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Below are the 14 most recent journal entries recorded in Pre-Socratic Philosophy's LiveJournal:

Sunday, February 20th, 2011
5:26 pm
Philosorapters - Preparing students for the job market
Hello everyone,

I doubt this is the right place to post this so I apologize if it's wrong.

I recently applied for graduate programs in philosophy all over the US. I realized at some point that I was doing about an hour of research a day and just storing it for myself. This seemed a bit on the selfish side so I decided that I would publish my findings on this blog. This blog is my research into how to survive as a career philosopher.


This blog is designed to keep you updated on professional news and movements in philosophy today, trolled from many site over the internet.
Firstly, particular focus is on the professional aspects of philosophy such as how to create a good C/V, prepare ones application, Publish papers, and understand hiring practices.
Secondly, I'm also quite interested in why philosophy, specifically critical thinking, is not taught in high school, and other issues in the profession.

I will be posting my findings that I think could be beneficial to other undergrads, graduates as well as post-doc students.

Please feel free to comment, criticize, or suggest research material.

Yet again, I apologize if this is posted in the wrong place,

I hope this blog might help philosophy students prepare for the job market if that is where they want to go.

All the best,

William Parkhurst
Monday, November 20th, 2006
9:25 am
Wednesday, November 8th, 2006
5:11 am
Hi, I am Lisa.

I'm currently in a year long philosophy program and would love to engage in discourse involving the ancients. I'll be posting my reflections and looking for dialogue and interesting conversation.

Add me if you are interested in this, with me.
Wednesday, October 18th, 2006
2:25 pm
I'm writing a paper on Pindar's Olympia 1, and i want to link it to the Iliad and other presocratics as a text that shows a shift between types of government (ie, from inherited positions to elected positions). Does anyone have any experience with this text/topic? I'd like to do a thorough job but unfortuately its only a survey class so I don't know much about the subject. Any help would be appreciated.
Saturday, September 9th, 2006
10:08 pm
reductio ad absurdum proves induction
Hippocrates of Cos is one of the names mentioned when mathematicians talk about who first used the indirect method to prove something. If you look to the evidence the first mention of proof is related to Thales where it is said the he is the first to measure the equinoxes exactly. To do that Thales would have to know of the reductio because the equinoxes are always changing. The reductio gives us a way to prove induction (change) because we can assume one of the parts to be false and create a contradiction, ala Eudoxus, Euclid, or Hippocrates.
Tuesday, October 11th, 2005
12:20 am
Some Pythagorian Humour
I found this in my textbook today while reading the chapter on the humourous mathematically mystic philosophers, the Pythagorians.
In this chapter of the book the author discusses how the Pythagorians used numbers to capture the essence and construction of a thing, in this case, a physical entity. Aristotle, in his Metaphysics (14.5 1092b10-13) explains what some Pythagorians thought:

"Eurytus assigned what was the number of what, e.g., this is the number of a human, that is the number of a horse, like those who bring numbers into trangular and square figures, fashioning with pebbles in the forms of plants."

Alexander of Aphrodisias (a 3rd century AD philosophy, commentator on Aristotle) later commented on this, and expounded on precisely what Aristotle means:
"For an example, suppose the number 250 is the definition of human being... After positing this, he would take 250 pebbles, some green, some black, others red, and generally pebbles of all colours. Then he smeared a wall with lime and drew a human being in outline and then fastened some of these pebles in the drawn face, others in the hands, other elsewhere, and he completed the drawing of the human being there represented by means of pebbles equal to the unit which he declared defined Human Being. As a result of this procedure, he would state that just as the particular sketched human being is composed of, say, 250 pebbles, so a real human being is defined by so many units."

That's what we call true hands-on philosophy! And the Greeks have always been... slightly more obssessive than the other groups. The Mesopotamians and Egyptians didn't quite take their mathematics to such an extreme, occultic level as certain Greeks have.
Tuesday, September 6th, 2005
5:51 am
thuse spoke the immutable blaze of the WORD

Know me, for I am all that is. I am your only choice beside the abyss.
I am passion, conflict, chaos and flux. I will singe, sear and scorch your flesh if you do not follow my rule, yet I will possess and empower you if you choose to receive me.
I am the eternal cycle of combustion that is creation, destruction, life and death.
You are a part of me, a fledgling flame of mine. I am your ignition, and I am he to whom you will return once you have been extinguished. My currents are relentless, and you are an inexorable current in and of me.
Flow in fluid fire,
or stagnate and be subsumed.
Turn your face from me, and you will see your hollow reflection in oblivion.
Know me, and my fire will make you a god.

Sunday, September 4th, 2005
7:45 pm
Presocratic Texts
Whereabouts online can I find full texts (full insofar as exant fragments are concerned) of the Presocratic philsophers? This is not including early Hellenic poets that are philosophical (Hesiod, Homer), but specifically the Pre-Socratics.

xposted to philosophy, presocratics, classicalgreek
Saturday, November 27th, 2004
2:35 am
In my ancient philosophy class we have been talking about The Apology and how Socrates basically feels that it is important to be able to withdraw from society in order to live "the good life". My question is how far do you think you should withdraw yourself? You cannot become completely isolated. That would just make your life harder, but fitting in too much isn't going to help you find yourself either.
Saturday, October 23rd, 2004
10:54 am
just joined, ive been interested in early philosophy for a while, i guess since i first got into philosophy, i thought it would be best to start with greek philosophy, then work up to modern philosophy, but then i became curious at how "early" i could trace philosophy, and im still questing i guess, i also had a interest in "mesopotamia", and for some reason i just find ancient greece to be very interesting. i guess thats all i have to say now.
Sunday, October 17th, 2004
12:59 am
I'm new to ancient philosophy but I find it very interesting. The problem is that everything before Christianity in my ancient philosophy class is considered well, ancient philosophy. We don't really stay on topics for too long because we have so much to cover so I feel as though I'm not getting as great an understanding of each philosopher as I could be getting. For our Final we have to write a 10 page paper about anything we want as long as it predates Christianity. I'm having a hard time picking a topic and I was wondering here if anybody could suggest some. I have no idea where to start with this, and my teacher is so open to it being anything that it makes it even harder to choose something.

Current Mood: thoughtful
Friday, October 15th, 2004
6:39 am
Heraclitus on the logos, unity, strife
Here are some Heraclitean fragments concerning the continuous strife of existence, and the paradox of simultaneous unity and flux (fragments are numbered according to the order provided in the text described here):

45. Things taken together are whole and not whole, being brought together and brought apart, in tune and out of tune; out of all things there comes a unity, and out of a unity all thing.
Heraclitus definitely had a spiritual reverence for the logos (reason subtending the mechanism of the world). He split this logos into an interesting paradox-- concord and discord together. This is why his choice of hypokeimenon (primary substance) was fire, "an element that is always changing, yet always the same" (quote from the editor's introduction to the section).
46.They do not understand how, though at variance with itself, it agrees with itself. It is a backwards-turning attunement like that of a bow and lyre.
I am unsure what the "it" refers to in this one. The most educated guess I can derive from the context of the adjacent fragments is that "it" is the logos. Again, variance and agreement at once.
49. What is opposed brings together; the finest harmony (harmonia) is composed of things at variance, and everything comes to be in accordance with strife.
A bolder emphasis on strife.
61. Upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow.

63. We step into and we do not step into the same rivers. We are and we are not.
I love these river metaphors. To exist is to be in a dynamic state at any and all times-- the water is never the same water, nor the river the same river. As soon as we arrive at a perception of the water, the experience is already gone, and the water has changed.
79. War is the father of all and king of all, and some he shows as gods, other as humans; some he makes slaves, others free.
This is my favorite of all Heraclitus' fragments, at very least on an aesthetic level. I believe the power of this fragment plainly indicates his logocentric focus on strife over unity. I believe he means almost to equate the two-- to say that the unity is that there is always strife. A unity of dynamism.

I consider another implication of this excerpt to be that there will always be figures on each extreme of any continuum: some extraordinary, some ordinary, some masters, some slaves.... In fact, if strife is to be constant, there would have to exist elements on all sides of all spectrums, so as to be at odds with each other.

I'd appreciate your take on Heraclitus' paradoxical logos-- an absolute and rationally intelligible mechanism of eternal flux.
Wednesday, October 6th, 2004
8:35 pm
Suggested Reading

The text I used in my Ancient Philosophy course: Readings In Ancient Greek Philosophy From Thales To Aristotle, Second Edition, Edited by Marc Cohen, Patricia Curd and C.D.C. Reeve

It includes fragments from Presocratics including, though not limited to

  • Thales
  • Anaximander
  • Pythagoras
  • Heraclitus
  • Parmenides
  • Anaxagoras
  • Empedocles
  • Zeno
  • Democritus
  • Protagoras

It also includes the works of Plato and Aristotle-- I am unsure if they are complete, but if not a glance at the glossary makes it look close.

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004
11:39 am
Our favorite ancient Greeks, and the origin of the monist/pluralist debate in Western philosophy

Parmenides was responsible for a wholistic conception of the universe. He could not conceive of anything outside of existence and labeled such things unthinkable. Existence is a single object whose only flux is illusory internal shifting.

Heraclitus considered flux, rather, as the fundamental property of existence, calling the harmony subtending this constant motion the logos.

Though apparently opponents of each other, I find both of these paradigms monistic.

Anaximander was among the many ancients whose thought was devoted to discovering the hypokeimenon (primary substance of the universe). Instead of claiming a known physical substance, he called it the apeiron (indefinite, unbounded), a substance with no intrinsic definition or limitation which forms all things.

More monism on the part of these early philosopher-physicists. Their very quest was for the arche (first cause, first principle) of existence.

Empedocles took a pluralistic approach to the question of the hypokeimenon, positing the familiar earth, water, fire and aether as the four basic elements. He described two motive forces which unified and separated these elements, respectively, which were love and strife.

Not only is the use of multiple basic elements a move toward pluralism, but the inclusion of the motive forces creates a content/form dualism.

Socrates/Plato, of course, created ubermonism with the idea of The Good (deistic type of god). However, they also clearly subscribed to a dualism of Forms and Objects. How does this cohere?

Aristotle split the good up into individual telos (end, purpose). A vast improvement from Plato's Good, in my opinion, but he wasn't much less absolutist than his precursor.

What insights do you think these Greeks and others of the Golden Age offer to the discussion of the plurality of the nature of existence?

(x-posted to philosophy</em>

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