Pythagoras

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1. WHO WAS PYTHAGORAS?

Pythagoras (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) was an ancient Ionian Greek philosopher and the eponymous founder of Pythagoreanism.

His political and religious teachings were well known in Magna Graecia and influenced the philosophies of Plato, Aristotle, and, through them, Western philosophy. Knowledge of his life is clouded by legend, so modern scholars disagree regarding Pythagoras’s education and influences, but they do agree that, around 530 BC, he traveled to Croton, where he founded a school in which initiates were sworn to secrecy and lived a communal, ascetic lifestyle. This lifestyle entailed a number of dietary prohibitions, traditionally said to have included vegetarianism, although modern scholars doubt that he ever advocated for complete vegetarianism.

The teaching most securely identified with Pythagoras is metempsychosis, or the “transmigration of souls”, which holds that every soul is immortal and, upon death, enters into a new body. He may have also devised the doctrine of musica universalis, which holds that the planets move according to mathematical equations and thus resonate to produce an inaudible symphony of music. Scholars debate whether Pythagoras developed the numerological and musical teachings attributed to him, or if those teachings were developed by his later followers, particularly Philolaus of Croton.

In antiquity, Pythagoras was credited with many mathematical and scientific discoveries, including the Pythagorean theorem, Pythagorean tuning, the five regular solids, the Theory of Proportions, the sphericity of the Earth, and the identity of the morning and evening stars as the planet Venus. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher (“lover of wisdom”) and that he was the first to divide the globe into five climatic zones.

Pythagoras influenced Plato, whose dialogues, especially his Timaeus, exhibit Pythagorean teachings. Pythagorean ideas on mathematical perfection also impacted ancient Greek art. His teachings underwent a major revival in the first century BC among Middle Platonists, coinciding with the rise of Neopythagoreanism.

Pythagoras continued to be regarded as a great philosopher throughout the Middle Ages and his philosophy had a major impact on scientists such as Nicola us Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton. Pythagorean symbolism was used throughout early modern European esotericism and his teachings as portrayed in Ovid’s Metamorphoses influenced the modern vegetarian movement.

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2. WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL DIALECTIC OF PYTHAGOREAN PHILOSOPHY?

The Essential Dialectic of Pythagorean Philosophy is:

{Mysticism ⇆ Numerology ⇅ Tetractys} ↻ Metempsychosis

The Essential Dialectic of Pythagorean Philosophy is the Mysticism, Numerology, Tetractys, Metempsychosis Dialectic because …

3. WHAT IS THE INTERMEDIARY DIALECTIC OF PYTHAGOREAN PHILOSOPHY?

The Intermediary Dialectic of Pythagorean Philosophy is:

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4. WHAT IS THE COMPLETE DIALECTIC OF PYTHAGOREAN PHILOSOPHY?

The Complete Dialectic of Pythagorean Philosophy is:

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