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History of Science Ancient Egypt

History of Science Online

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LibraryThing: Science in Ancient Mesopotamia Week 3: Ancient Egyptian and Aegean science

Melissos of Samos (fl. 440 B.C.)

| Presocratics Index | Intro | Thales | Anaximandros | Anaximenes | Herakleitos | Parmenides | Zenon | Melissos |
| Atomists: Leukippos and Demokritos | Anaxagoras | Empedokles | Significance of the Presocratics |

In the tradition of his teacher, Parmenides of Elea, Melissos of Samos developed the idea of an infinite cosmos.

For Parmenides, the cosmos was a large, solid, unchanging sphere which comprises everything. This raised the question: "what lies outside the cosmos?"

Melissos answered that nothing lies outside the cosmos. Beyond the cosmos lies no material substance, but also there is no empty space, no infinite void, no space, no time, just nothing.

How, then, could the universe be spherical, and have a definite and therefore limited shape? Melissos answered that the universe must be infinite in extent; nothing lies beyond it because the universe extends in every direction without end.

Melissos of Samos was also a naval commander, who helped the Samians defeat Athens in 440 B.C.

Physicist
First principle
Character
Thales of Miletos
Water
Monism
Anaximandros of Miletos
Apeiron
Monism
Anaximenes of Miletos
Air
Monism
Herakleitos of Ephesos
Fire
Monism

Parmenides of Elea,
Zenon of Elea,
Melissos of Samos

It

Monism, Plenism, Rationalism, Necessitarianism, Sufficient Reason, Akinesis, Eternity of the World

 

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HSCI 3013. History of Science to 17th centuryCreative Commons license
Kerry Magruder, Instructor, 2004
-14
Brent Purkaple, TA

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Many thanks to the pedagogical model developed in Mythology and Folklore and other online courses by Laura Gibbs, which have been an inspiration for this course.

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