Thursday, May 1, 2008


Pythagoras was a famous and controversial Greek philosopher who lived from 570 to 490 BC. He is responsible for what’s known as the Pythagorean theorem which relates to the geometry of right triangles. The formula is a2 + b2 = c2. Contrary to modern beliefs Pythagoras was famous during his lifetime for his philosophy on the nature of the natural world as opposed to the science and mathematics for which he is known today.

There are many post-Aristotelian ancient sources that portray Pythagoras as a semi-divine entity, leading to much future controversy. He influenced future Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle who in turn focused their memoirs of Pythagoras on his way of life and emphasize his philosophy rather than any supernatural abilities that he was claimed to possess.

Pythagoras eventually went on to found his own school based on his teachings. The schools dictum was “All is number.” According to philosopher, mathematician, historian Bertrand Russell believed that Pythagoras works in mathematics and philosophy became the model for works of future scholars such as Plato, Descartes, and Kant. He believes that Pythagoras brought together the idea of mathematics and theology to explain the nature of the universe where thought and reason was placed over the senses and intuition as superior to observation. The concept of the explaining the world through intellect rather than through the senses is accredited to Pythagoras. The teachings of Pythagoras’s school were as religious as they were intellectual. Many students of the school went on to found as society known as the Pythagoreans.

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