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Monday 14 November 2005

The Pythagoreans. Pythagoreanism began towards the end of the 6th century in the Greek cities in southern Italy; this school sought an intellectual foundation for a certain religious way of life, and was more abstract and mathematical than the Milesians (and much more heavily influenced by Egyptian thought). Much of their thought remains completely obscure and impenetrable. They principally sought to purify the soul by strict rules of life; they believed in metempsychosis (the transmigration of souls to animals and even plants); and they found the essential unity of things to lie not in a physical substrate but in number and numerical relations. For the Pythagoreans, the one thing that formed the substrate of all the infinite things in the universe was number .