Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
101. Rhetoric and Medicine 103. Death

From Chapter V., Empedokles of Akragas

102. Relation to Predecessors
In the biography of Empedokles, we hear nothing of his theory of nature. The only hints we get are some statements about his teachers. Alkidamas, who had good opportunities of knowing, made him a fellow-student of Zeno under Parmenides. Theophrastos too made him a follower and imitator of Parmenides. But the further statement that he had "heard" Pythagoras cannot be right. No doubt Alkidamas said "Pythagoreans."23

Some writers hold that certain parts of the system of Empedokles, in particular the theory of pores and effluvia (§ 118), were due to the influence of Leukippos.24 We know, however, that Alkmaion (§ 96) spoke of "pores" in connexion with sensation, and it was more probably from him that Empedokles got the theory. Moreover, this is more in accordance with the history of certain other physiological views which are common to Alkmaion and the later Ionian philosophers. We can generally see that those reached Ionia through the medical school which Empedokles founded.25

Burnet's Notes


23. Diog. viii. 54-56 (R. P. 162).

24. Diels, Verhandl. d. 35 Philologenversamml. pp. 104 sqq., Zeller, p. 767. It would be fatal to the main thesis of the next few chapters if it could be proved that Empedokles was influenced by Leukippos. I hope to show that Leukippos was influenced by the later Pythagorean doctrine (Chap. IX. § 171), which was in turn affected by Empedokles (Chap. VII. §147).

25. For πόροι in Alkmaion, cf. Arist. De gen. an. B, 6. 744 a 8; Theophr. De sens. 26; and for the way in which his embryological and other views were transmitted through Empedokles to the Ionian physicists, cf. Fredrich, Hippokratische Untersuchungen, pp. 126 sqq.

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