Authors: Hsei-Yung Hsu
Though the notion of dikē (justice) is closely related to the traditional religion of the ancient Greeks 1 , following the development of the politics of polis, it increases its social and political dimensions. The practice of dikē matters to the prosperity of a polis, and to the maintenance of the common interest of its citizens. As the history entered into the second half of the sixth century BC, the first philosopher Thales appeared in the polis Miletus. He thought that water was the archē of everything (DK 11B3), and the earth,likewood, floated on the water2 (DK 11A12).Though few of his thoughts remains in written form, yet Thales’ cosmogony and cosmology have a profound impact on the subsequent early Greek philosophers. The notion of dikē in those early Greek philosophers’ thoughts is rich in cosmological meaning, and its existence makes the universe work in a state of equilibrium. This may be helpful for us to see the political and moral connotations of dikē in their thoughts. This paper is, therefore, an attempt to explore the functions of dikein the thoughts of Anaximander, Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Democritus. Hopefully by so doing we could, to some extent, conjecture their political and moral thoughts respectively.