The Philosophical Apprentice

“Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.” Albert Einstein

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

Thales, Was He So Original After All?

I have been reading Kathleen Freeman’s book, Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers. The first chapter covered the Orpheus. Not much was known about Orpheus and Aristotle thought he was only a legend. Whatever the case, I was surprised to learn that Orphism dated from the 6th Century B.C. and lasted until the fall of the Roman Empire. Orphism had a major effect on several ancient Greek Philosophers such as Pythagoras and Plato.
One of the fragments that caught my attention was a quotation from Athenagoras who wrote that:

“Orpheus was the first theologian. He gave Water as the beginning of the whole, from Water came Mud, and from both came a serpent, Heracles or Time. This Heracles produced a huge Egg, which split into two, forming Gê (Earth) and Ouranos (Heaven).”

I assume the Athenagoras here is the Christian apologist from the 1st century A.D. If that is true he wrote considerably later than the original Orpheus and as time would have it, he probably got a lot of it wrong. Still, it is interesting that he uses “Water” as the “beginning of the Whole”. I sens a similarity between the “Water” of Orpheus as the beginning and Thales’ use of water as his arche, the origin of all things. I have never seen this connection before. However, David Roochnik writes that “according to Aristotle, Thales’s arche is the source of all things. It is that from which all things come into being and into which they perish.”1
I can’t prove it but I believe Thales, at the least, may have been influenced by the Orphics and may have indeed been an Orphic. If so, his philosophy would be hard to distinguish from his religion.

1. Roochnik, David, Introduction to Greek Philosophy, the Teaching Company 2002

Two Posts in One Night!

No pressing classwork and I can’t get to the television on account of the wife and her soap operas. Why not post?

Here’s a outline-guide-to-studying-philosophy. I found it a very helpful outline of all the areas I’ll need to master.


A Free Man!

I finally finished the moral philosophy class I was taking! Words cannot begin to describe the relief I feel after having finished that class. Between the class itself and the extension I got to finish it, that class sucked nine months out of my life.  Still, I made an A and am thankful that my academic career in the noetic sciences will continue.

I’ve got a week free before I start my next class. I am going to be taking Ancient and Medieval. I’ve looked over the syllabus and it doesn’t appear to be too writing intensive. That’s good because I’d like to be able to put some work into some outside writing interests which I want to post on this blog.

I promised a while back to post some of the Horrigan texts I’ve accumulated and converted into pdf files with page numbers for easier reading. Here is the first one INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY by Paul Gerard Horrigan. Enjoy.

P.S. If anybody has any background on Horrigan. Please send it my way. I’d like to double check with him about converting his ebooks into pdf files.



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