Episode 4 – Parmenides and Monism

 

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Parmenides and Monism: What Exists Is Uncreated and Imperishable

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“We can speak and think only of what exists. And what exists is uncreated and imperishable for it is whole and unchanging and complete. It was not or nor shall be different since it is now, all at once, one and continuous.”

Parmenides was a Presocratic Monistic philosopher who lived in Elea in the 5th century BC. He came to his peculiar and paradoxical outlook by strictly following logical deduction and reasoning.

His reasoning skills where without a doubt exceptional, however they did lead him to make some extremely divisive claims about the nature of reality which have left many philosophers perplexed and alienated.

He asserted throughout his philosophical life that our experience of the world is an illusion and that we are deluded into believing that motion is possible, change is possible, birth and death are possible and so on.

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Episode 3 – Heraclitus and the Doctrine of Flux

 

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Heraclitus, Logos and Flux: You Cannot Step Twice into the Same Stream

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When Socrates was asked what he thought of the philosophy of Heraclitus, he responded with “the part I understand is excellent, and so too is, I dare say, the part I do not understand; but it needs a Delian diver to get to the bottom of it”.

This anecdote refers to Heraclitus; an ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher who lived around 500 years BC. in the city of Ephesus. Born into a wealthy, aristocratic family, he was allegedly destined to be King of the Ionians; a role that he passed over to his brother in order to study philosophy.

He rejected the scripture and dogmatism of what had came before him to form his own unique outlook, which became incredibly influential amongst the Stoics and even years later with thinkers such as Hegel and Nietzsche.

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Episode 2 – Diogenes and Cynicism

 

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Diogenes the Cynic: He Has the Most Who Is Most Content with the Least

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Around the fourth century BC Alexander the Great, who was perhaps the most powerful and influential man of the time decided to approach a philosopher that he greatly admired, Diogenes of Sinope.

He approached Diogenes as he was basking in the sun and was so thrilled to meet him that he asked if there could be anything he might do for him.

Being of immense power and status, Alexander could have fulfilled the philosopher’s most wild dreams, however the philosopher replied “Yes, stand out of my sunlight…”

Diogenes of Sinope (arguably one of the most radical and remarkable characters in the whole philosophical cannon!) is certainly the most memorable and popular philosopher from the school of thought known as Cynicism. The Cynics believed that society was regressive epitomized in these quotes by Diogenes:

“Humans have complicated every simple gift of the gods”

“He has the most who is most content with the least”

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Episode 1 – Epicurus and Epicureanism

 

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Epicurus and the Simple Life: What Is Good Is Easy to Get

7847708418_2391e959d5_bNo one should postpone the study of philosophy when he is young, nor should he weary of it when he becomes mature because the search for mental health is never untimely or out of season.

To say that the study of philosophy has not yet arrived or that it is past is like saying that the time for happiness is not yet at hand or is no longer present.

Thus both the young and the mature should pursue philosophy, the latter in order to be rejuvenated as they age by the blessings that accrue from pleasurable past experiences, and the youthful in order to become mature immediately through having no fear of the future.”

These are the words of Epicurus; A hedonistic philosopher who lived in the ancient Greek city state of Athens around 300 years BC. Epicurus advocated a simple, rural life of obscurity spent in the company of friends indulging in life’s natural pleasures.

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