The Nature of Water


Natale Gaspare De Santo
Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies in Naples, Italy
Carmela Bisaccia
Rosa Maria De Santo

Series: Environmental Science, Engineering and Technology, World Philosophy
BISAC: SCI026000

Water, the most represented substance in the human body, is a trace of the primordial sea where life originated. Its virtues may be represented by the Venus of Botticelli coming out from the sea, as well as by Velasquez’s water seller and by Aristophanes’ chant of the clouds. Water has been connected with medicine from time immemorial and is a common good. For Sumerians, the physician was the man who new water. Homer’s (850-750 BC) mythical tradition made Ocean and Thetys progenitors of all gods and of the world. Hesiod (ca. 700 BC) chanted Poseidon, the sea-lake god, who could cause tempests and seaquakes, generate springs, and also confer the power to walk on water like on earth. (Imprint: Nova)


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Giuseppe Remuzzi (Past President of the international Society of Nephrology)

Chapter 1. The Ambivalent Character of Water

Chapter 2. What Water Is

Chapter 3. Water: A Curse and a Blessing

Chapter 4. Water in Sumerian, Babylonian and Egyptian Cosmology

Chapter 5. Water in Greek Thought

Chapter 6. Philosophers and Water Scientists of the First Millennium AD

Chapter 7. Water and the Philosophers and Scientists of the Second Millennium AD

Chapter 8. Water in Psychology

Chapter 9. Water in Music

Chapter 10. Water in Paintings and Sculptures

Chapter 11. Watery Symbols

Chapter 12. Rivers, Wells, Lighthouses and Water Instruments

Chapter 13. Proverbs and Sayings

Chapter 14. The End Of Water

Avvocato Gerardo Marotta (President Italian Institute for Philosophical Studies)



Chapter 1:
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[3] Coelho P. The Pilgrimage. London, Harper Collins Publishers, 1997, p. 104. .
[4] Villari L. Garcia Lorca. Repubblica, August 4, 2006
[5] Houellebecq M. Les Particules élémentaires. Paris, Flammarion, 1998. Italian translation: Le particelle elementari. Milano, Bompiani, 1999.

Chapter 2:
[1] Holmstead EG. Mammalian cell water. London, Henry Kimpton, 1966.
[2] Feynman RP. Six Easy pieces. New York, Basic Books, 1963,pp. 5-13.
[3] Wolke RL. What Einstein Told His Cook. New York, WW Norton and Company, 2002. Italian translation: Einstein al suo cuoco la raccontava così. Milano, Apogeo, 2005.
[4] Cunnigham WP, Cunningham MA, and Saico BW. Environmental Science: a global concern, 7th edition. New York, Mc Graw Hill, 2003. Italian translation Fondamenti di ecologia, Milan, 2004.
[5] Harris F. Paediatric fluid therapy. Oxford, Blackwell, 1972.
[6] De Santo NG, Capasso G. Disturbi elettrolitici ed acido-base. Firenze, USES, 1980.
[7] Hierholzer K. Fisiologia renale. In De Santo, Camussi, D’Armiento, Eds. Malattie dell’Apparato Urinario. Cosenza, Bios, 2004.
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[20] Renkin EM, Crone C. Microcirculation and capillary exchange. In Greger R, Windhorst U, Eds Comprehensive human physiology. Berlin, Springer 1996, Vol. II, pp. 1965- 79.
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[22] Starling EH. On the absorption of fluids from connective tissue spaces. J Physiol 1896; 19: 312-26.
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Chapter 3:
[1] De Santo LS, Bisaccia C, De Santo RM. Water from Gilgamesh Epic to Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman: a look into polywater and the memory of water. J Nephrol 2009; 22 (S14): S86-S91.
[2] Muscau C. The wave which changed the world. Il Corriere della Sera, Milano, December 24, 2005.
[3] Nazzaro A. Simbologia e poesia dell’acqua e del mare in Ambrogio di Milano. Napoli, Loffredo Editore, 1977.
[4] Ravasi G. Le sorgenti di Dio. Cinisello Balsamo, Edizioni San Paolo, 2005, p. 41.
[5] Ravasi G. Op. cit, loc cit, p. 199.

Chapter 4:
[1] Kramer SN. L’histoire commence à Sumer. Paris, Éd. Artaud, 1957. Italian translation: Sumeri alle radici della storia. Second Edition. Roma, Newton Compton, 1988.
[2] Pichot A. La naissance de la science.1. Mésopotamie, Égypte. 2. Grèce présocratique. Paris, Gallimard, 1991.
[3] Guthrie WKC. Greek Philosophy. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1964 I, pp. 59-70.
[4] Gardiner A. Egyptian Grammar. Oxford, Griffith Institute, 1994.
[5] Maspero G. Histoire ancienne des peuples de l’Orient. Paris, Hachette, 1917.

Chapter 5:
[1] Reale G, Antiseri D. Il pensiero occidentale dalle origini ad oggi. Brescia, La Scuola,1994, Vol 1, pp. 2-4.
[2] Reale G. Storia della filosofia greca e romana. Vol. 1. Orfismo e presocratici naturalisti. Milano, Bompiani, 2004, pp. 1-56.
[3] Diels H and Kranz W. Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. Griechisch und Deutsch. Berlin, 1903, pp. X-601. 12th edition. Which is abbreviated DK. Followed by the chapter, letter and number of fragment (e.g. DK/B11). Each chapter of this work is divided into two sections; A, which contains reference in and B, which contains fragments that have been handed down verbatim. Italian translation: I Presocratici, Testimonianze e Frammenti (Presocratics, accounts and fragments). Vol 1 and 2, 8th edition. Bari, Laterza, 2004. We will make reference to this translation as I Presocratici.
[4] Barnes J. The Presocratic Philosophers. New York, Routledge, 2006, p. 4.
[5] Guthrie WKC. The Presocratic tradition from Parmenides to Democritus. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. xiii.
[6] Reale G. I Presocratici. Milano, Bompiani, 2006 passim, pp. XXVIII- LII.
[7] Esiodo. Opere. Translation by G. Arrighetti. Torino, Einaudi-Gallimard, 1998, p.70.
[8] Caldwell RS. Hesiod’s Theogony. Focus Classical Library, Newburyport, MA, USA, R. Pullins Company, 1987.
[9] Esiodo. Opere. Translation by G. Arrighetti. Torino, Einaudi-Gallimard, 1998, p. 339.
[10] West ML. Hesiod: Theogony, Oxford, 1966.
[11] Hesiod. Erga. Verses 736-741, 757-759.
[12] Pugliese Carratelli G. L’Orfismo in Magna Grecia. In Magna Grecia, Pugliese Carratelli G, Ed, Vol 4. Milano, Electa, 1996, p. 159.
[13] Barra Bagnasco M. Il culto delle acque in Magna Grecia. Dall’età arcaica alla romanizzazione: documenti archeologici e fonti letterarie. Potenza, Soprintentenza Archeologica della Basilicata. Archeologia dell’acqua in Basilicata, 1999.
[14] Gigante M. La civiltà letteraria nell’antica Calabria. In Cingari G, Storia della Calabria. Roma, Gangemi Editore, 1988, Vol II, pp. 526-563.
[15] De Santo RM, Bisaccia C, Cirillo M, Pollastro RM, Raiola I, De Santo LS. The nature of water. Greek thought from Homer to Acusilaos. J Nephrol 2009; 22 (S14): S92-S97.
[16] Houssey E. I Milesi. In:-Il Pensiero Greco. Torino, Giulio Einaudi Editore, 2005. Original title: Le savoir Grec. Brunshwing J and Lloyd GER, Eds. Paris, Flammarion, 2006, pp. 460-70.
[17] Cambiano V. Storia della Filosofia Antica. Bari, Laterza, 2005; p.10.
[18] De Santo NG, Bisaccia C, Bilancio G, Romano M, Cirillo M.-The nature of water: Thales’ arkhē. J Nephrol 2009; 22 (S14): S98-S102.
[19] Pichot A. La naissance de la science.1. Mésopotamie, Égypte. 2. Grèce présocratique. Gallimard, 1991. Italian translation: La nascita della scienza. Bari, Dedalo Libri,1993.
[20] Kenny A. Ancient Philosophy. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2004; Vol I, p. 5.
[21] Gregory A. Eureka. The Birth of Science. Cambridge, New Scientist, Icon Book, 2003.
[22] Musajo Somma A. The ideal of health. In: Medicina in Magna Graecia, the roots of our knowledge. 39th Int Congr on the History of Medicine. Bari, University of Bari, 2004.
[23] Bisaccia C, De Santo RM, Bilancio G, Anastasio P, Perna A, De Santo LS. The nature of water: excerpts from Pythagoras, Xenophanes, Heraclitus and Parmenides. J Nephrol 2009; 22 (S14): S103-S107.
[24] De Latte A. Costituzione degli Stati Uniti e i Pitagorici. Napoli, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, 2008.
[25] Porter R. Blood and Guts. A short history of medicine. London, Penguin Books, 2003,-p.26.
[26] Nietzsche F. I filosofi preplatonici. Bari, Laterza, 2005; p.141.
[27] Giannantoni G. I Presocratici. Vol 1, p. 176.
[28] Giannantoni G. Op.cit. Vol. 1, p. 165.
[29] De Santo NG, De Santo RM, Perna AF, Bisaccia C, Pisot R, Cirillo M. When philosophy meets clinical sciences. Hemodialysis Int 2011; 15: 178-182.
[30] De Santo NG, De Santo RM, Pisot R, Bisaccia C, Perna AF, Bizzarri M, Di Leo VA, Bilancio G, Cirillo M. Bone composition and the birth of quantitative chemistry. Ann Kinesiol 2011; 2: 127-137.
[31] Guthrie WKC. A History of Greek Philosophy. The Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2004, p. 356.
[32] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. Vol 2, p. 557.
[33] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, pp. 1001-1003.
[34] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, p. 1027.
[35] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, p. 1031.
[36] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, pp. 1056-1057.
[37] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, p. 1517.
[38] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, p. 1185.
[39] Furley. Democritus. In Le savoir grec. Lloyd GER, Ed. Paris, Flammarion, 1996. Italian translation: Il Sapere Greco. Torino, Einaudi, 2005; Vol 2, pp. 68-79.
[40] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, p. 1290.
[41] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, p. 1439.
[42] Guthrie WKC. The Presocratic Tradition from Parmenides to Democritus. Cambridge, University Press, Cambridge, 1965.
[43] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, p. 1090.
[44] Giannantoni G. Op. cit. 2006, p. 1093.
[45] Kenny A. Op. cit. 2004; pp. 28-32.
[46] Guthrie WKC. –The Sophists. Cambridge University Press 2005, p. 271.
[47] Reale G. Storia della Filosofia greca e romana. Sofisti, Socrate e socratici minori. Vol 2. Milano, Bompiani, 2004.
[48] Stokes Ph. Philosophy – 100 essential thinkers. New York, Enchanted Lyon Books, 2005.
[49] Wightman WPD. The emergence of Scientific Medicine. Ediinburgh, Oliver and Boyd, 1971. Italian translation La nascita della medicina scientifica. Bologna, Zanichelli, 1975.
[50] Porter R., Op. cit., p. 27.
[51] Reale G, Antiseri D, Op. cit. Vol 1, pp. 87-88.
[52] Gourevitch D. Hippocratic medicine and the treatise Airs Water and Places. A short-history of the beginnings and influence of a scientific error. Medicina nei secoli 1995;7: 425-433.
[53] Pichot A. La naissance de la science.-1.Mésopotamie,Égypte. 2.Grèce présocratique.-Gallimard, 1991. Italian translation: La nascita della scienza. Bari, Dedalo libri, 1993, pp. 555-604.
[54] Hippocrate. Opera Omnia, Vol 2. Levi MG, Ed. Venezia, Giuseppe Antonelli, 1841,-pp. 9-16.
[55] Cherniss H. The Riddle of the Early Academy. Berkeley 1945. Italian translation-Ferrero L. L’enigma dell’Accademia antica. Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1974, p. 72.
[56] Pellegrin P. Fisica. In Brunschwig J. and Lloyd GRE, Il pensiero Greco, op. cit p. 385.
[57] Cicero. De Natura Deorum, II, 22,57.
[58] Diogenes Laërtius. Lives of Philosophers, VIII, 115-157.
[59] Diogenes Laërtius, Lives of Philosophers VII,143.
[60] Furley DJ. Cosmologia In: Le savoir grec. J.L.Brunswig and G.E. Lloyd, Eds. Torino, Einaudi, 2005, Vol 1, pp. 364-5.
[61] Zeller E. Outlines of Greek Philosophy, transl S.F.Alleyne and E. Abbot, 13th Ed, reprinted 1948, p. 249.
[62] Diogenes Laërtius. Lives of Philosophers IX, 91.
[63] Bragg M. On Giants’ Shoulders. Great scientists and their discoveries: from-Archimedes to DNA. Italian translation Sulle spalle dei gianti. Milano, Parole di Cotone, 1998.
[64] Titus Lucretius Caro. De Rerum Natura IV, 11-13.

Chapter 6:
[1] Reale G. Storia della Filosofia Greca e Romana, Milano, Bompiani,2005, Vol 7, pp. 214-215.
[2] Diogenes Laërtius, Vita philosophorum VIII, 26.
[3] De Latte A. United States Constitution and Pitagoreans. Translation by Giovanni Pugliese Carratelli. Napoli, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, 2008.
[4] Galeno. Opere Scelte. Garofano I and Vegetti M, Eds. Torino, UTET, 1978.
[5] Reale G, Antiseri D. Il pensiero occidentale dalle origini ad oggi. Brescia, La Scuola, Vol 1, p. 278.
[6] Porphyrius. Vita Plotini 2.
[7] Reale G. Storia della Filosofia Greca e Romana. Milano, Bompiani, 2005; Vol 6. p. 146.
[8] Plotinus. Enneades, II, 8, 10.
[9] Plotinus. Enneades V, 9, 3.
[10] Plotinus. Enneades V, 8, 7.
[11] Augustine. The City of God, VII, 35.
[12] Isidore of Seville. Ethymologiae.
[13] Kenny A. Ancient Phylosophy. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2004, Vol I, p. 115.
[14] Cavallo G. L’universo medievale. Il manoscritto cassinese del “De rerum naturis” di Rabano Mauro. Ivrea, Priuli & Verluca Editori, 1996, pp. 20-29.

Chapter 7:
[1] Avicenna. Il Poema della medicina. Italian translation. Catania, Brancato, 1991.
[2] Mezzogiorno A, Caruso AA, Iorio L, Papa M, Esposito V. Pietro Anzolino da Eboli and the thermal therapy of renal pathologies. J Nephrol, 2004; 17: 329-333.
[3] Kenny A. Medieval philosophy.Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2004, p. 58.
[4] Astrup P., Severinghaus JW. The History of Blood Gases, Acids and Bases. Copenhagen, Munksgaard, 1986, pp. 174-175.
[5] Kenny A. Medieval philosophy. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 2004, p. 188.
[6] De Franco L. Introduzione a Bernardino Telesio. Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 1995.
[7] Nicola Abbagnano .Storia della Filosofia. Milano, Gruppo Editoriale l’Espresso, 2006, Vol II.
[8] Bernardini Telesii Consentini. De iis quae in aere fiunt et de terremotibus. Neapoli, apud Josephum Cacchium, 1570.
[9] Bernardini Telesii Consentini. De Mari. Neapoli, apud Josephum Cacchium, 1570.
[10] Stendardo E. Ferrante Imperato. Collezionismo e studio della natura a Napoli tra cinque e seicento. Napoli, Accademia Pontaniana, 2001.
[11] Kristeller PO. Eight philosophers of the Italian Renaissance. Stanford, Ca, Stanford University Press, 1964.
[12] Astrup P and Severinghaus JW. Op. cit. pp. 38-39.
[13] Abbagnano N. Storia Della Filosofia. Vol V., Milano Gruppo Editoriale l’Espresso, Istituto Geografico De Agostini, 2006, pp. 175-250.
[14] Hegel GWF. Filosofia della natura.Torino, UTET, 2002, § 282-289, 331, 332.passim
[15] Sir Sherrington C Scott. Man on his nature. Edingurgh, Mc Millan, 1938.
[16] Guthrie D. History of Greek Philosophy. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1962, Vol I, p.73.
[17] Wightman WOD. Growth of scientific ideas. Edinburgh, Oliver and Boyd, 1950, p.10.

Chapter 8:
[1] Hyde M, Mc Guinness M. Jung for beginners. Italian translation: Jung per cominciare. Milano, Feltrinelli, 1992.
[2] Jung CG. Psychologie und Alchemie. Olten, Walter Verlag, 1944.
[3] Jung CG. Symbole der Wandlung: Analyse des Vorspiels zu einer Schizophrenie. Olten, Walter Verlag, 1973.
[4] Jung CG. Op.cit.,1973, p.166.
[5] Jung CG Op cit, 1973 p. 224.
[6] Jung CG. Op. cit, 1973, p. 256.
[7] Jung CG. Op. cit. 1973, p. 340.
[8] Romano A. Il vecchio di Bollingen. In: Don Francesco F, Ed: Un oscuro impulso interiore. Bergamo, Moretti & Vitali, 2000; pp. 150-170.
[9] Bachelard G. L’Eau et les Rêves. Essai sur l’imagination de la matière. Paris, José Corti, 1962.
[10] Bachelard G. Op. cit. 1962, p.120.
[11] Bachelard G. Op. cit. 1962, p.112.
[12] Bachelard G. Op. cit. 1962, p.114.
[13] Bachelard G. Op. cit. 1962, p.123.
[14] Bachelard G. Op. cit. 1962, passim, pp. 158-178.
[15] Bachelard G. Op. cit. 1962, passim, pp. 137-157.
[16] Bachelard G. Op. cit. 1962, p.166.
[17] Bachelard G. Op. cit. 1962, p.164.
[18] Chiore V. Il Poeta, l’Alchimista, il Demone. La dottrina tetravalente dei Temperamenti Poetici di Gaston Bachelard. Genova, Il Melangolo, 2004.
[19] Elide M. Trattato di storia delle Religioni. Torino, Bollati Boringhieri, 1999, p. 176.
[20] Libis J. L’eau et la mort. Dijon, Editions Universitaires, 1996. Italian translation: L’acqua e la morte. Bergamo, Moretti e Vitali, 2004, pp. 54-78.
[21] Novalis. Die Lehrlinge zu Sais. Italian translation: I discepoli di Sais. Milano, Tranchida, 1985, p.83.
Aczel AD. The Riddle of the Compass. The Invention That Changed the World. New York, Random House, 2004.

Chapter 9:
[1] Solbiati A, and Cerutti S. L’acqua in Schubert.
[2] Jankélévitch V. Debussy et le mystère. Neuchâtel, Editions de la Baconnière, 1949. Italian translation, Debussy e il mistero. Bologna, Il Mulino, 1991, p. 63.
[3] Savinio A. Scatola Sonora. Torino, Einaudi, 1977, p. 273.
[4] Spampinato F. Debussy e la seduzione dell’acqua.-Suggestioni e metafore della liquidità della natura. Musica/Realtà 2001; LXVI: pp. 101-104.
[5] Libis J. L’eau et la mort. Eds universitaires de Dijon, 1996. Italian translation L’acqua e la morte. Bergamo, Moretti& Vitali, 2004, pp. 143-144.

Chapter 10:
[1] Narrete Priteo B. The Water seller of Seville. In Velazquez a Capodimonte, Sapio.M, Ed. Napoli, Electa, 2005, pp. 63-65.
[2] Baldini U. Botticelli. Firenze, Edizioni il Fiorino, 1988.
[3] Regione Sicilia. Fiume a Siracusa. Siracusa, Ediprint, 1986.
[4] Michelangelo and Raphael in the Vatican. Città del Vaticano, Edizioni Musei Vaticani, 1995, pp. 84-85.
[5] Eknoyan G. Michelangelo, art, anatomy and the kidney. Kidney Int, 2000, 57: 1190-1201.Michelangelo and Raphael in the Vatican. Città del Vaticano, Edizioni Musei Vaticani, 1995, p. 112.

Chapter 11:
[1] Sudhoff K and Matthiesen W. Paracelsus. Sämtliche Werke. Vol. 9, Munich, O.W. Barth, pp. 1922-1925.
[2] Paracelso. Trattato delle ninfe, silfi, pigmei, salamandre e altri esseri. Roma, Stampa Alternativa Nuovi Equilibri, 1990.
[3] Calasso R. La follia che viene dalle Ninfe. Milano, Adelphi, 2005.
[4] Ferraro E. Le ninfe incantatrici di Calasso. La Stampa, 2005, August 6, p. 4, col 1-5.
[5] Capaccio GC. Delle imprese. Neapolitanae Historiae, Napoli, Carlino, 1607.
[6] Fabris D. La città della sirena. Le origini del mito musicale di Napoli nell’età spagnola. In: Bosse M and Stoll A, Eds, Napoli Viceregno Spagnolo – Una capitale della cultura alle origini dell’Europa moderna. Napoli, Vivarium, 2001; pp. 473-501.
[7] Angela Pontrandolfo. La pittura parietale in Magna Grecia. In: Pugliese Carratelli G, Ed, I Greci in Occidente. Milano, Bompiani, 1996, pp. 457-470.
[8] Odissey M A.

. What did the sirens chant. La Repubblica, June 26, 2008, p. 39, col.2-8.
[9] Gibson C. Signs and symbols. London, Grange Books, 1996.
[10] Biedermann H. Enciclopedia dei simboli. Milano, Garzanti, 1995.

Chapter 12:
[1] Aczel AD. The Riddle of the Compass. The Invention that Changed the World. 2001. Italian translation L’enigma della bussola. L’invenzione che ha cambiato il mondo. Milano, Raffaello Cortina, 2005.
[2] Galison P. Einstein’s clocks, Poincaré’s Map: Empires of time. Italian translation Gli Orologi di Einstein, le mappe di Poincaré. Imperi del tempo. Milano, Raffaello Cortina, 2004.
[3] Mo E. Gange. Corriere della Sera, July 331, 2005, pp. 14-15.
[4] Ciriello M. Cave di pietra e d’argento. Il Mattino, 2005, august 15, p.17, col 1-5.
[5] Barbera G. Il Giardino di Kolymbetra. Milano, Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano, 2004.
[6] Pliny the Elder. Naturalis Historia XXXI, 18.
[7] Trevor Hodge R. Romam aqueducts and water supply. London, Duckworth, 1992.
[8] Harris R. Pompeii. Milano, Mondadori, 2003. Original title Pompeii, New York, Clarendon House .
[9] Cancellieri M. The use of water as an indication of the presence of life: technical ways of employment in the archaeological documentation. Medicina nei Secoli 1995; 7: pp. 450-456.

Chapter 13:
[1] Nin A, Miller H. A literate passion. Italian translation Storia di una passione. Milano, Bompiani, 2000, p. 65.

Chapter 14:
[1] Berner E.K. & Berner R.A. The Global Water Cycle. Upper Saddle River, N.Y., Prentice Hall, 1987, p. 397.
[2] Bounama C., Franck S. & von Bloh W. The fate of Earth’s ocean. Hydrol. Earth System Sci.2001; 5: 569-75.

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