A Short Summary of Ancient Philosophy
In its most basic sense, the word “world” denotes the totality of existent entities, be it the entire cosmos or to whatever is. The nature of this world is formulated differently in various disciplines. Some conceptions view the entire world as being homogenous while some speak of a ” pluricity of worlds “. The word “world” is often associated with religious notions of an afterlife. Though there are no absolute definitions on the word world, it can generally be assumed that the world is governed by natural laws and forces and by the collective consciousness of all its inhabitants. This definition includes all human activities in the course of their development, which makes the world into a living organism.
There are two basic assumptions about the nature of the world. One assumes that the world is static and unchanging while the other assumption is that the world is dynamic and changing. The first assumption denies human responsibility in anything and everything including the changes in the world, which includes the climate change, tsunami and other natural disasters, and pollution. On the other hand, the second assumption holds that humans have influence over the changes in the world and these influences are cumulative. These two views are not necessarily mutually exclusive but they are in opposition to each other and this causes a great schism in the philosophy of the world.
It has been a source of embarrassment for moderns that their theories of the world do not coincide with the views held by the ancients. For them, the world is overwhelmingly cosmic, with no internal contradictions or structure. According to them, everything is constantly in a state of dynamic flux, with nothing and everything constantly changing. Thus, it is believed that everything is present in the world at all times. This view excludes the existence of time, which is the basis of modern science.
According to Parmenides, everything is made up of parts separated from one another by eternal space. Everything is therefore made up of parts or elements. Those parts consist of fire, earth, air, water, and spirit. The ideas and thoughts of men and women come together and are subject to constant transformation, destruction, and movement. Since Parmenides was the first to articulate the ideas of his philosophy, many of his ideas have been adopted into other philosophies.
The philosophy of Aristotle upholds that reality is rational, calculable, and a closed system. Everything is made up of atoms and their constituent elements. The world is seen as a whole, a structure made up of innumerable small parts. It is seen as a world where different kinds of living things co-exist and develop into a dynamic and self-existing entity, which is a part of the larger world of nature.
The philosophy of modern scientists who accept scientific materialism sees the world in a much simpler form. It is seen as a world made up of atoms and molecules, with everything made up of matter composed of atoms. There is no part of the world which is not made up of matter. The world is seen to be in constant motion, and all that exists within it is subject to change.