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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

Presocratic reading + Quiz

# Due Date Pts Activity Time
3 Wednesday 11:59 p.m. 15

Presocratic reading + Quiz

2 hrs.

We will only have time just to barely scratch the surface, but these brief discussions will give you a sense of the origin of Greek physics in the tradition of critical debate established by presocratic natural philosophers. The presocratics lived in various colonies scattered around the Aegean Sea, between Asia Minor and Greece. Note that this assignment is worth 15 points.

  1. Introduction to the Presocratics
  2. Thales of Miletos (fl. ca. 590 B.C.)
  3. Anaximandros of Miletos (fl. ca. 575 B.C.)
  4. Anaximenes of Miletos (fl. 550 B.C.)
  5. Herakleitos of Ephesos (fl. 475 B.C.)
  7. Parmenides of Elea (fl. 485 B.C.)
  8. Melissos of Samos (fl. 450 B.C.)
  9. Zenon of Elea (fl. 450 B.C.)
  10. Ancient atomists: Leukippos of Miletos (fl. 450 B.C.) and Demokritos of Abdera (fl. 420 B.C.)
  11. Anaxagoras of Klazomenai (fl. 440 B.C.)
  12. Empedokles of Akragas (fl. 450 B.C.)
  13. Significance of the Presocratics

Hint: print out the questions below, and answer them as you read the assigned pages.


TOPIC QUIZ: The statements are either True or False. When you take the quiz at Janux, you will see 12 of these statements, chosen at random, worth 2 points each.

  1. T or F? Miletos is west of Samos and north of Ephesos.
  2. T or F? The give and take character of presocratic debate reflects the political structure and civic rivalry of Greek city states.
  3. T or F? One of the historical factors that made possible a presocratic tradition of debate was the invention of the alphabet and the spread of literacy.
  4. T or F? The Greek word for nature is techne.
  5. T or F? The pre-philosophical meaning of physis in Greek was "that which regularly occurs."
  6. T or F? Xenophanes of Kolophon defended traditional Hellenic religious beliefs in the gods and goddesses of Olympus, against the new theories of the presocratics.
  7. T or F? The 600's BC are known as "the orientalizing period" because of numerous cultural interactions between Greece, Asia Minor, and the Near East.
  8. T or F? For the purposes of this course, the "divine" is defined as that on which all else depends, but which is not dependent on anything else.
  9. T or F? According to Aristotle, Thales of Miletos originated the line of thinking about nature that led to physics with sayings such as "all things are full of gods."
  10. T or F? Thales of Miletos argued that, because seeds take root and grow in the ground, the first principle of all things is earth.
  11. T or F? Anaximandros of Miletos taught that the first principle of all things is apeiron.
  12. T or F? According to Anaximandros, stars are peepholes into a fiery region beyond.
  13. T or F? Thales, Anaximandros, and Anaximenes were all from the same city and all advocated a form of monism.
  14. T or F? Anaximenes argued that fire is the principle of all things.
  15. T or F? Herakleitos of Ephesos taught that air is the principle of all things, because air is constantly in motion.
  16. T or F? Herakleitos of Ephesos argued that natural changes are guided by the Logos, which produces the orderliness we see in nature.
  17. T or F? Parmenides of Elea broke from earlier presocratics by denying monism.
  18. T or F? Parmenides of Elea denied the reality of change or movement.
  19. T or F? Parmenides of Elea exemplified the ideal of knowing nature by reason and logic, rather than sensory experience.
  20. T or F? Parmenides of Elea used the Principle of Sufficient Reason to argue that the universe must have been created by the gods.
  21. T or F? Melissos of Samos argued that the universe is a large, solid, unchanging sphere surrounded by an infinite void.
  22. T or F? Zenon of Elea employed logical paradoxes to show the absurdity of contemporary explanations of motion.
  23. T or F? If he were alive today, Zenon of Elea could explain why Adrian Peterson cannot score any touchdowns this year.
  24. T or F? If he were alive in 1912, Zenon of Elea could explain why the nude could not descend the staircase.
  25. T or F? Leukippos of Miletos and Demokritos of Abdera refuted Parmenides by denying plenism.
  26. T or F? For Leukippos of Miletos and Demokritos of Abdera, nature consists of two realities: indivisible atoms and the void.
  27. T or F? According to the ancient atomic theory, our senses deceive us by producing the impression of secondary qualities which are not the primary attributes of things.
  28. T or F? Anaxagoras of Klazomenai argued that all things are made of only four elements.
  29. T or F? Anaxagoras of Klazomenai argued that changes in nature occur because of a guiding Nous or mind.
  30. T or F? Empedokles of Akragas advocated radical pluralism, that everything is within everything else.
  31. T or F? Empedokles of Akragas compared the mixture of elements to a painter's pigments.
  32. T or F? Empedokles of Akragas answered Parmenides' denial of change by the theory of antiperistasis, or mutual replacement.
  33. T or F? Empedokles of Akragas argued that changes are guided by two fundamental forces, love and strife.

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

"Once you can accept the Universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy." Albert Einstien

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HSCI 3013. History of Science to 17th centuryCreative Commons license
Kerry Magruder, Instructor, 2004
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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This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux