Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
109. Mixture and Separation 111. Our World the Work of Strife

From Chapter V., Empedokles of Akragas

110. The Four Periods
It will be clear from what has been said that we must distinguish four periods in the cycle. First we have the Sphere, in which all the elements are mixed together by Love. Secondly, there is the period when Love is passing out and Strife coming in, when, therefore, the elements are partially separated and partially combined. Thirdly comes the complete separation of the elements, when Love is outside the world, and Strife has given free play to the attraction of like for like. Lastly, we have the period when Love is bringing the elements together again, and Strife is passing out. This brings us back to the Sphere, and the cycle begins afresh. Now a world such as ours can exist only in the second and fourth of these periods. It seems to be generally supposed that we are in the fourth period;94 I hope to show that we are in the second, that when Strife is gaining the upper hand.

Burnet's Notes


94. This is the view of Zeller (pp. 785 sqq.), but he admits that the external testimony, especially that of Aristotle, is wholly in favour of the other. His difficulty is with the fragments, and if it can be shown that these can be interpreted in accordance with Aristotle's statements, the question is settled.

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