First Cause and First Change Thoughts in Philosophy

First Cause and First Change Thoughts in Philosophy

December 26, 2019 0 By Felso

In ancient Greek philosophy, who have developed a substance metaphysics  of the Ionian School ‘respects, which has developed a number of metaphysical  Pythagorasç School ‘ u, both historical and either problematic or systematically focused on the more change problems  Heraclitus ‘ s  Eleana school  tracks.

In other words, rather than a classification based on a school, this third period, based on a problem, is not the representative of a school, but as an individual philosopher Herakleitos emerged as opposed to the philosopher Elea School, in addition to the famous Parmenides, Zenon , Melissos and Xenophanes. Accordingly, both the Ionians and the Pythagoreans could not explain the phenomenon of change in reality because they were more oriented towards unity behind the multiplicity, and could not account for this phenomenon properly. They were never able to reconcile the phenomenon of change in existence with the permanent and immutable element of reality itself.

Heraclitus and Parmenides, which have to be evaluated within this framework, focused on the problem of change and tried to explain the phenomenon of change in the universe and reconcile the fact of change with the fact of permanence and continuity. This is the first and foremost thing that unites these two philosophers or schools, whose views are diametrically opposed. For example, Herakleitos said Her He argued that it cannot be solved unless it is taken as a material thing or as a permanent, immutable structure.

As a matter of fact, in order to solve the problem, he abandoned the classical arkhe conception and replaced the process of formation with the concept of regular change and interpreted the unity as the unity of the model. Likewise, Parmenides de Thales saw much more clearly than any previous philosopher that the main problem of his original formula was the problem of change. How does that basic “one ğü that every philosopher proposes its existence turn into a multitude of everyday experiences? Parmenides, who tried to solve this problem, did not deal with anything else and was concerned only with the concept of change itself. It is the period in which the emergence of the philosophy of the 6th century BC became prominent. The idea of ​​the philosophers of the early period to obtain the answers from nature has made them known as nature philosophers.

The main problem of the philosophy of this period is the idea of ​​the first reason of being. The problem of the first cause of being is also seen as the problem of the first item of the being. The first reason of being; basic, first principle and also named as arkhe. The first reason is that everything comes out of it and that determines the basis of everything. First cause problem; on the one hand, the essence (nature) discussions, on the one hand, the transformation of the entity has become the debate. Thales, Anaximandros, Anaximenes, Empedocles and Democritus, one of the philosophers of nature, came forward with the first reason understanding in the discussions of the essence of existence. In the discussion of the change of existence, the views of Herakleitos and Parmenides, the owners of the first opposing ideas in the history of philosophy, and Lao Tse, an influential philosopher, are important.


He is considered the first philosopher in the history of thought. In addition to philosophy, he provided information in mathematics and astronomy. According to him, the first reason (arkhesi) of the universe is water. That; The reason for all of the assets is the first item. In everything that changes, it remains unchanged. It is the unity on the basis of the multiplicity in the universe. The fact that water is ice when it cools and steam when it is heated indicates that water exists in all forms in different ways. Thales first expressed the problem of the archaic of the universe and gave the answer from nature. It has opened discussion topics such as change, unity and multitude for later thinkers.


He’s a student of Thales. Along with philosophy he was interested in astronomy, mathematics, cartography and politics. Like his teacher Thales, he asks what the main substance of the universe is. According to him, the arkhe should be unlimited in quantity and uncertain in quality. This cannot be a physical substance like water. According to Anaximandros; a non-sensory being is an abstract principle. The first cause that is infinite is apeiron. Apeiron is the basis of all beings. Apeiron first appeared as opposed to hot and cold. All beings consist of the contradictions of these two situations. He then gave the first examples in the history of philosophy of a field that would be described as metaphysics. Some parts of his work bazı On Nature mış have survived.


He is a student of Anaximandros. Especially in the field of astronomy, there are studies that affect subsequent thinkers. Anaximenes dealt with the problem of arkhe, as did his teacher Anaximandros and Thales. He adopted the idea of ​​his teacher and Thales’ arkhe. Arkhe is the air in Anaximenes. As in Thales, the air is concrete, but in the form of eternity as it was in his teacher. He says, ruh The soul, which is the air, is the air that keeps the world and the universe alive, just as it keeps the body alive.. Weather, condensation and sparse, allows the formation of other beings.

The idea that beings are formed by the sparse and condensation of air affected some thinkers and formed the first steps of atomic thought.


He is a philosopher and also a scientist. In addition to his work in the field of medicine, he was also interested in state administration. In Empedocles, arkhe is made up of four main elements, not just one: water, earth, air and fire. He says that there must be an external force that moves these main substances, which are immobilized and immobilized. This is power, love and hatred. Substances do not change but come together in different proportions to realize the formation of different beings. Love is unifying and hate is the principle of separation. He synthesized the archaic understanding of nature philosophers before him. Empedocles is a multi-faceted philosopher and has been particularly interested in biology and psychology.


He was the first philosopher to defend the atomist view of being. Apart from philosophy, he has studies in a wide range of fields including mathematics, physics, techniques, medicine and psychology.

According to Democritus, arkhe is the last piece to be obtained when the matter is divided into the smallest building block and can no longer be divided. He calls this part an atom. Atoms are infinite, unchanging, space-free and space-saving. The atoms moving in infinite space and space form the beings by means of their pressures to form unlimited forms. The combination of atoms is birth and the separation of atoms is death.

Democritus’s thoughts on the states of motion, association and separation of atoms; It was the source of the idea of ​​causality in philosophy and science.

Lao Tse

Lao Tse is considered the founder of Taoism. Some information about Lao Tse is based on rumors. Tao; the path and path were later used in the meaning of faith and doctrine.

According to Lao Tse, the world is made up of existing and non-existing. By the name of the non-existent, the existing existed. This change is fed from an infinite source. This source is Tao. Everything comes out of the Tao and goes back to it. Tao, therefore, is the one that remains unchanged in all changes. Lao Tse; With Tao thought, he expressed an ore that can be likened to the basic matter, principle or arkh in the philosophers of nature. He tried to explain the change of the universe with the idea of ​​Tao.


It is the first philosopher that comes to mind when it comes to the existence and change of existence in philosophy. It separates wisdom from having much knowledge. Unlike previous philosophers, they did not work in other branches of knowledge.

According to Heraclitus, “arkhe ştir is fire. Fever is the basis of change, even if its size changes. Fire is the one that creates and ends. This situation is continuous, so everything is in constant change. Thinking about time is enough to understand the change. Everything is with the opponent and will inevitably become the opposite. Life to death, the hot cold… The war of the opposites will return to harmonious unity and then back to the war of the opposites. The substance of change is fire, the principle is logo. Logos is measure, reason. But this mind has no specific purpose other than to restart everything. Heraclitus; He influenced the philosophers after him especially with his thoughts of change, being and dialectic.


Parmenides put forward ideas about the change and knowledge of existence rather than what is the main problem of archa, which is the main problem of many natural philosophers before him.

Parmenides, the side of the first major opposition in the history of philosophy, expresses the opposite of Heraclitus’ ideas. Parmenides is based on the principle of “There is existence, there is nothing”. According to him being; eternal-eternal, indivisible, non-void and non-moving. Although existence appears to be a deceptive multitude, it is essentially the One. He also says that with the rejection of change, there is no connection between being and time. According to Parmenides, change is that one thing is no more than that. So something disappears while there. Since there is no absence, it is not possible to disappear. So change is a sensory error. To think that the entity has changed is to contradict a logical error. There is being and there is nothing. Thought has knowledge of those who exist,

His rejection of change and his distrust of the senses brought to the forefront of knowledge, which also influenced many subsequent philosophers.

Prepared by:  Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source:  Ömer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Department of Sociology 1st Grade Giriş Introduction to Philosophy ”and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Tarihi History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook, MEB Philosophy Textbook