Sophie`s World- Chapter 4 Notes

Sophie's World- Chapter 4 Notes
- Sophie's mother found one of the philosopher's letters to Sophie in the mailbox.
- Sophie told her mother it was a love letter.
- Letter consisted of three questions: 1) Is there a basic substance that
everything else is made of? 2) Can water turn into wine? 3) How can earth and
water produce a live frog?
- Greek Philosophers are sometimes called Natural Philosophers because they
were mainly concerned w/the natural world and its processes.
- Early Philosophers thought nature was a constant state of transformation and
also believed that there had to be a certain basic substance at the root of all
- Early Philosophers: posed questions relating to the transformations they could
observe in the physical world, looked for the underlying laws of nature, wanted
to understand what was happening around them without having to turn to the
ancient myths, and they wanted to understand the actual processes by studying
nature itself.
- Philosophy gradually liberated itself from religion.
- Natural Philosophers took the first step in the direction of scientific reasoning,
thereby becoming the precursors of what was to become science.
- Thales was the first philosopher.
- Aristotle lived two centuries later than Thales and refers only to the conclusions
the philosophers reached in his writings.
- We do not always know by what paths they reached these conclusions, but
what we do know enables us to establish that the earliest Greek Philosophers'
project concerned the question of a basic constituent substance and the changes
in nature.
- Theory of Thales: the source of all things is water. That all life originated from
water- and that all life returns to water- and that all life returns to water again
when it dissolves.
- Theory of Anaximander: our world was only one of a myriad of worlds that
evolve and dissolve in something he called the "boundless".
- Theory of Anaximenes: the source of all things must be air or vapor. Water is
condensed air because when it rains water is pressed from the air and when
water is pressed even more, it becomes earth. Fire is rarefied air so therefore air
is the origin of earth, water, and fire.
- Theory of Parmenides: everthing that exists had always existed. Nothing can
come out of nothing and nothing that exists can become nothing. No such thing
as actual change. Nothing could become anything other than it was. Nature is in
a constant state of "flux". Chose reason over sense. Senses give us an incorrect
picture of the world.
- Theory of Heraclitus: world is characterized by opposites.
- Theory of Empidocles: nature consists of four elements, or "roots", fire,
and water.
- Theory of Anaxagoras: nature is built up of an infinite number of minute
particles invisible to the age.
- Sophie was unsure of what she believed after reading the early philosophers
theories. After reading she was excited to follow these ideas with some of her
own. Sophie decided that philosophy was not something you can learn; but
perhaps you can learn to think philosphy.