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Pythagoreanism originated in the 6th century BC, based on the teachings and beliefs held by Pythagoras and his followers, the Pythagoreans, who were considerably influenced by mathematics and mysticism. Later revivals of Pythagorean doctrines led to what is now called Neopythagoreanism or Neoplatonism. Pythagorean ideas exercised a marked influence on Aristotle, and Plato, and through them, all of Western philosophy.
Historians from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy pointed out
Aristotle makes clear that there are several groups of people included under the heading “so-called Pythagoreans,” by explicitly distinguishing those Pythagoreans who posited the table of opposites from the main Pythagorean system.
According to tradition, pythagoreanism developed at some point into two separate schools of thought, the mathēmatikoi (μαθηματικοί, Greek for "Teachers") and the akousmatikoi (ἀκουσματικοί, Greek for "listeners"). There is the inner and outer circle
John Burnet (1892) noted
Lastly, we have one admitted instance of a philosophic guild, that of the Pythagoreans. And it will be found that the hypothesis, if it is to be called by that name, of a regular organisation of scientific activity will alone explain all the facts. The development of doctrine in the hands of Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes, for instance, can only be understood as the elaboration of a single idea in a school with a continuous tradition.
There were also two forms of philosophy, for the two genera of those that pursued it: the Acusmatici and the Mathematici. The latter are acknowledged to be Pythagoreans by the rest but the Mathematici do not admit that the Acusmatici derived their instructions from Pythagoras but from Hippasus. The philosophy of the Acusmatici consisted in auditions unaccompanied with demonstrations and a reasoning process; because it merely ordered a thing to be done in a certain way and that they should endeavor to preserve such other things as were said by him, as divine dogmas. Memory was the most valued faculty. All these auditions were of three kinds; some signifying what a thing is; others what it especially is, others what ought or ought not to be done. (p. 62)
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