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Empedocles (c.490–430 bc)


Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Extract

Greek natural philosopher, born in Acragas, Sicily. Empedocles wrote two long philosophical poems ( On the Nature of Things and Hymns of Purification ), but only fragments of them survive. He held that things in the world were formed out of four roots or elements (earth, water, air, and fire). Alongside these elements are two principles, Love and Strife. Love unites the elements, whereas Strife separates them. Love and Strife alternate in periods of domination of the kosmos as a whole. Empedocles used understanding of generation and destruction in terms of the combination and separation of several ultimate constituents to respond to Parmenides' rejection of the possibility of change. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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