Empedocles

Empedocles (c. 490 – c. 430 BC) was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher.

Empedocles established four ultimate elements which make all the structures in the world—fire, air, water, earth— in other words, the several states of matter are represented, being energies, gasses, liquids, and solids. Empedocles called these four elements “roots“. According to the different proportions in which these four indestructible and unchangeable elements are combined with each other the difference of the structure is produced.

The four elements are both eternally brought into union and parted from one another by two divine powers, Love and Strife. Love is responsible for the attraction of different forms of matter, and Strife is the cause of their separation.

If the four elements make up the universe, then Love and Strife explain their variation and harmony. Love and Strife are attractive and repulsive forces, respectively, which are plainly observable in human behavior, but also pervade the universe.

Like Pythagoras, Empedocles believed in the transmigration of the soul, that souls can be reincarnated between humans, animals and even plants. Empedocles was a vegetarian and advocated vegetarianism, since the bodies of animals are the dwelling places of punished souls.

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