What is Pythagoras’ Table of the Universe?June 27, 2021
Fire is at the center of the Pythagorean picture of the universe.
There is a counter-world that revolves around fire. The world revolves around the outer circumference of the opposite world. The world does not revolve around itself. The Earth is spherical and revolves around the centre. Thus, the Earth ceased to be the center of the universe. The Moon is on the surface the Earth faces. We cannot see the other side (we cannot see the opposite world). Outside the Moon is the Sun. There are 5 planets outside the sun, and fixed stars outside of it. This table;
1. Because the earth is shown as a planet and not the center of the universe,
2. Because it predicts that the Earth has an orbit,
3. Because the earth is shaped like a sphere,
4. Due to the detection of movement in different directions
It is extremely important for the astronomy knowledge of the period.
Considering the teachings of Pythagoras as a whole, it can be determined that he made the following important contributions to the history of thought:
1. He made significant advances in astronomy.
2. It provided rationalization of sciences such as mathematics and geometry. As a matter of fact, we see that mathematical explanation is laid on the basis of scientific explanation in Pythagorean thought.
3. He developed a dualist philosophical view. Because two things are worked together: fire and air. Thus, monism, which appeared in the natural philosophy of Ancient Greece, ended in a sense with Pythagoras.
4. The knowing subject appeared before us with Pythagoras. There is an impression that a logical distinction is made between the knowing subject (spirit) and the known thing.
5. There is a trend towards the distinction between living and non-living. This distinction exists in Pythagoreanism, albeit in a core and fuzzy form.
6. In Pythagoras, in addition to the traditional four elements, namely earth, water, air and fire, a fifth element appears to have appeared. This fifth item is, in a sense, the substance that holds the universe together. This substance is unlimited and was probably conceived as God. Thus, it has been claimed that monotheistic thought started with Pythagoreanism. But this changes an understanding similar to the understanding of God that we encounter in monotheistic religions. Because the fifth element is identified with the universe.
The idea of apocalypse, which dominated all other Ancient Greek thinkers except Thales, also took a place in Pythagorean thought. For example; Anaximander said that if justice is corrupted, fire will scorch and another order will come, while Pythagoras prophesied that fire would destroy everything and the universe would be reborn.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook