Empedocles (490 – 430 BC) had a very interesting mind. He was claimed to be an eclectic thinker, which means that he more than likely formed his worldview on the concepts of other schools of thought, instead of being dogmatic of one worldview such as; the Pythagoreans; nevertheless, like the Pythagoreans, Empedocles believed in the transference of the souls to humans, plants, and animals known as reincarnation. In my perception eclecticism is less known for its dogmatism and more inclined toward relativism. It would seem contradictory to attempt to persuade someone of a factual conclusion without ascribing to an absolute truth, or other words being dogmatic; however, this in no way is an attempt to discredit Empedocles’s brilliance, after all; philosophers such as Aristotle spoke highly of his works.

The epistemology of Empedocles is slightly complex at first glance. Empedocles thought that, “all things give off effluences and that these enter pores in the sense organs,” (Campbell). It seems that in a real way he believed that all substances or real objects give out a radiance of some sort and our sensual perception, or what he calls “sense organs” absorbs what is being flowed from the object. What becomes more complex is exactly how he explains our sensual perceptions making sense of and identifying what is being perceived. He explicates something to the effect of the size and shape of the objects and their effluence corresponding with the size and shape of our organs in order for us to make sense of what we perceive to be true; therefore, if the sizes and shapes of the two factors do not correspond with each other, then we are likely to be confused or have a wrongful conclusion of what we are perceiving as true.

Work Cited

Campbell, Gordon. Empedocles. Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy. National University of Ireland, Maynooth Ireland. http://www.iep.utm.edu/empedocl/#SH4c

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