἀριστερά (Nicom. Introd. p. 85, 11, Hoche).
71. Aet. ii. 1, 8 (Dox. p. 329), τῶν ἀπείρους ἀποφηναμένων τοὺς κόσμους Ἀναξίμανδρος τὸ ἴσον αὐτοὺς ἀπέχειν ἀλλήλων, Ἐπίκουρος ἄνισον εἶναι τὸ μεταξὺ τῶν κόσμων διάστημα.
72. He supposed it to be only that of Stobaios. The filiation of the sources had not been traced when he wrote.
73. For Anaximenes see § 30; Xenophanes, § 59; Archelaos, § 192.
74. This is proved by the fact that the list of names is given also by Theodoret. See Note on Sources, § 10.
75. Simpl. Phys. p. 1121, 5 (R. P. 21 b). Cf. Simpl. De caelo, p. 202, 14, οἱ δὲ καὶ τῷ πλήθει ἀπείρους κόσμους, ὡς Ἀναξίμανδρος . . . ἄπειρον τῳ μεγέθει τὴν ἀρχὴν θέμενος ἀπείρους ἐξ αὐτοῦ τῷ πλήθει κόσμους ποιεῖν δοκεῖ.
Critique of Ontology
According to Levinas, it is not just morality that is put into question by
Western philosophy has most often been an ontology: a reduction of the other to the same by the interposition of a middle and neutral term that ensures the comprehension of being. (TI 43)
To understand what Levinas means by this statement, we are required to give a brief account of the history of ontology, beginning with Parmenides.
Parmenides of Elea (c. 515) is considered by many historians to be the “father of philosophy.” He was among the very first thinkers to draw a distinction between appearance and reality, i.e., the way things merely appear to our senses and the way they really are in themselves. This distinction would prove to be fundamental for subsequent philosophy. Parmenides presented his ontology in a poem called “On Nature” in which the goddess Justice (Dike) reveals to him the nature of truth (aletheia) in contrast to the deceptive beliefs (doxa) of mortals. It is she who tells Parmenides that we are accustomed to inquire about the nature of reality in two fundamentally different ways. Either we say of things that they are (“what is”) or we say of them that they are not (“what is not”). In order to think at all, we must have something to think about. Accordingly, we can only think about what is. Since “what is not” literally cannot exist (it is literally “no-thing”), we cannot properly think about it. The question now becomes: Is what exists static? Or rather is it—as Heraclitus (c. 540) claimed—continuously changing? The goddess in Parmenides’ poem argues that change (or becoming) is merely an appearance, and thus is not real. How can something both be and not be at the same time? If we view reality through the natural light of “reason” (logos), we will come to understand that Being is eternal, indivisible, and unchanging. Parmenides also says: “Thought and Being are the same” (Fr. 8) by which he means that everywhere Being is “one,” and thus forms a unity with everything else—including thought itself.
In contrast to this Parmenidean conception of Being as “one” (“monism”), Levinas argues that the differences between things cannot be subsumed under a more basic concept of unity but that existence is multiple (“pluralism”). The plurality of what exists, for Levinas, is not just an appearance, but rather part of the very nature of reality as such. Such pluralism, he will go on to say, is particularly evident in my relation to the other person—whom Levinas simply refers to as the Other—inasmuch as he or she is radically different from me. Levinas’s thinking thus marks a decisive break with Parmenides and the ontological tradition, a break that he himself characterizes as a “parricide” (TO 43), adopting the expression of a character in Plato’s Sophist, to which we turn next.
The limitations of Parmenides’ philosophy were not evident until Plato (428-348) arrived on the philosophical scene. Plato accepted much of Parmenides’ ontology, including the claim that true knowledge is discovered by the mind and not by the senses. He also agreed that what we call true knowledge is eternal, indivisible, and unchanging. However, he differed from Parmenides on two major points. First, he attributed to the world of appearances the intermediate status of belief (pistis) rather than that of sheer illusion. Second, in his dialogue entitled the Sophist, he distinguished between various senses of “not-Being,” and thus challenged Parmenidean monism in its original form. The dialogue provides Levinas with the vocabulary of the “the same” and “the other” used throughout Totality and Infinity, and is thus worth looking at in more detail.
The central question of the Platonic dialogue is: How can a statement that something is not the case (e.g., “A mammal is not a fish”) itself be true? Surely something that is non-existent cannot exist! Such would be Parmenides’ objection, though it turns out that the objection is only partially valid.
In the dialogue, Plato has the character of the “Eleatic Stranger,” who is a disciple of Parmenides, examine the objection and in the process risk “becoming a sort of parricide” (Sophist 241d). What the Stranger shows is that although “not-Being” cannot exist in absolute terms, it can indeed have relative existence in the sense that something can be other than something else (e.g., “A mammal is other than a fish”). This may be contrasted with something that is said to be the same as something else (e.g., “A dog is a mammal”). These two ways of speaking correspond to the two “forms” or categories of Being that Plato calls “same” and “other.”
Despite the logical subtleties that Plato and the Eleatic Stranger bring to the table of philosophy, we are still lacking, according to Levinas, a category that would be the opposite of Being (OB 3), and thus designate the absolutely other as such. Inasmuch as otherness (or “alterity”) is still defined in purely relative terms in Plato’s work, then what is other is still understood in terms of that which it is not, and thus not positively in terms of itself. To Levinas’s mind, this means that we are still without the proper philosophical tools necessary to think the otherness of the Other. We have not yet left the climate of Parmenidean Being. Indeed, over two millennia later, in the midst of the Enlightenment, we would still appear to be living its shadow.
The German thinker Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was the foremost thinker of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a new dawn in European intellectual and cultural history, characterized by an optimistic faith in reason and science as opposed to superstition and religious dogma. Like his predecessors, Kant drew an important distinction between appearance and reality. However, unlike Parmenides and Plato, he altogether denied that we could have knowledge of reality as such. All we are aware of is the way things appear to us by affecting our senses. We can never step outside ourselves and see things as they exist independently of us. We do not have what Kant called “intellectual intuition”—or what the Greeks called nous—by which we may know “things in themselves.” Our perception is strictly limited to what we know by way of our senses.
Kant, however, did not think that the human mind was merely a passive receptacle of sensory experience. On the contrary, in the Critique of Pure Reason (1781), he argued that the mind or “understanding” contributes to the world of knowledge by giving form and objectivity to what would otherwise be a chaotic, buzzing mass of sensory experience. We have no choice but to experience objects as located in space and time. That is because we impose the “forms” of space and time on them. Similarly, we are not simply stimulated by light but perceive objects in the light. This we do with the help of twelve fundamental concepts (substance, causality, etc.) that Kant calls the “categories.” These categories are not learned from experience (they are “a priori”) but are applied to experience. The categories are a sort of conceptual apparatus that allow us to make sense of the world by ordering and classifying it. Insofar as Kant is only concerned with specifying the conditions that need to be met before we can possibly know anything at all, and since what is known is not completely determined by the objective world, but is also constituted by the application of the categories, his philosophy is called “transcendental idealism.”
However, like every idealist philosopher, Kant is faced with the problem of distinguishing between what is merely subjective experience (e.g., a dream) and what is properly objective in the sense of belonging to the real world. Indeed, how do we know that there is an objective world out there at all? Are we not simply aware of our own thinking processes? Kant’s answer to this supposed refutation of idealism was to say that “our inner experience is possible only on the assumption of outer experience” (Critique of Pure Reason A 226). He argues that the mere fact that I am self-aware proves the existence of objects in space outside of me. This is because in order to be aware of the succession of inner experiences, I must have something permanent to observe them against. This background can only be the permanence of objects outside of me, for there is nothing permanent in thought, which is always changing from one moment to the next.
While there may be no permanent thought insofar as we rapidly move from one representation to another, in Kant’s view there is a permanent subject that does the thinking. Indeed, Kant considers this a logical (or “transcendental”) condition of having any experience whatsoever. He writes, “it must be possible for the ‘I think’ to accompany all my representations” (Critique B 131). If not, then experience—which for Kant is by definition orderly and connected (Critique A 111)—would be impossible. This is not to say that in order for experience to be possible we must continually be thinking about ourselves. Rather, the claim is that whatever my thoughts or feelings I must be capable of recognizing (or “apperceiving”) them as my thoughts and my feelings. If that were not so, then my world would become fragmented and schizophrenic. For experience to be possible, a self-identical subject—the same—must be presupposed. Kant writes,
the “I” of apperception, and therefore the “I” in every act of thought, is one, and cannot be resolved into a plurality of subjects. (Critique B 407)
For Levinas, the notion of the “I think” demonstrates Kant’s affinity with Parmenidean monism understood as a reduction of the plurality of perceptions to a unity. The other would not be an object of knowledge at all unless the same (self) were able to synthesize experience by bringing different sensory data under the unity of apperception. This way of integrating what is at first outside (as other) other into the thinking, goals and projects of the same constitutes the very nature of freedom:
Such is the definition of freedom: to maintain oneself against the other, despite every relation with the other to ensure the autarchy [i.e., absolute rule] of an I. Thematization and conceptualization, which moreover are inseparable, are not peace with the other but suppression or possession of the other. . . .“I think” comes down to “I can”—to an appropriation of what is, to an exploitation of reality. (TI 46)
Levinas is saying here that knowledge and comprehension that the “I think” makes possible leads to the domination and exploitation of what exists. By being placed under a concept, the Other falls within my powers, and is thus exposed to violence and disrespect. We will return to this important argument later on.
The violence associated with the “I think” is not restricted to Kant’s philosophy. It pertains to every philosophy that, as ontology, seeks to comprehend the otherness of the Other by subsuming him or her under a concept that is thought within me, and thus is in some sense the same as me. This reaches its most extreme possibility in the idealism of Hegel.
Like many German philosophers of the nineteenth century, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) was heavily influenced by his predecessor Kant. Hegel agreed with much of what Kant had to say about truth and knowledge being constituted by the mind. However, unlike Kant he rejected the view that things in themselves are unknowable. Hegel took the more extreme view that everything that exists must be mental and thus in principle knowable. In so doing, he injected new life into Parmenidean monism, along with the claim that being and thought are the same.
For Hegel, Kant’s transcendental idealism is fundamentally flawed insofar as it places the categories solely on the side of the human subject, whereas they can equally be said to pertain to the side of the object. In his best-known work, Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), Hegel offers a unique reading of the history of philosophy as a progression toward this fundamental truth wherein subject and object finally coincide. Hegel dubs this coincidence or unity of subject and object “Absolute Knowledge.”
His argument is basically this. The Kantian dichotomy between appearances and things in themselves is shown to be an illusion once we assume, as did Hegel, that the proper objects of philosophical knowledge all fall within consciousness in general (which Hegel calls “Spirit”). To be sure, Hegel is not saying that material objects are figments of our imagination. He is saying that what appears in the first instance to be independent of consciousness (“being-in-itself”) turns out to be part of consciousness (“being-for-itself”), and thus ultimately knowable to the extent that consciousness is capable of coming to know itself. The following illustration makes this clear.
According to Kant, I am not aware of the tree as such but only as it appears to my senses. Suppose, however, that I do not make the tree the focus of my attention but my knowledge of the tree. It would then appear possible to know my object completely through self-reflection. Hegel offers a historical narrative of the various stages of this coming to know itself of consciousness, which include sense certainty, consciousness, self-consciousness, reason, spirit, and religion. Throughout this history, the knowing subject (the “I”) repeatedly comes to realize that what at first appeared to be radically other than itself (“not-I”) is in fact nothing other than itself. Levinas cites a passage from Hegel’s Phenomenology that nicely captures this “truth” arrived at by the “I”:
I distinguish myself from myself; and therein I am immediately aware that this factor distinguished from me is not distinguished. I, the selfsame being, thrust myself away from myself; but this which is distinguished, which is set up as unlike me, is immediately on its being distinguished no distinction for me. (Phenomenology of Spirit §164; cited TI 36-7)
What is important to grasp here is that the unity of the “I” is not arrived at in isolation from the world, but by overcoming the dichotomy between it and the world. The initial exteriority or otherness of the world is integrated into a conceptual framework in which any difference or contradiction between what exists and what is thought is finally overcome and forms a single totality—the famous Hegelian “system”—that is identical to reality or Being itself.
Hegel’s thought is perhaps the most conspicuous example of the tendency of ontology to privilege identity over difference by reducing the other to the same. This tendency does not stop with Hegel, but is continued by a later generation of German philosophers called phenomenologists. The leader of this group was Husserl.
From 1928 to 1929, Levinas studied under Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), the father of phenomenology, whose work he translated and subsequently introduced to
In our everyday dealings with the world, we tend to make various assumptions about the world. We naively assume that the world exists outside us and that the objects it contains exist independently of consciousness. This so-called “natural attitude,” according to Husserl, is the greatest obstacle in the way of achieving genuine scientific results in philosophy. To overcome it, Husserl begins in a manner reminiscent of René Descartes’ method of radical doubt by suspending belief in the existence of the external world. Such “bracketing” is what Husserl calls the phenomenological or “transcendental reduction” (epoché). For phenomenology to maintain its scientific rigor, it must limit itself to reflecting on the way in which objects in the world are given to consciousness. Consciousness has two components: act and object. According to the doctrine of the “intentionality” of consciousness (a term Husserl borrowed from the German philosopher Franz Brentano [1838-1916]), every act of consciousness (e.g., perceiving, believing, desiring, etc.) aims at or “intends” some object of consciousness (e.g., what is perceived, believed, desired, etc.). The question naturally arises: Who (or what) is the intentional subject of consciousness? Husserl calls it the “transcendental ego,” a purely idealist (i.e., constituting) subject that is in many respects similar to Kant’s “I think.”
However, at this point an objection may be raised. After suspending belief in the existence of the external world, has not the phenomenologist fallen into the idealist trap of “solipsism” by reducing everything—including other persons—to one’s own ideas? Husserl was well aware of this apparently “grave objection” to his thinking:
When I, the meditating I, reduce myself to my absolute transcendental ego by phenomenological epoché do I not become solus ipse? . . . What about other egos, who surely are not a mere intending and intended in me, merely synthetic unities of possible verification in me but, according to their sense, precisely others? (CM 89)
Husserl’s response was given in the fifth of his Cartesian Meditations, an important book that Levinas himself co-translated into French in 1931. In this book, Husserl claimed that the other person is not given to me in the same way that ordinary objects of perception are. I do not have a direct perception or “intuition” of the other person as such; all I am directly aware of is his or her body. Nevertheless, I do not perceive the other person as a mere automaton. Rather, I perceive him or her as another ego that is analogous or similar to me. Husserl calls this special act of consciousness “analogical appresentation.”
It is a matter of debate as to whether Husserl successfully escapes the charge of solipsism as stated. Certainly Levinas is among those critics for whom Husserl’s Cartesian starting-point presents insurmountable problems. Levinas criticizes Husserl for reducing the other person to another transcendental ego like me, thereby robbing the Other of his or her uniqueness. “The Other as Other is not only an alter ego: the Other is what I myself am not” (TO 83). Inasmuch as transcendental phenomenology views the other person as essentially the same as me (i.e., having another ego like mine), it misses the otherness of the Other. This in essence is Levinas’s critique of Husserl.
In some sense, Husserl placed himself in an impossible position. By beginning with the traditional philosophical distinction between subject (ego) and object (the world), Husserl was faced with the problem of explaining how the solitary transcendental ego manages to get “outside itself” in order to know the world as it really is. For many philosophers, this problem was finally laid to rest by Husserl’s most brilliant student, Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), under whom Levinas also studied. It is impossible to exaggerate the enormous influence Heidegger’s thinking had on Levinas, especially early on. Levinas perhaps learned more from Heidegger than from any other philosopher prior to WWII. However, Levinas would soon become more critical of Heidegger than of anyone else, a fact that has a lot to do with Heidegger’s political involvement with the Nazis during the war.
In his first major philosophical publication, Being and Time (1927), Heidegger took phenomenology in a radically new direction. He argued that the task of phenomenology is not to describe what is immediately accessible, or present, to consciousness, but to grant us access to what remains for the most part hidden from consciousness, which Heidegger called the “Being” of beings (BT 35). As we have seen, Being in its different forms (“the One,” “reality,” “thing-in-itself,” etc.) has served as the primary subject matter of philosophical inquiry. Heidegger’s focus on Being thus places him squarely within the philosophical tradition that Levinas calls ontology.
Heidegger’s “fundamental ontology,” however, differs from the traditional approaches inasmuch as it attempts to examine the very foundations of philosophy as such. To understand the underlying motivation behind Heidegger’s project, it is important to recognize that the intellectual climate of the time was thick with questions having to do with the foundations of the sciences. For example, “biology,” the science of life, must have recourse to a philosophical distinction between the “living” and “non-living” so as to establish the object of its investigation. Philosophy is thus called upon to provide a certain interpretation of the Being of beings, i.e., philosophy decides how the world is to be “carved up” for subsequent scientific investigation. In this sense, philosophy serves as a foundation and guide for all scientific inquiry.
Since it is the task of philosophy to make truthful claims about beings, it follows that philosophy should in turn be guided by an understanding of the Being of those beings. However, according to Heidegger, the question of the meaning of Being has been forgotten. The goal of Being and Time is thus to “raise anew the question of the meaning of Being” (BT 19).
What is revolutionary about Heidegger’s inquiry is his insistence that our knowledge of Being is not primarily theoretical. In other words, our understanding of the meaning of the word “Being” is not a purely intellectual enterprise, but stems rather from our everyday, practical dealings with the world. Heidegger maintains that human existence—which he calls “Dasein” (in German, literally meaning “being-there”)—is always involved in an understanding of its Being as well as the Being of other entities. Dasein is thus different from everything else (e.g., stones, plants, and animals) because Being is a question for it. Heidegger writes:
Dasein is an entity which does not just occur among other entities. Rather it is . . . distinguished by the fact that, in its very Being, that Being is an issue for it. . . . Understanding of Being is itself a defining characteristic of Dasein’s Being. (BT 32)
According to Heidegger, Dasein’s everyday way of being presupposes what he calls a “pre-ontological” (BT 35) understanding of Being, by which he means a non-scientific, non-theoretical, practical concern with beings. Heidegger’s argument amounts to the claim that philosophical knowledge ultimately derives from our pre-philosophical understanding of the world. Hence, if philosophy is to attain its goal of knowledge, it needs to begin with an analysis of our everyday, practical mode of existing, or what Heidegger calls “being-in-the-world.”
For Levinas, Heidegger’s focus on practical existence marks an important break with the dominant “intellectualist” bias operating in the history of philosophy. Levinas, however, is quick to point out that Heidegger’s attempted departure from the ontological tradition ultimately fails. After WWII, Levinas began to work out a powerful critique of Heidegger’s writings. This critique comes to fruition in Totality and Infinity, where Heidegger is accused of repeating the classic ontological gesture of subordinating ethics to ontology. Levinas writes:
To affirm the priority of Being over existents is to already decide the essence of philosophy; it is to subordinate the relation with someone, who is an existent (the ethical relation), to a relation to the Being of existents, which, impersonal, permits the apprehension, the domination of existents (a relationship of knowing), subordinates justice to freedom. (TI 45)
According to Heidegger, the encounter with beings, including human beings, implies the comprehension of Being in general. For Levinas, this amounts to the primacy of Being over beings, and thus the subordination of the particular to the general. Insofar as the Other is understood or grasped in terms of his or her Being, then the Other is comprehended on the basis of what he or she has in common with other beings. The Other is thereby divested of his or her individuality, and becomes conceptually the same as others:
The relation with Being that is enacted as ontology consists in neutralizing the existent in order to comprehend or grasp it. It is hence not a relation with the other as such but the reduction of the other to same. (TI 45)
Heideggerian ontology is thus what Levinas calls a “philosophy of power.” To know the Other is tantamount to predicting, manipulating, controlling, even dominating the Other. Fundamental ontology remains “under obedience to the anonymous, and leads inevitably to another power, to imperialist domination, to tyranny” (TI 46-7).
Many commentators have strongly disagreed with this interpretation of Heidegger’s thought. They typically cite, for example, Heidegger’s discussion of “Being-with” in Being and Time (BT §26) as a rejoinder to Levinas’s criticisms. In these pages, Heidegger argues that being with others is an inescapable fact of human existence. In stark contrast to Husserl, who began his analysis of intersubjectivity from the position of an isolated ego, and then was faced with the problem of showing how the ego relates to other human beings, Heidegger argues that Dasein is always already in relation with Others. From the outset, others are encountered in the world in which I live.
However, not only are other Daseins encountered in the world, according to Heidegger, they are encountered through the world as the arena of meaning, language, customs, and history. Although clearly an improvement over Husserl, Heidegger’s account of intersubjectivity, for Levinas, still remains steeped in comprehension and knowledge, even if it that knowledge is not that of traditional theory:
In Heidegger coexistence is, to be sure, taken as a relationship with the Other irreducible to objective cognition; but in the final analysis it also rests on the relationship with being in general, on comprehension, on ontology. . . . For Heidegger intersubjectivity is a coexistence, a we prior to the I and the other, a neutral intersubjectivity. (TI 67-8)
Levinas’s criticism of Heidegger’s ontology gains more force from the fact that Heidegger himself was implicated in the Nazi regime that led to the murder of countless Jewish and non-Jewish lives during WWII. Inasmuch as Heidegger’s thinking lack an ethics in the standard sense—and certainly lacked an ethics in Levinas’s sense—it is bereft of the very resources needed to call such a regime into question. Indeed, it is generally conceded that Heidegger, even in later life, never fully came to terms with his political error. Thus, while Levinas was heavily indebted to Heidegger’s philosophy, he was also governed by the strong “need to leave the climate of that philosophy, and by the conviction that one cannot leave it for a philosophy that would be pre-Heideggerian” (EE 4).
This separation from pre-Heideggerian and Heideggerian philosophy, indeed the separation not only from the totality of philosophy but the totality in general is considered by Levinas to be the pre-condition for ethics as such, as we will now see.
Mengapa tia mau bertemu she untuk minta 5 buku onotoloi?
Mengapa stress dengan deadline, paper, bab 1-4 , paper yang terlmat, presentasi?
Mengapa berat kalau terllau dikritik terus dan apa aku bisa menjadi ….pir?
Jangan dikira tidak ada lapisan-lapisan kesulitan?akan terus dihadapi, ketika bahagia anda harus mempertahankan kebahagiaan, ketika tertekan demikian juga,
Tabungan dan deposito dosa dulu dan sekarang
Dosa hati, dosa mata, dosa telinga, dosa perilaku
Dan mustahil ada perubahan selama masih mengandalkan ilmu teori
The problem of Change and Permanen (Heraclitus and Parmenides)
Everything is changes,
The nature of everything is change itself;
Everything flows and nothing is left (unchanged), or
Everything flows and nothing stands still, or
All things are in motion and nothing remains still.
His promotion of change also led Heraclitus to believe that conflict (e.g., ἀγών agon in Greek) is necessary for change
Parmenides of Elea (Greek: Παρμενίδης ο Έλεάτης, early 5th century BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea, a Hellenic city on the southern coast of Italy. Parmenides was a student of Ameinias and the founder of the School of Elea, which also included Zeno of Elea and Melissus of Samos. According to Plato, Parmenides had been the erastes of Zeno when the latter had been a youth.
Parmenides is one of the most significant of the pre-Socratic philosophers. His only known work, conventionally titled On Nature, is a poem, which has only survived in fragmentary form. Approximately 150 lines of the poem remain today; reportedly the original text had 3,000 lines. It is known, however, that the work originally divided into three parts:
movement was impossible because it requires moving into "the void", and Parmenides identified "the void" with nothing, and therefore (by definition) it does not exist.
Parmenides believed everything must exist, which meant to him that change was an optical illusion of some kind. Since both past and future already exist, he argued that the passing of time must be unreal. And so Parmenides denied change, saying it was appearance only, and interestingly out of the same principle taught that existence or being is ultimately a oneness. Existence could not be created and was indestructible. He may have been the first western philosopher to describe the universe as a permanent single whole, rather than a product of many parts.
According to Parmenides, everything that exists is permanent, ungenerated, indestructible, and unchanging.
The One and The Mani (The Eleatic and Pluralis )
The Eleatics were a
The Eleatics rejected the epistemological validity of sense experience, and instead took mathematical standards of clarity and necessity to be the criteria of truth. Of the members, Parmenides and Melissus built arguments starting from indubitably sound premises. Zeno, on the other hand, primarily employed the reductio ad absurdum, attempting to destroy the arguments of others by showing their premises led to contradictions (Zeno's paradoxes).
The main doctrines of the Eleatics were evolved in opposition to the theories of the early physicalist philosophers, who explained all existence in terms of primary matter, and to the theory of Heraclitus, which declared that all existence may be summed up as perpetual change. The Eleatics maintained that the true explanation of things lies in the conception of a universal unity of being. According to their doctrine, the senses cannot cognize this unity, because their reports are inconsistent; it is by thought alone that we can pass beyond the false appearances of sense and arrive at the knowledge of being, at the fundamental truth that the All is One. Furthermore, there can be no creation, for being cannot come from non-being, because a thing cannot arise from that which is different from it. They argued that errors on this point commonly arise from the ambiguous use of the verb to be, which may imply existence or be merely the copula which connects subject and predicate.
THE belief that all things are one was common to the early Ionians; but now Parmenides has shown that, if this one thing really is, we must give up the idea that it can take different forms. The senses, which present to us a world of change and multiplicity, are deceitful. There seemed to be no escape from his arguments, and so we find that from this time onwards all the thinkers in whose hands philosophy made progress abandoned the monistic hypothesis. Those who still held by it adopted a critical attitude, and confined themselves to a defence of the theory of Parmenides against the new views. Others taught the doctrine of Herakleitos in an exaggerated form; some continued to expound the systems of the early Milesians; but the leading men are all pluralists. The corporealist hypothesis had proved unable to bear the weight of a monistic structure.
ada 3 orang mau membunuh nabi, seorangdemi seorang datang. Dan setiap orang diajari islam, tapi merkea tidak mau, akhirnya nabi menyuruh ali membunuhnya dan begitu juga yagn kedua, tapi ketika yang ketika juga mau dibunuh, nabi menyuruh ali menahanya sebab allah menurunkan wahyu kepadanya. Orang itu mengatakan kenapa aku tidak dibunuh juga, nabi berkata, kaerna engkau memiliki 5 sifat baik : 1. ghirah 2.
Sehingga orang itu bertanya darimana engkau tahu, nabi menjwab dari jibril, kalau begitu kata orang tu engkau adalah nabi, maka orang itu masuk islam dan kemudianikut dalam peperangan dan syahid
Diskusi dengan lombok, nafs, berarti ali dan rasul sama jadi berarti cloning ?
Nabi tahu alam dari allah, tahu allah dari alam dan kenallah allah dengan allah, fuad : intelek. Partikular tergantung universal, aku tahu buku kuning, tapi aku tidak tahu buku?
Apa akan terus belajar, apa ilmu itu
Imajinasi, karena imajinasi kita tertarik melakukan suatu aktifitas, imajinasi dirampas oleh kekuatan yang hasil dari imajinasi juga. Bukankah banyak yang bisa diimajinasikan membuat kita buta dengan aktifitias sejati.
Hidup dalam imajinasi, tidak real.
Keputusan sehari-hari tidak mungkin tanpa bantuan imajinasidengan imajiani kita menyehatkandan menyegarkan pikiran. Imajinasi adalah juga subkesadaran yang membuat kita terkekang dan juga membebaskan. Kalau kita mengimajinasi bahwa kita akrab maka akrablah, tetapi sampai kapanitu bertahan