Where the Milesians philosophers or scientists?
There seem to be mixed thoughts about what the Milesian philosophers truly were. Some say that they were scientists for they based their thoughts on observation and not in a philosophical and thoughtful way, whilst others say that they were philosophers which simply used their observations to amplify their argument. Thales of Miletus was the first major western philosopher which tried to answer two questions: “What is the arche of all things?” And “Why do things change?” He thought that the arche was water, for 3 specific reasons. Firstly, he based it on the myth of the Oceanus, which was a river circling the ‘flat’ earth, providing water to streams and rivers around the world. This was highly philosophical, however the next two reasons were based on observation, namely that water is found everywhere under different guises and all living beings require water. He thought that change happened because there was a struggle between opposing forces, and the winning force changed the qualities of the object. Anaximander was a pupil of Thales, and had the same principle of change as Thales did, however he used that principle to objectify that the arche of all things was water. He worked out that if water was defeated by an opposing force and caused change, it meant that water was in fact not the arche since it would not have been defeated. Instead, he insisted that the arche was ‘Apeiron’. Apeiron is a ‘base element’ without properties which changes to different objects. He uses the word Apeiron since it signifies infinity, meaning that there is an infinite amount of objects which can be made/destroyed. His thoughts were mainly philosophical and did not eschew from using Thales’ theory. Anaximenes, the third Milesian philosopher, was a student of Anaximander which had different opinions both about the arche of all things and about the theory of change. Based on observation of condensation and rarefaction of air, he...
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