Philolaus


Philolaus was a Pythagorean philosopher from Croton, a Greek city-state in Italy. He was born in the 470's BCE and later moved to mainland Greece. Being a Pythagorean he put much emphasis on mathematical reasoning, and gave it prominence in the universe, especially geometry which he believed is the source of all mathematics, and he believed the contemplation of mathematics elevates the mind from the world of perception. He believed that the universe began by spreading out from a center which is composed of fire. The rest of the universe revolves around this center. First is a body called the counter-Earth, then the Earth which revolves around the center in an oblique circle. Then comes the revolving areas of the moon, the sun, the planets, and the stars, in that order and at the outmost part of the universe is more fire encircling the whole. He believed in four principles of rational beings: the brain controls thought and is the principle of man, the heart contains the principle of animals in its perception, the naval contains the principle of plants in that it is where we root from, and the genitals contain all for all sprout from seed. Bodies are compounded by heat and have no coldness because semen is warm and so is the womb. And finally diseases come from bile, blood, or plegm when the body enounters too much heat, cold, food, or deficiencies. He supposedly believed that it was wrong to commit suicide, that the soul is stuck in the body as a punishment, and that there are some thoughts and feelings that are beyond our control.

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