Pythagorean Philosophies

Leonid Zhmud

in Pythagoras and the Early Pythagoreans

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199289318
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741371 | DOI:
Pythagorean Philosophies

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This chapter discusses how all the Pythagorean theories of the soul known to us are different. Only Simmias and Echecrates, the pupils of Philolaus, held identical views. The similarity among some of these theories can sometimes be explained by direct influence (Alcmaeon and Hippon, Alcmaeon, and Philolaus), but most often by the fact that many Pythagoreans shared the interpretation of the soul as the source of motion, which was the most widespread view amongst the Presocratics. It is also shown that there is neither a clear formulation of number doctrine, nor tangible examples of it, in ancient Pythagoreanism. It transpires that the theory which was taken to be the essence of Pythagorean philosophy, a theory backed by the authority of Aristotle as the source and as a historian of philosophy, is, like many other elements of the ancient tradition about the Pythagoreans, a retrospective projection.

Keywords: Pythagoreans; philosophy; theories of the soul; number doctrine; Pythegoreanism

Chapter.  12936 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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