A History of Chemistry. 1. Theoretical Background - download pdf or read online

By J. R. Partington

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Tozer, 1896, 179. Aristotle, De gen. , i, 3, 3186, i EARLY G R EEK PH ILO SO P H Y TH E E L E A T IC SCH O O L indefinite intermediate states. ^ T h e ‘opposites’ are personified as male {dpp€v, dpcrev) and female (drjXv), and they ‘mix (ixiyvveivy. ^ Parmenides’ actual words are ‘everything is full at once of light and dark night, both equal, since neither has ought to do with the other’,^ which implies that fire is one ‘ele­ ment’ (a name not yet used), and Aristotle^ said the other was earth.

Living animals can be generated when heat and moisture undergo a kind of corruption. Blood is connected with breath­ ing and is the cause of milk, sweat, and tears. T h e soul is formed from the elements and is divine. Empedokles had some idea of definite proportions of the elements in bodies: bone consists of 2 parts of water, 4 of fire, and 2 (or 8) o f earth, flesh and blood nearly the same. ® T h e theory o f the 4 elements was adopted by Philistion o f Lokroi (c. * M enestor (fl. ) followed Empedokles in some views; he began to apply the theory o f opposites and right mixture to b o t^ y (he is reported by Theophrastos); hot and cold plants grow best in appropriate environments, ivy being the hottest in composition.

Scoon thought Philolaos made ‘hanmony’ a cosmic force, holding a body together like an outer skin; the form, shape, and size of an individual body, consisting of the four elements, constitute its ‘number’ . The action of ‘hamiony’ is not mechanical but intelligent, like nous in Anaxagoras (p. 22). * viii, 28; A . Delatte, 212. * Deussen, (i), II, i, 63; Gilbert, 266. * Freeman, (i), 1949, 224. * Burnet, (2), 42; Ueberweg, (i), i, 71; Zeller, (i), I, i^ 555. ’ Freeman, (i), 1 9 4 9 . 2 5 3 * * Freeman, (i), 1949, 224.

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