Sensibility and morale: The ascent from intellect to mind

Y. Rotenfeld


Sensibility and morale:

The ascent from intellect to mind

The history of European civilization is a clear evidence of cultural split into two parts: scientific-technical and humanitarian, which are determined by two types of thinking – mind and intellect. The development of natural and technical sciences, which are based on reasonable thinking, has resulted in rapid development of techniques and various technologies for the past 500 years. Whereas humanitarian sciences with their intellectual thinking fell behind the demands of time for hundreds of years. The precipice, which occurred between two parts of a single culture, could be surmounted only with the aid of improving humanitarian thinking, moving it up into the position of mind and alongside the development of ethics as a strict theoretical science about morale. This in general outline can be presented with the example of mind-intellect interrelation in the history of antique philosophy and their influence on morale development.

Distinguishing feature of ancient Greek philosophy is discovery of mind comprehended not so much as the ability to think but rather as ability to cognize the world from objective, identical for everyone, points of view, as resolution to consider knowledge, received by these means, as the highest instance in debates. Neither religion, nor intellectual subjective opinion of wisdom-fanciers was put into the first place by ancient Greek culture, but rather the knowledge, received in its rational-scientific form and radically different from opinion.

However, contemporary humanitarians are unable to see the difference between mind and intellect, as far as their thinking does not exceed the limits of mind. The reason of created thesis is that philosophy yet in ancient times lost the essence of intellectual development trend and gave the way to intellectual thinking. Platon and Socrates had already taken intellect for the manifestation of mind. The last, who made an attempt to ground the difference between these two forms of thinking, was Aristotle who made it possible to identify the laws of formal logic, formulated by him, with laws of mind. Whereas in fact these were the laws of intellectual thinking. Since then humanitarians have not returned to the path of mind, paved by the first Greek Ionic thinkers.

While possessing intellectual thinking and getting mixed up in the notions of «intellect» and «mind», caused by logical and causative-effective relations, contemporary humanitarians are unable to lead their sciences out of a dead-end, where ancient Greek philosophy got into after Heraclitus.


1. First Greek philosophers’ thinking


The essence of thinking

Is not the wise word

But equipment for comparison:

Lyre, bow and balance.

«Who has never tasted bitter, knows not what is sweet», as ancient wise men were saying, while using abstractions, received from the interpretation of three kinds of equipment mentioned above (balance, bow and lyre), for natural phenomena interpretation. Therefore, their works were often called «About the nature», as far as the questions, that rose up in front of them, were connected not with the interpretation of logical but with the interpretation of concrete causative-effective relations. Therefore, we are going to start our research from the interpretation of that unique fragment from the work of Anaksimandr «About the nature», which still remains owing to the testimony of Simplicii, one of doxographs who lived 1000 years after Anaksimandr. Here is this fragment: «From where all the things come, to the same they return according to the need. As long as they receive a punishment for their impious nature and receive retribution from each other in a definite time»1.

What kind of impious nature, injustice and retribution are these, which lead to the fact that all the things return to the same, from where they came? Why physical process is treated as ethical?

These entirely natural questions were asked before by A.N. Mihailova and A.N. Chanyshev, who come to the conclusion that identical inadequate way of describing natural phenomena has its concrete roots in Greek mythology. Its traces «remain exactly because philosophy comes from mythology, which it denies»2.

Why were respected colleagues wrong? To my point of view, the way of reality interpretation, which used Anaksimandr, is adequate not only to natural but also to social phenomena. This method was characteristic of both, ancient Greek mythology and ancient Greek philosophy, as long as reality in both cases was interpreted with the aid of one of intellectual structures, which objectively reflected not only natural but also social reality. Therefore, philosopher must find in objective world such real relation, the use of which as «the beginning» would represent not only the philosophy of Anaksimandr but also miletic philosophy in its exclusively scientific light.

Without searching for additional facts we can come to the conclusion that the only possible model, which answers all questions raised above, can be only «the image of balance», which holds in her hands the goddess of justice. From one side, the language of balance law relates to the phenomena of nature, but from the other side, the same language could be applied in social phenomena interpretation.

And indeed, the image of balance gives abstractions, which give us possibility to interpret reality from objective points of view; moreover, no matter if we interpret nature or some social phenomena. The image of balance represented for ancient Greeks a convincing instrument for comparison of everything with everything.

In order to understand ancient people we have to take a look directly into face of unusual truth. Moreover, we need to complicate relatively our language means, as far as with the aid of intellectual thinking with its language of classificational (speech) and quantitative (counting) notions it is impossible to interpret what ancient Greek philosophers wanted to interpret. In order to achieve this, new intellectual forms are required – comparative notions, each reflecting this or other kind of natural harmony, symmetry.

One remaining fragment from the work of Anaksimandr is, of course, not enough. However, this fragment gives philosopher possibility, if he is not an empiric but rationalist, to restore in general outline the essence of miletic philosophy with its initial paradigm of thinking – the relation of contradictions, which are comprehended not according to someone’s thinking but according to the comprehension of Aristotle, and precisely as «surplus» and «shortage» with regard to intermediate position.

The remaining fragment is an evidence of the fact that relations between things that appear from endless material environment, which Anaksimandr named apeiron, is the same as relations between «debtor» and «creditor», which is the evidence of Anaksimandr’s philosophy relation with balance law, with the idea of compensation – Dike as an idea of cosmic justice (Truth). Moreover, Anaksimandr, in spite of mythological terminology, does not have already these supernatural guards of measure, as far as all cosmic processes are conducted, from his point of view, according to their immanent laws, which depend on activity of material environment itself. Therefore, the meaning that lies in the notion «compensation of untruth» one should search in Greek idea of compensation – Dike as an idea of cosmic justice (Truth), as long as the appearance of «debts» is associated with the notion Adike, i.e. with the idea of decompensation (Discord).

Here the most distinguishing is the connection between natural-scientific and philosophic thinking, which walk alongside on first stages and have elements of initial empiric knowledge as their source. Based on objective laws of being, mythological outlook appeared already able to represent the ideas of Injustice and Retribution, Discord and Truth, Decompensation and Compensation in the image of physical phenomena, i.e. in the image of balance, which holds in her hands the goddess of justice, which scales in one case lose the position of balance, in another case – strive for it. In this image found its concrete reflection the characteristical feature of antique world – thinking according to contradictions. The last are comprehended here exclusively as «surplus» and «shortage» of this or another substrate relatively to the position of balance – that intermediate position, from which appear and for which strive contradiction, while being destroyed.

However, nowadays despite any science the term of «contradiction» is comprehended not as concrete form of reality relations but anything, including their real relation.

It turns out not accidental that philosophers through many centuries had been saving the fragment of Anaksimandr, in which miletic thinker wants us to pay our attention to the thing, from what everything existing appears and what by need it will be destroyed into. This is where the main and only objective point of view, presented by miletic philosophy, takes place. And if to comprehend the words «compensation of untruth» as the compensation (when needles of balance meet), and appearance of «debts» to comprehend as decompensation (when needles of balance diverge), then in «the image of the world», created by our thinking, everything becomes at the utmost clear. Appears possibility to identify «the source of universal appearance and destruction», which are contradictions. Here, the same as Fales and Anaksimen have, the starting point, from which position the world is interpreted, is «intermediate», which divides continuous environment into active opposite parts. Moreover, all this gives us possibility to suppose that the processes of «compensation» and «decompensation» are combined, according to Anaksimandr, with time frames and in general represent in their own way a cyclic process.

The language of «balance law» became the basic gnosiological instrument of miletic philosophy, which allowed to identify five scientific abstractions. These are «same» and «different», «opposite» and «corresponding», «equal» or «identical». These thinking structures allowed ancient Greek philosophers from rationalistic positions to interpret the whole surrounding world. Alongside, first Greek thinkers noticed that it is possible to weigh the «same», for instance, mass and mass, length and length, and with «different», for instance, heavy and long – it is impossible. As for «opposite» and «corresponding», owing to these abstractions it became possible to interpret the same notion, for instance, «heavy» and «light» from different objective points of view: from position of poles or position of intermediate.

However, the cognition of surrounding world started from the simplest forms of thinking, from such notions as «same» and «different». Therefore, historically the first form of representing the knowledge became the simple spoken language, which gave numerous classificational and quantitative notions that named the things and their properties and that reflected the qualitative diversity of the world. The language is an initial science, which serves as the mean of cognition, storage and reproduction of spiritual cultural products. It is indissolubly combined with intellectual thinking, with its generalizing activity.

The appearance of initial language means, in the form of usual spoken language, was determined by the assimilation of only two out of five simple abstractions: relation of identity and diversity. Concerning this Aristotle wrote in «Metaphysics»: «… every thing appears relatively to every another as «diverse» or «identical»3. Therefore, all identical things are named with one word, and different – with different words. Their quantity (100,000 – 200,000 in developed languages) classifies the world, while reflecting its qualitative diversity.

However, the world is not only qualitatively diverse. Every thing can be presented not only in singular but also in plural; therefore, the world is also quantitatively diverse.

Therefore, the ascent from the image of the world, in which only qualitative diversity was reflected, to the image, which included the description of quantitative diversity, is connected with the interpretation of not only utmost relations of identity and diversity but also with one more relation, which in ancient times was named as «corresponding», i.e. with the relation «more - less». After taking the lowest point as «one» it becomes possible to turn to the notion of «number» and find a line of natural numbers as the peculiar language, which supplements spoken language. Language means automatically reflect the division of universum into its objective parts, and on its correct perception of this division depends, in the end, the degree of cognitive success, separation of knowledge from opinion, and scientific theoretical philosophy from philodoxy. For this reason it is necessary to divide strictly logical relations from causative-effective relations, formal logic from dialectics and intellect - from mind.

It follows from this that the essence of human thinking consists in the unity of its two forms: intellectual and mental thinking.

Intellectual or formal-logic thinking is determined by the relations of identity and diversity, i.e. by the utmost abstractions of identity and diversity.

Mental thinking is determined by the comprehension of the rest of identity and diversity relations, which compose the infinite number of thinking means that reflect causative-effective relations, presented in comparative notions. These thinking means are the same for all times and all nations, as far as they reflect relations the way they are in reality, inform the true knowledge, offer real and simple image of the world. While being the basic sciences, these notions assist in sensible, deeper comprehension of reality and understanding between people, as long as they fairly divide the world into parts, correctly reflect the ratio of the last.


2. About points of view

In ancient times it was used to say: «human — is a measure of all things». Nowadays something spiritual and lofty is meant by this phrase. From my point of view, everything is much simpler: with regard to the temperature of our body we form an opinion about cold and hot, with regard to our height – about big and small. From analogous position we can speak about good and evil, soft and hard, dry and wet, etc. Animals perceive the world in almost the same way. But in contradiction to perceptible cognition of animals, human aspires to carry out the system of counting out of its organism borders, with the aid of which it passes from subjective estimation of reality to its objective interpretation. But in any case the comparison of things lies in the base of objective knowledge.

The estimation of being, based on the search of identical, - is objective estimation, as far as this or another real object, this or another property or relation, which everything as an example is compared with, is taken for initial «point of view».

And in this relation Aristotle is right when he says that «every thing is taken in relation to each one as the same (identical) or another (different) ». In such a way on the base of identity and difference of objects and properties of the surrounding world appears the language of classificational notions – usual spoken language, which classifies the world and reflects objectivity of its qualitative diversity.

But same classificational notions allow human to interpret reality not only from objective but also from subjective intellectual positions, which determine pluralism of opinions.

As for quantitative and structural diversity of the world, classificational notions are completely useless here, as far as the interpretation of these reality spheres requires other conceptual means: natural numbers and comparative notions.

Next step gave human possibility to analyze the world by letting it pass in the light of relations «largest» and «smallest». In ancient times these relations were named corresponding, as far as under largest, for example, we understand «largest» in relation to smaller, and under smallest in relation to «largest». Therefore, corresponding sides are always together, as far as they have no sense out of relation to each other. As a result one side of this relation is objective point of view for opinion about another side.

But an amazing fact is that the same reality can be examined not only from position of one or another opposite side but also from intermediate point of view by grasping the sides as relation of opposites. It turns out that from one position the relation «largest – smallest» can be grasped as corresponding, from another position – as relation of opposites.

For instance, if we grasp the difference of temperatures at the ends of metallic pivot relatively one to another – we can speak about hot and cold as corresponding notions.

But if we grasp the same relation from intermediate position point of view, i.e. «warm» - then our conversation will turn to opposites.

It turns out that in one case hot and cold are corresponding notions, and in another – opposite. Alongside «large» and «small» can be grasped not only as relation of these two sides one to another but also as the relation to some intermediate quantity, as surplus and shortage. It means that one and the same reality is grasped in different ways depending on the choice of guiding lines. Therefore, it is very important for scientific cognition to make scientist orient perfectly in the choice of objective points of view.

This situation took place in the debates between ancient Greek philosophers. Moreover, «corresponding» and «opposite», not always had the same status in their thinking. In some cases, for instance, the priority was given to the interpretation of reality from intermediate positions. This objective opinion about the reality found, as far as we know, its expression in the image of goddess Dike, who personifies the image of balance, owing to which the world is grasped as relation of opposites combined in all ways.

Natural scientific outlook of Greeks combines this crucial relation of reality with the actions of law and justice goddess. She is portrayed with the band on her eyes and balance in her hands and symbolizes absolute impartiality, when it is a matter of finding equal rights, intermediate positions, opposite properties, states, things, etc. In such a way, owing to «the language of balance law» assimilated by ancient Greek philosophers, it is now possible to make an opinion about the opposites as about «surplus» and «shortage» in relation to strictly set system of counting - «intermediate».

If earlier human was the measure of all things, then «the law of balance» and the notion of intermediate as a definite opinion about the world made it possible to distinguish any opposites in relation to guiding lines that take place out of human organism. And though mythological goddess was still watching, nevertheless, the research over opposite origins entered a new phase.

Primordial reasonable thinking, while being in indissoluble connection with language, was already unable to exist without generalization, without striving to find in everything such objective causative-effective links (regularities), which both, this or another particular natural or social phenomena and wider, more remote from human, spheres of activity, are submitted to.

And this was possible only from certain objective guiding lines: 1) from the opinion about extreme positions or 2) from the opinion about intermediate. But in any case – on the base of «balance law» language comprehension, which reflects objective natural and social phenomena.

The appearance of balance and other means and units of measuring revealed that «opposites» are objects that can have not only one quality as surplus and shortage in relation to intermediate degree of the same quality. Indeed, this was an objective observation post, which determined the content of antique outlook for hundreds of years.

«Balance law» was that model, which everything was checked with: was it the system of cosmos or manifestation of some particular laws of nature, the matter of ethics or justice. The most majestic of all goddesses – the goddess of justice and most worthless of all people – robber Procrustes4 in their actions to the same extent were guided by this «point» of view, as far as each of them judged this or another set intermediate state.

In this connection the poem of Hesiod «The Works and Days»5, which is one of the basic pre-philosophical sources of ancient Greek philosophy, represents a special interest. In this poem we find the interpretation of two diametrically opposite processes of being, which are characterized by two notions: «dike» and «adike».

«Adike» characterizes the process of decompensation, as the result of which opposites of «surplus» and «shortage» appear from some intermediate base. For instance, I borrow or extort ten dollars from you. As a result «the balance» in the hands of justice goddess upset the balance, as far as my pocket became 10 dollars heavier and yours – lighter.

This process is identified by Hesiod with wittingly unjustified case, which is opposed to the process of compensation - «Dike», i.e. destruction of opposites into intermediate state that determines justice and order of human life. As long as justice demanded that I voluntarily returned you the debt or what was taken from You by force or by cheat. Otherwise, You apply to the judge and he restores justice by force. And then «balance» comes to equilibrium. Owing to the idealization of «dike» and «adike», «compensation» and «decompensation», justice and injustice in all its modifications and shades, Hesiod interprets not only the trial or other relations between people, but also natural order6.

Illustration 1. «Dike» or compensation

Illustration 2. «Adike» or decompensation

In such a way the ideas of compensation and decompensation, expressed in «the language of balance law», become transitional step from intellectual pre-philosophy to reasonable philosophy, to the interpretation of reality in the light of «intermediate», which becomes a starting point of view at the world for ancient Greek philosophers. Therefore, images, taken from mythology, fully determine reasonable, rational comprehension of the world and human life. They form that rational base, which not only gives birth to the first miletic philosophic school, but also determines a subsequent development of ionic philosophy.

By restoring divine law rights of «meeting» and «diverging» needles of balance, by fixing them in the images of «dike» and «adike», which reveal the specifics of ancient Greek thinking, it is possible to make a fairly new reconstruction of pre-Socratics philosophy. Meanwhile the ignorance and incomprehension of these pre-philosophic abstractions puts insurmountable barrier on the way of antique outlook comprehension and also on the way of surmounting the precipice, which appeared between contemporary humanitarian and scientific-technical cultures. Exactly this formulation of a question can urge philosophers of different trends on supporting slogan «back to Ionics» in order to reinterpret radically not only the existing historical-philosophical tradition in lighting of pre-Socratic philosophy but also our contemporary intellectual thinking.

As a specific way of reality interpretation ancient Greek philosophy appears from mythology and antique science at VII – VI c. B.C., i.e. only when two types of thinking (corresponding and opposite) are actively interpreted in cognition. In order to become philosophical, thinking must be reoriented from myth creation and intellectual interpretation of this or another comparatively narrow sphere of activity to intellectual and objective interpretation of universe structural diversity. The appearance of philosophy as a systematic-rationalized outlook, which includes vast variety of different objective approaches, becomes possible only on this base.

The appearance of ancient Greek philosophy is connected with different attempts to built theoretical image of the world. Moreover, in comparison with mythological polytheistic image, which is built according to the laws of imagination, the new outlook at the nature was based on its unity, on mind, on ability to identify and distinguish situations, on striving to use comparative notions and see the world from objective point of view: «Wisdom lies in ability to know everything as the one». And this outlook inevitably prepared the transition from belief in many gods – polytheism, to belief in one God – monotheism. In the end such transition was accomplished with the appearance of Christianity, which appeared to be alien to science and could not assist wisdom in its assertion. This determined degradation of philosophy and alongside of the science in general.

From what is said it becomes clear that in our nowadays intellectual language of categories – language of the utmost general classificational notions about the world and human, it is impossible to express the past knowledge. In this connection, appears a doubt, how far the real content of antique philosophy corresponds to its generally accepted contemporary comprehension and exposition? Therefore, philosopher-rationalist requires recreation of the old language and old reasonable thinking, which operates with lost comparative notions.

Being unable to interpret the relations of «corresponding» and «opposite», two initial comparative notions, which are determined by objective «balance law», it is impossible to go through the motion of antique thinking. Alongside, antique science actively used vast variety of classificational and quantitative notions and also variety of mathematic abstractions. However, the choice of foreshortening or objective point of view, from which human interprets reality, was the most crucial element of philosophic thinking and any knowledge in general. As long as the initial act of thinking is concentrated in this activity7.

While completing the interpretation of miletic philosophy, we should mention some words about each of three first philosophers: Fales, Anaksimandr, and Anaksimen.

Fales was founder of miletic school (approximately 624 – 547 B.C.) – first Ionic mathematician and physician. He was a merchant and travelled a lot: this allowed him to broaden his knowledge in different branches of human activity. Fales was trying to put this knowledge in a system in abstract theoretical form. It was no accident that antique authors named Fales and his followers physicians and physiologists.

By grasping the world as continuously changeable unity, Fales believes that it is determined by different states of one and the same material basis, some substance, its «condensation» and «rarefying» in relation to some intermediate basis. In antique times this conclusion was wide-spread and recognized by most of thinkers. But on the other hand another question was actively interpreted. And here there was no unity between philosophers, namely: what should be taken as primary substance? Fales believes it is water (liquid). And he thinks that everything comes from water (liquid) – and decays into water (liquid). By choosing water, its liquid state was the most crucial for him (the word «water» in ancient texts is often replaced by the word «liquid»). According to V. Windelband’s point of view, Fales’s idea lies mainly in declaring such state of material, which would make it possible to conduct transition into both sides, hard and volatile, in the way of condensation and rarefying process, a world substance8.

Anaksimandr (610-546 B.C.) – student and follower of Fales, also was widely educated person. He was interested in mathematics, physics, astronomy, geography, studied the origin of life, etc. Without denying the basic outlook guiding line of Fales, Anaksimandr simultaneously believed that water (liquid state) could not serve as the basis of being, as long as every thing comes «from its individual source». For instance, hot and cold – from warm, white and black – from grey, etc. In such a way every state, every pair of opposites must have its particular source, particular intermediate. But in this case it should be the source of all sources – the primary source, which gives birth to the world in general. And it can not be neither water, nor any other element (earth, air, fire), but it should be some other infinite nature, which is on the same level characteristic of all elements. Anaksimandr named this infinite, active, containing opposites environment as apeiron. According to philosopher’s point of view, it contains the universal appearance and destruction.

We can presuppose that Anaksimandr imagined some material environment that has been changed from one point to another, gradation resembling infinite transition from white color to black. This allowed philosopher to look at it from intermediate position and see opposites as surplus and shortage – the balance law. After looking at each of opposite sides separately, from position of their intermediate positions, Anaksimandr saw subsystems of opposites and this was endless. Apparently, such outlook gave Anaksimandr an opportunity to presuppose that apeiron includes all kinds of opposites, which gives birth to all objects «by means of differences in density and rarity of primary element», that in its turn is the basis of worlds-firmaments’ birth and death, which repeats in a circle from time immemorial.

Here, the same way as Fales believed, the starting point, from which position the world is interpreted, is «intermediate», which divides infinite environment into active opposite parts.

Anaksimen (585 – 525 B.C.) – student and follower of Anaksimandr. The same way as his predecessors, Anaksimen interprets reality from intermediate point of view. However, as the infinite environment - «apeiros», in contradistinction to Anaksimandr, he takes one of elements – air, condensation and rarefying of which gives birth to visible diversity of the world. According to Simplicii’s testimony, «after being rarefied, (air) becomes fire, after condensation – it becomes wind, then cloud, (condensed) even more – water, then earth, then stones and from them – all the rest»9.

What is said about the studies of miletic philosophers is conformed to Aristotle’s testimony as well: «everything, that takes such united (source), puts it into shape with the aid of opposites, for example, density and rarity or largest and smallest, and these (opposites), generally speaking, come, apparently, to surplus and shortage…»10.

In such a way, first Greek philosophers accepted that «source», that unique abstraction – the image of balance, which helped to introduce an order in current vagueness of things and events, and simultaneously allowed transition to thinking not only with classificational but also with comparative notions – opposites, - one of the first total formalizations, which went after that through the whole history of philosophy11.

3. Pythagoras and Pythagoreans: «everything is number»

While interpreting ancient Greeks, we pay attention to the difference in thinking of miletic philosophers and their opponents. In such a way, if in the east of Greece, in Ion, the followers of Fales explained the unity and diversity of sensitive world with the aid of opposites, then in the west, in Sicily and Southern Italy a new paradigm of thinking was discovered. It was expressed through the relation «more — less», i.e. through corresponding and quantitative notions, which caused new comprehension of the world’s unity. This was Pythagoras (571 – 497 B.C.) and his followers – Pythagoreans.

Pythagoras – is an emigrant from island Samos. He was the first who called researchers of nature and those, who were discussing the sense of life, amateurs of wisdom or philosophers. According to Fales’s advice, Pythagoras leaves to Egypt in search of knowledge, later against his will he gets to Babylon. After 34-year study and wanderings he returns to «Great Greece», where in the south of Apennine (Italian) peninsula in Crotone he establishes his philosophical school – Pythagorean union.

There is a story that once Pythagoras, while passing a forge, noticed that the strikes of hammers, different in their weight (largest and smallest), cause different sounds. If we know the weight of hammers, it is easy to correlate intensity of the sound with number. From this it follows that the studies developed, according to which the basis of being is number, as long as number relations reflect world harmony.

It is not a secret that any thinking is formed in contradiction to famous belief, which our mind is trying to surpass. The intention of Pythagoras and his followers to surpass philosophers (physicians) of Miletic School was not an exception. Pythagoreans had clear understanding of the fact that they discovered new original reality, which could be interpreted with the aid of measures and discrete quantitative notions.

In contradistinction to philosophers of Miletic School, who find dynamic relations between real existing things, Pythagoreans were searching and finding quantitative relations, proportions. Therefore, instead of traditional interpretation of being as relation of opposites Pythagoreans interpret it from position of corresponding. For Greek philosophy it was completely new reality outlook, which made Pythagoreans to re-consider the essence of such notion as «opposites», and, in fact, even to discredit it.

In Aristotle’s works we find Pythagorean list of ten binary opposition pairs – these are limit and infinite, odd number and even number, one and many, right and left, masculine and feminine, resting and moving, straight and crooked, light and darkness, good and evil, square and rectangular. Aristotle does not give any comment to this table. But we understand that far not all of these pair notions are opposites in that sense how they were interpreted by ancient Greek physicians – Ionics, namely: as surplus and shortage (or as condensed and rarefied) in relation to intermediate state.

It turns out that Pythagoras’s followers had their main aim not to interpret the world through opposites, as miletic philosophers did, but to calculate it through the category of «corresponding» with the aid of numbers.

Pythagorean philosophy, no doubt, was assisting in further development of generalizing thinking ability. If according to Fales, who was, in fact, philosopher and physician, mathematics was on its way of leaving practical science, then Pythagoras was the first who turned it into speculative theoretical discipline. Therefore, Pythagoras is the first mathematician in real sense of this word. The preference was given to structural and quantitative diversity. Knowledge became so deeply abstract, «pure», that it almost reached full breach with reality.

In such a way, at the border of VII-VI c. B.C. with the breach for almost fifty years two scientific traditions, opposite to each other (Ionic and Italian) appeared and had been co-existing for many years. Two objective opinions about the world were lying in the basis of these schools: from position of intermediate and from position of poles, i.e. two methods of cognition – dialectical and metaphysical.

Miletic physics and Pythagorean mathematics are cognition of one and the same object – reality from particular objective points of view. And though one perception is deeply different from another, it does not mean that one of them is false. Supposition, that only one of presented points of view can be truth, is delusion. The completeness lies in unity, supplementary, strong synthesis of different but objective approaches.

4. Heraclites: «The harmony of bow and lyre»

Heraclites (about 530-470 B.C.) was one of the most logical successors of miletic physics and Pythagorean mathematics principle resister. From his work «Muses» or «About nature» (its definite name is unknown) remain about 150 fragments and also some hundreds of testimonies about his study. But in spite of significant «heritage» Heraclites still remains the most mysterious and obscure thinker of ancient times for contemporary philosophers. The researchers find themselves in a situation of «hermeneutic circle»: text comprehension depends on its translation, though translation is accomplished on the basis of its preliminary comprehension. Therefore, none of nowadays existing intellectual interpretations of his philosophy absolutely does not correlate to what Heraclites wanted to say about nature in his work. The way out from this situation could be found on the way penetrating into his thinking through the categories of «corresponding», «opposite» and «orthogonal».

In such a way, according to Heraclites, space is one, it is not created by any of gods and any of people, and its basis is material primary unit – fire, which can transfer from one state to another. These states of space represent surplus and shortage.

While creating science about everything that is united, Heraclites combines all opposites, which are «wise» itself or God. As long as «God: day –night, winter – summer, war – peace, surplus - shortage»12.

This fragment irrefutably proves the transition of ancient Greek philosophers from belief in many gods to belief in one God, i.e. their pantheistic world perception. An attempt to save belief in many gods would destroy philosophical basis itself, which was aimed at the interpretation of nature’s unity.

Study of Heraclites does not contradict to the opinions of miletic nature philosophers. Therefore, the word «cosmos» has the meaning of structurally organized and regulated unity, a kind of «world order», «cosmic justice», the initial processes of which are the processes of compensation and decompensation, which are similar to the relations between debtor and creditor: «In the name of Truth (Dike) we would not know this, if it was not existing»13.

The last shows that the change of existing things, according to Heraclites, is submitted to natural necessity, which is determined by the interaction of opposite sources. Heraclites compares changeability of being to the river; therefore, being is characterized by its ability to combine past and future. Consequently, being is the process, in which old is destroyed and new is created.

Depending on concrete situation, relation of opposites can be relation of compensation, if opposites, while destroying each other, come to the position of balance, or relation of decompensation, if intermediate is differentiated into opposites. In the first case Heraclites uses such notion as «meeting» and in another case - «diverging». One can see this, while watching the needles of balance, which oscillate relatively to the position of balance. Therefore, the study of Miletic school philosophers is a part of more complex study of Heraclites about harmony, which he grasped as a cyclic process, that is determined by the law of double balances: «United, while diverging (arguing) with itself, meets (gets on with itself) like harmony of bow and lyre»14.

In nowadays time, it is considered to believe that processes of compensation and decompensation are combined between each other consequently, i.e. in such a way that in the beginning one of these processes takes place, and as soon as it is completed, another opposite process immediately changes it.

However, study of Heraclites is different. Otherwise, «the balance law», which reflects everything mentioned above in the best way, would be enough for him. For Heraclites the study about opposites is a part of more general study about harmony, which philosopher grasped as cyclic process, as «harmony of bow and lyre», as «the law of double balances», as the process of resource exchange.

But the essence of this discovery remained unclear for both, contemporaries of Heraclites and his close descendents: Platon and Aristotle. Therefore, Heraclites is the most mysterious, «dark» figure of antique philosophy. In such a way, epithet «Dark» ideally suits him even nowadays. But it is not because he expressed his thoughts in obscure way but because contemporary philosophers with their intellectual thinking can not understand his idealizations.

Heraclites uses real things (bow and lyre) for ocular demonstration of exchange processes. Therefore, we need to imagine how at least one of these instruments functions. To make it clear we will examine the action of bow, which in sensitive-graphic form gives us an idea about the fact that stretching of the bow in horizontal direction leads to its compressing in vertical direction and vice versa.

Illustration 3. The harmony of bow


When the bow is stretched in the middle,

Then his ends approach.

Neither fools, nor wise men, from Heraclites to nowadays,

Could not understand this fact.


Heraclites thinking caught this process and expressed it with the aid of two comparative notions: «meeting» and «diverging». An interaction of these notions, which are combined into one more complex notion «meeting-diverging», represents rational core and main mystery of Heraclites study. Alongside Heraclites regretted that his opponents «can not understand how hostile is in agreement with itself: the combination (harmony) is turned upside down the same way as it happens with bow and lyre»15.

Illustration. 4. Meeting-diverging


And though ancient people could clearly see that stretching of bow in the middle part unavoidably leads to its vertical compression, however, they could not understand the reason of exchange in nature and society as relation of two opposite pairs, displaced in relation to each other by time in quarter of period.

Unfortunately, this basic scientific abstraction is not used by contemporary philosophers; therefore, nowadays philosophy can not pretend to strict scientific nature. According to Heraclites, the harmony of bow and lyre is determined by the relation of two opposite pairs, which are connected to each other orthogonally, i.e. they are displaced one relatively to another by time in quarter of period or at right angles. In any oscillatory system this connection is organized in such a way that if the first pair, while being destroyed, comes to the position of balance, i.e. intermediate (compensation), then the second pair appears from intermediate and diverges (decompensation). Therefore, the image of bow was specially chosen by philosophers in order to illustrate how «one» diverges, for example, in horizontal direction and meets itself in vertical direction.

Heraclites found possibility to show his understanding of cosmic exchanges, its harmony as a relation of two dyads. It shows itself in this or another concrete rhythm: no matter if it is vibration of musical instrument’s string – lyre, exchange of goods, the function of bow or moving of space objects in their orbits. Heraclites managed to create such totality of notions, in which each of them represents notion-process: «meeting», «diverging» and «meeting-diverging». And if first two notions reflect interaction within the framework of binary oppositions on the basis of «balance law», then the notion «meeting-diverging» reflects manifestation of «double balance» law, which determines the interaction in «unity» of two sides, which are combined in pairs at one point. This is exactly that objective point of view, from which position Heraclites researched transient world. «Everything is exchanged for fire and fire is exchanged for everything, the same way as gold is exchanged for goods and goods – for gold»16.

K. Marks wrote the same but much later: «Goods wear out as exchange value and come as use value».

As a result of such research we can look differently at the connection of ancient Greek philosophy with science, which determines objectivity and wisdom of ancient Greek thinking. Balance and later bow and lyre for many years become for ancient Greeks such instruments, which gave thinking forms that helped to comprehend reality and its rhythms. By the time of Socrates and, moreover, nowadays philosophers lost their ability to use this.

The relations of opposites served to ancient Greek nature philosophers as the basis for widest generalizations. However, these thinkers, except for Heraclites, did not manage to show convincingly the interaction between the processes of destruction and appearance, compensation and decompensation. But Heraclites thought over the whole connection in all its aspects of being starting with the harmony of bow and lyre and finishing with the interpretation of social rhythms – exchange of goods. Alongside, his thinking was supplemented with new comparative notion - «meeting-diverging», which in contemporary language can be interpreted as the relation of orthogonal tendencies - «orthogonal» (Rotenfeld Y., 1986) and which takes place right after such notions as «corresponding» and «opposite» in a scheme of comparative notions, illustrated below:



Step up № 3

«Orthogonal» — oscillation, exchanges, waves

Illustration 5. Ladder of Universum

If mathematicians invented the way of studying calculation as a mean for mind development with a help of counting sticks, then philosophers found their own «counting sticks» (balance, bow and lyre) for studying reasonable thinking, which reflects causative-effective relations.

These means gave possibility to illustrate graphically and interpret theoretically the unity and intertransitions of six abstractions. New language, created from comparative notions, appeared to be more capacious than the language of classificational and quantitative notions. But this means that balance, bow and lyre meant the same for the appearance of theoretical philosophy as hand fingers and counting sticks for the birth of mathematics, though generations of philosophers, that followed Ionics, did not pay attention to this. It is a pity, as long as abstractions, which lie in the basis of these instruments, allow contemporary human to start application of philosophy the same way as he started to apply mathematics. Therefore, both reasonable philosophic thinking and mathematics needs to be taught since childhood, as far as for adults, especially titled philosophers that stand on positions of intellectual thinking, it is more complicated than for children to understand thinking with the aid of comparative notions, which reflect natural causative-effective relations.

Comparative notions, like structures of mind, lead to understanding of fact that there is no division into natural scientific and humanitarian thinking; moreover, there is no professional form of thinking: political, economical, and pedagogical and others. There is no Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish or some other philosophy as theoretical science about thinking.

Thinking is one in all professions, in all nations and its appearance and subsequent ascent from intellect to mind is connected with mastering of more complex comparative notions on the basis of such logical operation as «comparison» according to the laws of logics and dialectics.

This ability can be developed with the aid of graphic models that function like hand fingers, sticks, balance, bow, lyre or any other stringed instrument. Nowadays to these didactic means we need to add computer screen with its stock-exchange quotation of prices and mainly its trends. This is on more confirmation that the most significant breakthrough in science is usually made with the aid of new language means, as a result of which the transition from one image of the world to another takes place.

The incomprehension of «bow and lyre» harmony, presented by Heraclites, of his exchange conception made a catastrophic impact on cognition: the development of reasonable thinking was not only stopped but, moreover, it was hurled some steps back. As a result the progress of science was delayed for two thousand years until XIV-XV centuries when scholiasts of late Middle Ages paid their attention at natural cyclic processes, from assimilation of which started contemporary natural scientific cognition. Spiritual revolution of new time consisted in renaissance of Ionic cult of mind. However, this revolution appeared to be limited, narrow-minded, as far as it touched upon natural scientific thinking and not humanitarian one.


5. New categories of thinking

An attempt to create dialectics as a science about most general laws of nature, society and thinking development was crowned with «fatal success», as long as philosophy completed with comprehension of utmost general relations of reality. As a result all kinds of differences, possible in nature and society, started to be named with one word «opposites», and all processes were finally reduced to a struggle of these «opposites», most of which were not even opposites initially. This approach appeared to be a dead-end in development of reasonable dialectical thinking. And Hegel was not the only one who came to this dead-end and brought here many generations of philosophers.

Hegel proceeded from founded assumption that there a lot of relations between such notions as «identity» and «diversity» as utmost abstractions of identifying and differentiating, which he united under one notion - «concrete identity». But what was not correct, is the definition of this notion itself - «identity of opposites». However, we need to admit that subconsciously Hegel was trying to get out of this trap. In order to achieve this he singles out three laws of dialectics: the law of unity and struggle (interpenetration) of opposites, the law of double negation and law of quantitative changes’ transition into qualitative. But even they can not bring dialectical thinking out of dead-end, as long as they are not based on concrete kinds of natural and social interactions (relations). It turns out that it is impossible to build any scientific philosophy on such utmost abstract dialectical-logical basis, which gives Hegel.

It would be impossible to correct this situation even for classics of Marxism, as long as they were based mainly in their dialectical thinking on utmost wide notion «opposites» and far from being perfect Hegel laws. However, we need to admit that K. Marks and F. Engels could sense delicately natural and social processes. For example, K. Marks managed to reveal absolutely concrete relations of goods’ exchange - «square», which he used in his philosophical study about society and that allowed us to speak about his logics as «Logics from capital letter». Moreover, K. Marks grasped this relation in strictly Heraclites’s meaning as interaction of two related opposite pairs.

In such a way, the goods’ exchange was grasped by him in a way of exchange and use value’s relations, which were named by K. Marks as «opposites»; however, they are not «opposites». And real «opposites» in exchange process are two «exchange values» and two «use values». Both K. Marks and his colleague R. Engels could see this, as long as it is written in «Capital» that «goods wear out as exchange value» (one meeting pair of opposites according to Y.R.) «and come as use value» (another diverging pair of opposites according to Y.R.). Unfortunately, they did not manage to express their comprehension of this process (superposition of two opposite pair) in adequate concrete-philosophical notions.

What was said above allows us to imagine relation of exchange and use values in a way of orthogonal disposition – one of «new» paradigms of reasonable social humanitarian thinking. There are two exchange values and two use values in it, like two pairs of opposites, which are displaced relatively to each other in quarter of period, i.e. in 90 degrees.

Illustration 6. Exchange

This means that meeting and diverging pairs of opposites, which determine the energetic of social process, are not opposites in relation one to another. They represent another form of concrete identity (concrete difference) – orthogonal disposition, which determines the diversity of natural and social rhythms.

Not only on natural but also on social level: political, economical, and also game and everyday life we face different rhythms as exchange of this or another resource. But this does not eliminate the fact that we need to apply in thinking concrete binary oppositions, which were clearly described by Aristotle in his «Metaphysics». Exactly here Aristotle names and shows the difference between such concrete-philosophical notions as «contradictory», «opposite» and «corresponding» as such forms of thinking, which reflects objective reality. But nowadays contemporary humanitarians are not able to understand even these simple abstractions.

Moreover, they are unable to understand another ancient image – the image of drawing a bow, which gave graphic illustration of orthogonal disposition and revealed the interaction of not only one but two tightly connected between each other pairs of opposites. One of them, the meeting pair, is connected to the end of bow, whereas another, the diverging pair, takes place at the part of an arrow, which is situated between bowstring and shaft of the bow when it is drawn. However, all attempts, aimed at the application of this more complex thinking form in scientific sphere, appeared to be absolutely unclear nowadays. The thinking of nowadays humanitarians tears away this abstraction and shows in such a way its imperfection. As for us, we follow ancient thinkers, including K. Marks, and try to restore this abstraction, while moving from abstract to concrete in order to interpret social humanitarian processes, which determine morale. But we, in contradistinction to K. Marks, differentiate not only one form of exchange but four, which reflect the whole spectrum of human relations. Moreover, two of them are compulsory, authoritarian, which are characterized as «evil», and two other – free, non-violent, which can be defined as «good». From these follow four forms of morale, which are determined by four forms of social exchange.

The first form of social exchange is the most primitive – tyrannical. And it is most immoral, as long as it is based on personal egoistic interest, on cruel violence and ruthless exploitation. It is determined by products of human activity or any other values that are transmitted in exchange for life safety – the most precious value for human. This form of exchange can be defined with such formula: «life or money». Therefore, the system of economy, which is based on this form of exchange, can be named as archaic or criminal economics.

The second form of exchange relations – serfdom – is connected with restriction but not elimination of violence. However, even here the deprivation of human life is regarded as inadmissible. It is determined by bureaucratic economics of feudal type and is based on less visible (reasonable) egoism.

The third form of exchange – liberal – determines the change of social interactions in opposite direction and gives stimulus for the transition from egoism to altruism, as long as it affirms non-violent, free and profitable for both sides exchange. Self-organization, which is based on freedom, non-violence, mutual personal interest and profit, came to take a place of power authoritarian form of society organization. It characterizes market economics of industrial society and is determined by formula: «give in order to receive». The essence of liberal relations is determined by free and general exchange of human activity results that takes the form of goods. Alongside the relations of personal dependence and profit receipt by one side goes to the past and gives the way to mutual use.

The fourth form of exchange – servistic (from English word «service») determines more complete unity of personal and social interests. It appears on the basis of mutual service relation and not mutual struggle. Its peculiarity lies in the fact that human gets his way not by dominion over people with the aid of first two forms of exchange and not even with the aid of liberal relations. He achieves success because he serves for society or concrete people. We can trace the germs or even these relations themselves, for example, in way businessmen serve for their customers, politicians – for people, believer – for God, etc.

An example of the fourth form of exchange can be life of the richest people in USA, such as Bill Gates or Warren Buffet who gave a donation and convinced other rich people to give 50% of their multibillion capitals for charity.

While being humanized and slightly transmitted in a circle from one form to another, we reveal that all four relations of exchange are included in another, more global rhythm of history, which is presented in illustration 7.

Illustration 7. Paradigm of N. Copernicus as a reflection of two related rhythms

The daily moving of Earth around its axis and its seasonable moving around Sun can be analogue of this. And this means that paradigm of N. Copernicus, which lies in the basis of solar system heliocentric model, appears to be suitable for the interaction of local and global social rhythms comprehension. However, subjective factor, which deforms strict sinusoidal nature of natural dependencies, is laid on it in social processes.

Alongside the first three forms of social relations have already occurred in the history of society and determined the level of its social maturity and its class content. These are slave-holding, feudal and capitalistic relations. As for the fourth, «servistic» form of exchange, its appearance and general affirmation is not fatal. It depends on our expectations, which is determined by the knowledge of social development laws and dominating moral education. This form provides for absolute value of human life, well-being and freedom in eyes of every individual. Therefore, the main in these forms of exchange are these relations as goods’ or currency stock-exchange from epoch to epoch determines the growth of human personality value. And they give us possibility to form an opinion not only about moral development of personality but also about social development of this or another nation and even about civilizations.

Such approach does not eliminate the application of classificational notions and binary oppositions, which have been applied in ethics until now, but it gives more reasonable impression about the levels of social development, about the direction of evolutionary stream and gave us possibility to make more specific and change the meaning of moral phenomena. Ethic categories and binary oppositions do not give possibility to trace processuality and evolutionary direction of political, economical, gender and other social actions. Whereas such notions as «tyrannical», «serfdom», «liberal» and «servisitc» show the direction of evolution, which is determined by humanization of exchange resources’ forms that from position of mind gives possibility to look at ethics as scientific theoretical discipline.


1 Makovelskij А.О. Pre-Socrates. First Greek thinkers in their works and testimonies of ancient time and in light of contemporary researches. P. 1– Kazan, 1914. – P. 37.Another translation of Anaksimandr’s fragment can be presented: «And from what (beginnings) things have birth, to the same is death conducted by fated debts as long as they pay off to each other, rightful compensation of untruth (loss) at the appointed time». The fragments of early Greek philosophers. Part 1. From epical theocosmogonies till the appearance of atomistix. М.: Nauka, 1989. P. 127


2 Mihailova A.М., Chanyshev А.N. ionic philosophy. – М.: Publishing house of Moscow University, 1966. – P. 61.


3 Aristotle. Work in 4 v. V. 1. М.: Mysl, 1975. P. 258.

4 Bed of Procrustes, ancient Greek myth about a giant robber Procrustes, who made travelers by force to lie on bed: those, who were too tall for the bed, he cut off the legs; those, who were too short for it – he stretched their bodies.

5 Hesiod. Theogony. Works and days. // Ellinic poets. / Translated by V.V.Veresaeva. М., 1963.

6 Drach G. V. «The birth of antique philosophy and beginning of anthropological problematics. Electronic copy. Library of philosophic thinking in Southern Russia. Rostov – na – Donu.

7 Ortega and Gasset Х. What is philosophy? - М.: Nauka, 1991. P. 44 - 50.

8 Windelband V. The history of ancient philosophy. Kiev: «Tandem», 1995. P. 45.

9 Same source. P. 129.

10 Aristotle. Work in 4 v. V. 3. М.: Mysl, 1981. P.74.

11 Sokolov V.V. The history of philosophy and formalization//Philosophical sciences. 1988. N10. P.34.

12 Fragments of early Greek philosophers. Part 1. М., 1989. P. 236.

13 Same source. P. 214.

14 Same source. P.199.

15 Same source.

16 Makovelskij А.О. Pre-Socrates. P.1. P.162.