Pythagoras should get more credit than he does

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Pythagoras should get more credit than he does

Postby Phaedras on July 7th, 2015, 12:30 am 

Pythagoras should get more credit than he does -- and, yes, I know, he already gets a lot.

But the greatest thing that Pythagoras did is almost never mentioned by anyone. He was the first person (that we know of) to use mathematics to solve philosophical questions. This has proven throughout history to be one of the most fruitful notions any human being has ever had. In modern times we are so used to the idea that mathematics plays one of the primary (if not THE primary) roles in our understanding of the universe. The fact that the cosmos at every level is structured in such a way that is expressible in mathematical terms is so ingrained into our modern culture that it's taken for granted and considered to be obvious. But the truth is -- it's not OBVIOUS at all, it's actually quite astonishing, when you think about it.

Although, this is also what has led many people (like Einstein) to believe that there must be some sort of intelligence behind the universe, if not a God in the traditional Judeo-Christian sense. And Pythagoras himself was led into some sort of mysticism (which included reincarnation) by the fact that the whole universe is expressible in mathematical terms. Isn't it odd that the realization of this fact led to mystical belief? Does anyone have anything to add to that?

I do, I guess. It's been said that sometimes magical thinking leads to rational thinking. Maybe, sometimes, when a great advance is made there is a little bit of backsliding??? I don't know for sure. Does anyone know any more about this subject? If so, I would appreciate your insight. Thank you.

Re: Pythagoras should get more credit than he does

Postby Marshall on July 7th, 2015, 2:37 am 

Pythagoras was an Ionian greek of the 6th century BC. He was born on Samos island, within sight of the city of Miletus on the mainland.

the Ionians lived on the East shore of the Aegean, what is now the coast of Turkey, and in Attica (i.e. in and around Athens).

Besides Athens, Miletus was a very important Ionian city. I would generalize the topical sentiment and say that the Ionian greeks deserve a lot of credit.

It wasn't just Pythagoras who was interested in natural ratios and proportions of things. I think there was something about the Ionian culture that led people to investigate and find rules which might explain how nature operated.

It's 11:35 PM here (pacific time) so I won't try to say anything more about this for now, and will head for bed.

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