Ancient philosophers and modern scientists

    Athens School
    Now it’s fashionable to talk about the similarities of modern science and Taoism or Indian philosophy. Not surprising. Eastern philosophy is very popular, and in popular culture it is preferred to western. In my opinion it’s unfair. As far as I know, the philosophy of India was subordinate to religion, and this is not too useful for science, which requires maximum freedom of thought. In China, philosophy has almost always been subordinate to ideology, which is just as bad. Perhaps I'm wrong, in which case I am waiting for objections. And now I would suggest to see what of the "wisdom of the West" was the forerunner of our modern scientific ideas. In fact, it is simply amazing how far the Greek thought has come in the knowledge of the world. The Greeks even had all the knowledge to make a steam engine and start the industrial revolution thousands of years before the British. Why not done is another question. This is usually associated with slavery and unsuccessful natural conditions. Also, many modern scientific ideas were known to people of antiquity. As a rule, the Ancients had a completely different reason to believe in them than ours. In many cases, the argument was more than naive, sometimes completely incorrect, and sometimes quite modern. I would like to talk about a few examples that have always impressed me, examples. In addition, I hope this article is useful to those who study in technical specialties and study the course of general philosophy, which we must admit is often taught in the most boring way. the Ancients had reason to believe in them completely different than ours. In many cases, the argument was more than naive, sometimes completely incorrect, and sometimes quite modern. I would like to talk about a few examples that have always impressed me, examples. In addition, I hope this article is useful to those who study in technical specialties and study the course of general philosophy, which we must admit is often taught in the most boring way. the Ancients had reason to believe in them completely different than ours. In many cases, the argument was more than naive, sometimes completely incorrect, and sometimes quite modern. I would like to talk about a few examples that have always impressed me, examples. In addition, I hope this article is useful to those who study in technical specialties and study the course of general philosophy, which we must admit is often taught in the most boring way.

    Raphael's picture shows an Athenian school — one of the first universities in history


    Thales is the first of the philosophers of antiquity who were called physicists (besides them there were also ethics and dialectics). In general, philosophy begins with it. He was a representative of the Milesian school, and he was also ranked among the Seven Sages, very ancient thinkers who were considered great. All of the seven said some clever phrase. Specifically, Thales said: "water is the best." He assumed that everything was made up of water. Of course, from our point of view this is rather naive, but one should not forget that the ancients did not have chemistry or microscopes in those days, and the idea of ​​a single nature of everything material was very progressive. At the beginning of the 20th century, something like that seemed like a pretty serious idea. At the first stages of atomic theory, it seemed that everything was made up of hydrogen.
    Thales also studied astronomy. They say he died when he went to watch the stars at night and fell into a well that he had forgotten about.


    Anaximander is another representative of the Milesian school. He was not satisfied with the idea that everything consists of water, so he suggested that everything consists of apeiron, which turns into all other substances. Apeiron is infinite, eternal and “embraces all worlds”. Anaximander believed that there are many worlds other than ours, which in fact was not uncommon for the Greeks. As if when Macedonian learned from Anaxarchus that there are many worlds, he was upset that he had not won even one. For Giordano Burno, such an idea ended in failure (there was not only that, but that was another story).
    Anaximander imagined that there is a struggle between the natural elements that are formed and the apeiron, but the universal law of justice returns everything to order if one element (fire, for example) passes its measure, so that conservation laws are fulfilled in its physics. The worlds in this cosmology arose naturally as a result of the chaotic movement of elements, and then Democritus will develop this idea, and then Kant will tell that the Solar System emerged from a vortex of cosmic dust. Living creatures according to Anaskamander were born under the influence of sunlight from a water element, and humans and all other animals descended from fish. Once upon a time, man was completely different from what he is today. Anaximander argued this by saying that the baby could not survive in natural nature itself, which means once he had to be adapted to independent survival. Yes, this is a theory of evolution, only without natural selection. However, we’ll talk about the selection.
    But Anaximander represented the Earth in the form of a cylinder. Well, even great thinkers are mistaken! After a few hundred years, they will make fun of us for our ideas about the Universe. Another anonymous was Anaximenes, he believed that everything consists of air and also represented the earth in the form of a cylinder.


    I mentioned Anaximenes only in order to go to Empedocles, who decided that one basic element was not enough and proposed four: water, earth, air and fire, of which everything is built up, like " " the wall is made of bricks and stones "." And also there is love and enmity - two forces or elements that control the behavior of others, connecting them and sharing. Love and hostility have clear physical properties, so these are not just metaphors. Everything in the world happens by chance and necessity. In general, it’s quite modern, call the first 4 elements fermions, and love and enmity are bosons, and here you have something similar to the Standard Model.
    Empedocles was also a religious figure. I will not talk about his religious ideas, they have nothing to do with his scientific ideas. Here the term "cognitive dissonance" is suitable. I note only that in the end: "The Great Empedocles, with an ardent soul, Jumped into Etna and roasted whole ." He did this to go to the gods to which he included himself.
    His main scientific discovery is that air is a special substance. This was not just a speculative conclusion, he really established it empirically, observing various natural phenomena. And yes, he came up with natural selection! True, very strange. At first, it seemed as if there were very different creatures like a head with hands or a nose with legs, all kinds of hermaphrodites and other horrors of which only the fittest survived in the end. Empedocles believed that the moon shines with reflected light and was right, and that the sun also shines and was wrong, as you might guess. He knew, perhaps from Anaxagoras, about which a little further, that eclipses are caused by the passage of the Moon between the Earth and the Sun. He also thought that light travels at a very large, but finite speed. And how could he have thought of this? Following,


    Anaxagoras is one of those philosophers who suffered for his beliefs. Because he taught that the Moon is like the Earth and there are mountains on it and creatures live, and the Sun is a red-hot stone larger than Pelopones, he was persecuted by the leaders of Athenian democracy, who first dragged through the relevant law. However, probably this was also due to the fact that he was a friend of the ruler of Athens Pericles, against whom the political struggle had just unfolded. Yes, some things do not change over time. Unlike Socrates or Bruno, Anaxagoras survived and moved to a more supportive town. Later, the day of his death was declared according to his will a school weekend.
    Anaxagoras believed that all things are infinitely divisible (similar, alas, to the somewhat marginal fractal theory of matter). He called what the matter of homeomerism consists of, and I never fully understood what it was. Homeomeries are indestructible and infinitely small. Substances of all kinds are present in all bodies, and our perception depends on what prevails. So, let’s say, in meat there is a homeomery of fire, bone, water, wood and everything else, but there is more homeomery of meat. When we eat meat, our bones grow - because they are contained in meat. The snow is white, but there is a little bit of soot in it, so the snow is a little black. The only thing that is not present in everything is the mind, nus. He is part of only living things. The mind, by the way, brings matter into the initial movement. Nus is the same everywhere. In a cow he is as good as in a man, but the cow has no hands, therefore, Nus does not provide it with the same results as humans. In general, Anaxagoras came up with a mechanical explanation for everything. As far as he was known, he was an atheist.


    We talked about those who believed that everything consists of water and air. Wasn’t there anyone who believed that everything consisted of fire? Yes, there was such a philosopher. His name was Heraclitus and, they say, he was a very gloomy man. In the painting "School of Athens" he sits, gloomily propping his head in his hand. Heraclitus left people and lived in a desert area, and before his death he smeared himself with manure. Or maybe he was treated for dropsy like that. About all his predecessors, he spoke with sarcasm and criticism. He only praised Teutam, possibly because Teutam believed that "many are bad." Heraclitus is considered extremely great because he invented the dialectic, which Hegel later developed, and used Marx. Everything flows, everything changes - Heraclitus said, unity is born from opposites, but you cannot enter the same river twice, the war is the king of everything and everything to the father. Everything in the world consists of an ever-changing fire capable of passing into different states. "Everything is exchanged for Fire, and Fire - for everything, as for gold - goods and for goods - gold." Heisenberg noted that if we replace the word fire in the works of Heraclitus with the word energy, we get (almost) modern physics. The law governs the universe - the logo. If it seems ridiculous idealism to you that the law of nature can exist separately from matter, then to Vilenkin’s book “The World of Many Worlds”.


    If Heraclitus believed that everything is changing in the world, then there was someone who believed that nothing was changing. Nothing at all. His name was Parmenides. He said that being is eternal, unchanging, infinite, one, material and has the shape of a ball, and emptiness does not exist. I do not list the arguments in favor of this, they are not too interesting from the point of view of physics. Parmenides is a very important and deep philosopher, but I placed him here because his idea resembles the static world of the general theory of relativity, where space and time are a single four-dimensional manifold. Just as quantum mechanics and general relativity are now getting along with difficulty, so once the philosophy of Parmenides caused great trouble to other philosophers. In addition, he very sharply raised the question of time and, it seems to me, new interesting thoughts about time will not appear soon after him.


    Another person expressed ideas contrary to the views of Heraclitus - Democritus. He was an atomist and dialectically supplemented by Heraclitus. In the future, they were often portrayed in pairs: the laughing Democritus and the crying Heraclitus. So, everything consists of indestructible atoms, of which there are infinitely many and which are divided into an infinite number of different species. There is also a space in which they exist. Space is discontinuous and formed by (conditional) “elements of space”. Naturally, time also consists of indivisible pieces. There is always a distance between any two atoms, because if there were no distance between them when two atoms came into contact, it would already be one atom. But one atom cannot be separated, and therefore two cannot be connected.
    Atoms are very small and inaccessible to the eye, but their action can be seen, for example, when you look at the motions of dust particles. But it was precisely with the help of the Brownian motion that Einstein later confirmed the existence of atoms!
    Atoms are always moving. How exactly is not entirely clear. Epicurus and the poet Lucretius, who wrote the poem "On the nature of things", suggested that they initially move "down" and here the heavier ones catch up with the lighter ones and as a result of collisions lead them astray. Well, then it went off. Democritus, however, believed that there was no top and bottom in the void, and it seems that atoms move randomly in different directions, as in the modern kinetic theory of gas.
    Atoms interact mechanically, for example, cling to each other. Gods are made up of hooked atoms, so they live longer than humans and are less vulnerable. The soul consists of smooth, slippery, moving atoms that set our body in motion. In the world of Democritus, everything is mechanistic and rational. There is no spirit, no mind, no logo. Gods are ordinary material beings. There are no actions at a distance (here one of the quantum mechanics must grin insidiously) - all the effects are manifested thanks to the particle carriers. Love arises due to the outflow of atoms from the body, which affect the senses. Hate also.
    There are an infinite number of worlds similar and dissimilar to ours, some of which are destroyed, while others arise. By the way, there are exact copies of our world. And how can one not recall Everett or other world-wide concepts! The earth, alas, has the form of a disk, hollow inside, used to be very wet, and then dried. If you think that none of the Greeks knew the correct shape of the Earth, you are mistaken, the Pythagoreans knew that the Earth has the shape of a ball and calculated its size quite accurately. They believed that everything is a number and physicist Max Tegmark thinks the same way.


    Plato (in the picture he is to the right of Socrates, I think where you guess Socrates) inherited a lot from the Pythagoreans. He came up with an ideal world of pure ideas. In this world, there is mathematics and, in general, all general ideas. This is vaguely similar to the “mathematical universe” of Max Tegmark, only that nothing but the ideal world exists. In addition, it is similar to the theory of the holographic universe. In it, the universe is simply a hologram recorded on its walls, while in Plato it is simply a “hologram” of an ideal world. But most of all, this is similar to the idea of ​​Roger Penrose, who believes that there is a world of (mathematical) ideas that affects ours through the special laws of physics.
    Plato was not an atomist, but believed that everything consists of atoms of a mathematical nature. More precisely, the atoms themselves - the cube (earth), the tetrahedron (fire), the icosahedron (water) and the octahedron (air) consisted of triangles, and those of points and lines. And the universe itself has the form of a dodecahedron. It is absolutely unbelievable that after one of the analyzes of WMAP data just such a version was proposed. However, probably she was not confirmed.

    Also popular now: