Emptiness and Appearance


History of Western Philosophy


Early Greek Philosophy

Introduced pure mathematical thought as a means to overcome particular thoughts and a means of overcoming “the wheel of birth”; the migration of souls from one existence to the next.

From the island of Samos in the Aegean Sea. Migrated to southern Italy. Pythagoras suggested that the world consisted of numbers. Esoteric and mystical ideas, not scientific pursuits,  guided his investigation. He considered theoretical thinning, pure science and mathematics purifiers of the soul. The soul, trapped in a “wheel of birth”, can be liberated from transmigration overcoming the chaos of particular thoughts by the majestic order of mathematics. Pythagoras believed in the “transmigration of souls”. Mathematical discoveries include the Pythagorean Theorem (The hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the two other sides of a right-angled triangle.), the Theory of Proportions (The relationship between numbers and magnitude.), the sphericity of the Earth and identifying of the morning and evening stars as the planet Venus. Out of these theories emerged the concept of ‘form’. Form means limit. Pythagoras introduced the idea of limit and measuring limit into philosophy. Numbers represent that application of ‘limit’ (form) to unlimited matter.


” The Pythagoreans devoted themselves to mathematics; they were the first to advance this study, and having been brought up in it, they thought its principles were the principles of all things.” Aristotle.
“Pythagoras saw that attributes and the ratios of the musical scale were expressable in numbers; all other things seemed in their whole nature to be modelled after numbers, and numbers seemed to be the first thing in the whole of nature, and the whole of heaven to be a musical scale and a number.” Aristotle.



Influenced by these:

Thales, Anaximander

Influenced these:

Plato, Aristotle, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton.

Guide Template


BCE c. 570 - c. 495

5th century BCE