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Empedocles – Thought

He was born in Agrigento around 492 BC. He actively participated in the life of his city. He was not only a philosopher, but also a doctor and scientist. Unlike other pre-Socratic philosophers, a few fragments of his work on nature remain of him. Empedocles is aware of the limits of human knowledge, in fact man sees only a small part of reality without grasping the essence of things.

Empedocles too, like Parmenides, believes that Being can neither be born nor die; he nevertheless tries to explain the appearance of birth and death, describing them as the elements that make up the thing, whereby they come together and separate.
The elements, called by Empedocles “roots”, are four: fire, air, earth and water; from their union comes the birth of things, while from their separation comes the death of things. The roots are animated by two opposing forces: love and hate, while the first tends to unite them, the second tends to disunite them. The phase of the world dominated by love is the Sphere, in which all elements live in harmony and are purified. The action of hatred breaks this harmony and introduces the separation of the elements. Roots together with love and hate represent the conditions of human knowledge. Knowledge takes place through the encounter between the element that is in man and the same element outside of man. So the fundamental principle of knowledge is that like is known with like, that is, we know the Earth with the Earth, water with water and this happens thanks to the meeting between external and internal elements.

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