55. Man Is the Measure of All Things

Is man the measure of all things? And what does Protagoras mean by this exactly? Some have called him the father of relativism, but we will see in this article that Protagoras actually meant something very different by his famous statement. Read on to see how this relates to issues such as the Civil Rights […]

54. Protagoras – The First Sophist and Philosophical Revolutionary

“Man is the measure of all things.” This famous dictum is familiar to most of us, yet I imagine that most people have no idea who uttered those words. You can probably guess by the title of this post that it was none other than the philosopher Protagoras. But what did he mean by it […]

53. The Greek Sophists – Authentic Philosophers or Purveyors of Deception?

For those familiar with philosophy, the word “Sophist” brings to mind a highly articulate snake oil salesman who, through eloquence and smoothness of speech, is able to manipulate people into doing what he wants. In the ancient world, it was said that the Sophists could convince people it was night when it was day. This […]

52. From Democritus to Einstein – Atomists Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Atomic theory has a long, rich life in human history. It’s gone from a metaphysical theory developed by the Presocratics – namely the Atomists – to explain the idea of change vis-à-vis Parmenides’ idea of constant Being, to the modern scientific application of nuclear energy and nuclear warfare. The dynamic duo of atomism was Leucippus […]

51. Heraclitus – Fire as the Universal Principle

This article is a repost of Post 32. This repost was prompted by some very interesting comments and challenges left by an perceptive reader named Al. Below is one of his comments: “Your statement, “Heraclitus did not believe in universal flux” is not accurate at all. You take away Heraclitus’s major contribution to philosophy. Precisely, […]

49. God Becomes Man at the Center Point of History

In my second annual Christmas post, I would like to highlight for you one of my most favorite paintings of all time, entitled The Annunciation, by Fra Angelico. The Annunciation – when the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to have the Christ child – was a common art theme in the Middle […]

48. Empedocles – Love and Strife

Of the various qualities attributed to Empedocles, humility was not one of them. He is quoted as saying: “I am among you as an immortal god, no longer mortal, honored by you all, wreathed in garlands and crowns.” As a physician, he earned this reputation by performing some noteworthy feats such as saving the Sicilian […]

47. Anaxagoras – Mind as the Origin of the Universe

According to the Roman historian Valerius Maximus, when Anaxagoras returned to his hometown of Clazomenae, Ionia after an extended journey abroad, he saw that his estate had been abandoned. Rather than become despondent as many people would, he simply said, “Unless they had perished, I would not have been saved.”1 As the story goes, after […]

46. Zeno’s Paradoxes – The Discovery of the Infinite in the Finite

It all started when an art teacher asked me a simple question: “How many colors are there?” Well, it turned out that that this quite simple question sent me on a trek at the end of which I ran into Zeno, of all people. Of course, Zeno did not give me an easy answer to […]

45. Zeno’s Paradoxes – You Can’t Get There from Here

After three deep posts on Parmenides, Zeno of Elea will be a refreshing change of pace where we can rest our minds a bit and have some fun. Zeno is known almost exclusively for his intriguing paradoxes.1 For example, according to Zeno, did you know that if you set off to reach a destination, you […]

%d bloggers like this: