Tracing back the origin and use of physics in ancient greek society

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Tracing back the origin and use of physics in ancient greek society

Ancient Greek Views Evolution is not so much a modern discovery as some of its advocates would have us believe. It made its appearance early in Greek philosophyand maintained its position more or less, with the most diverse modifications, and frequently confused with the idea of emanation, until the close of ancient thought.

The Greeks had, it is true, no term exactly equivalent to " evolution"; but when Thales asserts that all things originated from water; when Anaximenes calls air the principle of all things, regarding the subsequent process as a thinning or thickening, they must have considered individual beings and the phenomenal world as, a result of evolution, even if they did not carry the process out in detail.

Anaximander is often regarded as a precursor of the modem theory of development. He deduces living beings, in a gradual development, from moisture under the influence of warmth, and suggests the view that men originated from animals of another sort, since if they had come into existence as human beings, needing fostering care for a long time, they would not have been able to maintain their existence.

In Empedocles, as in Epicurus and Lucretius, who follow in Hs footsteps, there are rudimentary suggestions of the Darwinian theory in its broader sense; and here too, as with Darwin, the mechanical principle comes in; the process is adapted to a certain end by a sort of natural selection, without regarding nature as deliberately forming its results for these ends.

If the mechanical view is to be found in these philosophers, the teleological occurs in Heraclitus, who conceives the process as a rational development, in accordance with the Logos and names steps of the process, as from igneous air to water, and thence to earth.

The Stoics followed Heraclitus in the main lines of their physics. The primal principle is, as with him, igneous air. The Godhead has life in itself, and develops into the universe, differentiating primarily into two kinds of elements the finer or active, and the coarser or passive.

Formation or development goes on continuously, under the impulse of the formative principle, by whatever name it is known, until all is once more dissolved by the ekpyrosis into the fundamental principle, and the whole process begins over again. Their conception of the process as analogous to the development of the seed finds special expression in their term of logos spermatikos.

In one point the Stoics differ essentially from Heraclitus. With them the whole process is accomplished according to certain ends indwelling in the Godhead, which is a provident, careful intelligence, while no providence is assumed in Heraclitus.

Empedocles asserts definitely that the sphairos, as the full reconciliation of opposites, is opposed, as the superior, to the individual beings brought into existence by hatred, which are then once more united by love to the primal essence, the interchange of world-periods thus continuing indefinitely.

Development is to be found also in the atomistic philosopher Democritus; in a purely mechanical manner without any purpose, bodies come into existence out of atoms, and ultimately entire worlds appear and disappear from and to eternity.

Like his predecessors, Deinocritus, deduces organic beings from what is inorganic-moist earth or slime. Development, as well as the process of becoming, in general, was denied by the Eleatic philosophers.

Their doctrine, diametrically opposed to the older thoroughgoing evolutionism, had its influence in determining the acceptance of unchangeable ideas, or forms, by Plato and Aristotle.

1 Water mill

Though Plato reproduces the doctrine of Heraclitus as to the flux of all things in the phenomenal world, he denies any continuous change in the world of ideas. Change is permanent only in so far as the eternal forms stamp themselves upon individual objects.

Though this, as a rule, takes place but imperfectly, the stubborn mass is so far affected that all works out as far as possible for the best. The demiurge willed that all should become as far as possible like himself; and so the world finally becomes beautiful and perfect.

Here we have a development, though the principle which has the most real existence does not change; the forms, or archetypal ideas, remain eternally what they are.

Tracing back the origin and use of physics in ancient greek society

In Aristotle also the forms are the real existences, working in matter but eternally remaining the same, at once the motive cause and the effectual end of all things. Here the idea of evolution is clearer than in Plato, especially for the physical world, which is wholly dominated by purpose.

The transition from lifeless to living matter is a gradual one, so that the dividing-line between them is scarcely perceptible.

Next to lifeless matter comes the vegetable kingdom, which seems, compared with the inorganic, to have life, but appears lifeless compared with the organic.

The transition from plants to animals is again a gradual one. The lowest organisms originate from the primeval slime, or from animal differentiation; there is a continual progression from simple, undeveloped types to the higher and more perfect.

As the highest stage, the end and aim of the whole process, man appears; all lower forms are merely unsuccessful attempts to produce him. The ape is a transitional stage between man and other viviparous animals.

If development has so important a work in Aristotle's physics, it is not less important in his metaphysics. The whole transition from potentiality to actuality from dynamis toentelecheia is nothing but a transition from the lower to the higher, everything striving to assimilate itself to the absolutely perfect, to the Divine.

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Thus Aristotle, like Plato, regards the entire order of the universe as a sort of deification. But the part played in the development by the Godhead, the absolutely immaterial form, is less than that of the forms which operate in matter, since, being already everything, it is incapable of becoming anything else.

Thus Aristotle, despite his evolutionistic notions, does not take the view of a thoroughgoing evolutionist as regards the universe; nor do the Neoplatonists, whose highest principle remains wholly unchanged, though all things emanate from it. Medieval Views The idea of evolution was not particularly dominant in patristic and scholastic theology and philosophy, both on account of the dualism which runs through them as an echo of Plato and Aristotle, and on account of the generally accepted Christian theory of creation.

However, evolution is not generally denied; and with Augustine De civitate dei, xv. Erigena and some of his followers seem to teach a sort of evolution. The issue of finite beings from God is called analysis or resolution in contrast to the reverse or deification the return to God, who once more assimilates all things.

God himself, although denominated the beginning, middle, and end, all in all remains unmixed in his own essence, transcendent though immanent in the world. Nicholas of Cusa is similar to Erigena's, though a certain amount of Pythagoreanism comes in here.

The world exhibits explicitly what the Godhead implicitly contains; the world is an animated, ordered whole, in which God is everywhere present. Since God embraces all things in himself, he unites all opposites:Tracing languages back to their common ancestors through the statistics of sound shifts Tracing languages back to their common ancestors through the .

Greek- is an elaborate inclinometer, historically used by astronomers, navigators, and astrologers.

The Dawn of the Tetraquark

Its many uses include locating and predicting the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets, and stars, determining local time given local latitude and vice versa, surveying, triangulation, and to cast horoscopes.

Physics (from the Ancient Greek φύσις physis meaning "nature") is the fundamental branch of science. The primary objects of study are matter and energy. How did the Greek civilization contribute to the Western civilization?

Update Cancel. ad by Truthfinder The most important part of our link to Ancient Greek civilisation is how western society can be traced back to Ancient Greece.

Western society arose from England, which was in turn taken by the Romans, who were of course similar to the.

Here are fantastic examples of sentences and phrases with the word "origins". Sentences with the word: Synonyms. Antonyms tracing them all the way back to ancient Persia. The book is well written, A word with Ancient Greek origins. It was proposed by Charles Darwin in On the Origin of Species in and, independently, by Alfred Wallace in —although Wallace, unlike Darwin, said the human soul is not the product of evolution.

Greek and medieval references to "evolution" use it as a descriptive term for a state of nature, in which everything in nature has a certain order or purpose.

History of Evolution | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy