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Ideas of Pythagoras, by Text

[Greek, c.570 - 510 BCE, Born on Samos. Founded community at Solon in S.Italy. Reputation surrounded with legends. Died at Metapontum.]

530BCE teaching
p.19 Pythagoreans think mathematical principles are the principles of all of nature
     Full Idea: The Pythagoreans thought that the principles of mathematical entities were the principles of all entities.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Aristotle - Metaphysics 985b
p.24 Pythagoreans say things imitate numbers, but Plato says things participate in numbers
     Full Idea: Pythagoreans said that entities existed by imitation of the numbers, whereas Plato said that it was by participation.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Aristotle - Metaphysics 987b
p.62 When musical harmony and rhythm were discovered, similar features were seen in bodily movement
     Full Idea: When our predecessors discovered musical scales, they also discovered similar features in bodily movement, which should also be measured numerically, and called 'tempos' and 'measures'.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Plato - Philebus 17d
p.131 Speak the truth, for this alone deifies man
     Full Idea: Pythagoras advised above all things to speak the truth, for this alone deifies man.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Porphyry - Life of Pythagoras 41
     A reaction: Idea 4421 (of Nietzsche) stands in contrast to this. I am not quite sure why speaking the truth has such a high value. I am inclined to a minimalist view, which is just that philosophy is an attempt to speak the truth, as fishermen try to catch fish.
p.141 The modern idea of an immortal soul was largely created by Pythagoras
     Full Idea: The modern concept of the immortal soul is a Greek idea, which owes much to Pythagoras.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Peter Watson - Ideas Ch.5
     A reaction: You can see why it caught on - it is a very appealing idea. Watson connects the 'modern' view with the ideas of heaven and hell. Obviously the idea of an afterlife goes a long way back (judging from the contents of ancient graves).
p.343 Pythagoras discovered the numerical relation of sounds on a string
     Full Idea: Pythagoras discovered the numerical relation of sounds on a string.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Diogenes Laertius - Lives of Eminent Philosophers 08.1.11
p.351 Pythagoras taught that virtue is harmony, and health, and universal good, and God
     Full Idea: Pythagoras taught that virtue is harmony, and health, and universal good, and God.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Diogenes Laertius - Lives of Eminent Philosophers 08.1.19
p.402 Pythagoreans define timeliness, justice and marriage in terms of numbers
     Full Idea: The Pythagoreans offered definitions of a limited range of things on the basis of numbers; examples are timeliness, justice and marriage.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Aristotle - Metaphysics 1078b
p.409 For Pythagoreans the entire universe is made of numbers
     Full Idea: For Pythagoreans the entire universe is constructed of numbers.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE]) by Aristotle - Metaphysics 1080b
28 p.182 For Pythagoreans, justice is simply treating all people the same
     Full Idea: Some even think that what is just is simple reciprocity, as the Pythagoreans maintained, because they defined justice simply as having done to one what one has done to another.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE], 28) by Aristotle - Nichomachean Ethics 1132b22
     A reaction: One wonders what Pythagoreans made of slavery. Aristotle argues that officials, for example, have superior rights. The Pythagorean idea makes fairness the central aspect of justice, and that must at least be partly right.
Ch.8 p.245 For Pythagoreans 'one' is not a number, but the foundation of numbers
     Full Idea: For Pythagoreans, one, 1, is not a true number but the 'essence' of number, out of which the number system emerges.
     From: report of Pythagoras (teaching [c.530 BCE], Ch.8) by Peter Watson - Ideas Ch.8
     A reaction: I think this is right! Counting and numbers only arise once the concept of individuality and identity have arisen. Counting to one is no more than observing the law of identity. 'Two' is the big adventure.