Knowing by likeness in empedocles

Rachana Kamtekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Contrary to the Aristotelian interpretation of Empedocles' views about cognition, according to which all cognition, like perception, is due to the compositional likeness between subject and object of cognition, this paper argues that when Empedocles says that we know one thing 'by' another (e.g. earth by earth or love by love), he is characterizing analogical reasoning, an intellectual activity quite different from perception (which is explained by the fit between effluences and pores). The paper also explores the idea that strife and love describe, in addition to physical separation and composition, the mental activities of analyzing and composing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-238
Number of pages24
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009


  • Analogy
  • Empedocles
  • Knowledge
  • Love
  • Strife
  • Theophrastus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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