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The physical philosophers: Diogenes of Apollonia.

The last of materialistic and monistic philosophers of ancient Ionia, Diogenes of Apollonia, around the years 440-430 BC, also went right down the same path as his predecessors and held, openly and explicitly, that the air is the 'beginning' of all things. Just some fragments of the writings of this philosopher, belonging to his work 'On the Nature', are preserved, which were collected by Simplicius. But if we listen to different quotations, he seems to have written several more books, one 'Against the Sophists', one 'On meteorology', and one on medicine that he would have entitled 'On the Nature of Man', which Galen would referred when he said that Diogenes had compiled diseases and their causes and remedies in a treaty. Everything indicates that Diogenes of Apollonia was a doctor by profession and would have published, indeed, this medical treatise in which their notions about the origin of diseases would appear related, surely, with the id…

The physical philosophers: Democritus.

Not far from the line of Heraclitus, Democritus, about 460 BC, extended the psychology of atomism of his predecessor Leucippus and taught that the human soul was a substance composed of very subtle and spherical atoms, as those of fire, and it was precisely because of their subtleness and sphericity that these atoms contribued to perpetual motion and heat of both the fire and the human soul. The soul, to Democritus, is a very subtle and volatile element that exists within the body (made of much more inert and gross material). This volatile soul spreads and penetrates all parts of body tissues and produces the different organs and limbs own vital functions... The thought, consciousness and sensation, particularly, would be the result of a form of variable combination of these ethereal and spherical atoms. The unstable combinations of these would be the source of psychic manifestations and their fluctuations over time. The atoms of the soul have a continuous circular motion which says…

The physical philosophers: Heraclitus.

Although this conception of the soul belonged to an ancient tradition expressed already in Orphism, the thesis of Anaximenes that conceived air as the physical substrate of the human soul was considered the first theory of antiquity on the human psyche in science and philosophy. A similar version is that of Heraclitus, who maintained, around the year 500 BC, that soul was composed of 'igneous ether' (no simple air) and it was this 'igneous ether' what filled the soul and also all the sky. Sky and soul were, for this philosopher, a single matter, a matter that was psychic and celestial at a time. Then the soul of human and the universe, made of the same, behave according to very similar principles.
For Heraclitus 'logos' of the world is produced by the 'igneous ether' or 'fire'. According to him, in nature there is opposition and continuous confrontation between opposing elements, but there is also an underlying order in the becoming of things, …

The physical philosophers: Anaximenes.

The work of the pre-Socratic Ionian philosophers often has been interpreted, over centuries, in a simplistic way throught the prism of a modern reductionist materialism that actually has little to do with the original approach of these ancient thinkers. It has been done, many times, a naive reading of their thesis on the elements of earth, water, air and fire as creative principles of the universe. A classical naturalist aproach considered these authors the remote initiators of the natural sciences, which visions and solutions becamed logically obsolete. These called physical philosophers have made contributions of great merit to geography, astronomy, meteorology, mathematics and biology, certainly, but their production is not limited, in my opinion, to the conventional interpretation throught the prism of current science, as their purpose was not that of making a science detached from the whole of man and his daily experiences. Do not be fooled, they were philosophers in the broadest…