Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
113. The Sun, Moon, Stars, and Earth 115. Plants

From Chapter V., Empedokles of Akragas

114. Organic Combinations
Empedokles went on to show how the four elements, mingled in different proportions, gave rise to perishable things, such as bones, flesh, and the like. These, of course, are the work of Love; but this in no way contradicts the view taken above as to the period to which this world belongs. Love is by no means banished from the world yet, though one day it will be. At present, it is still able to form combinations of elements; but, just because Strife is ever increasing, they are all perishable. The important part played by proportion (λόγος) here is no doubt due to Pythagorean influence.

The possibility of organic combinations depends on the fact that there is still water in the earth, and even fire (fr. 52). The warm springs of Sicily were a proof of this, not to speak of Etna. These springs Empedokles appears to have explained by one of his characteristic images, drawn this time from the heating of warm baths.113 His similes are nearly all drawn from human inventions and manufactures.

Burnet's Notes


113. Seneca, Q. Nat. iii. 24, "facere solemus dracones et miliaria et complures formas in quibus aere tenui fistulas struimus per declive circumdatas, ut saepe eundem ignem ambiens aqua per tantum fluat spatii quantum efficiendo calori sat est. frigida itaque intrat, effluit calida. idem sub terra Empedocles existimat fieri."

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