Summary 101 Essential Philosophers

Topics: Philosophy, Scientific method, Knowledge Pages: 16 (5190 words) Published: February 3, 2013
Thales of Miletus
He was the first philosopher of Ancient Greece and the founder of Western philosophy. Thales came from the seaport of Miletus. He was born around 620 BC who claimed that water is the fundamental nature of the world. He correctly predicted that there would be a solar eclise in 585 BC which was credited by Herodotus. He was also known as the first natural scientist and analytical philosopher in Western intellectual history. Aside from being a philosopher, Thales was also something of an entrepreneur. He believes that water was the first principle of life. He also professed that the flat earth floated on water. He thought that earth has buoyancy. He also claimed that earthquakes were due to the rockinng of the earth by subterranean waves. Pythagoras of Samos

He was born around mid-sixth century BC. He was known for his Pythagorean Theorem. The school he founded was thought of as a religious cult that taught many strange doctrines. He also believes in reincarnation, transmigration of souls and numerology. He proved that the intervals between musical tones can be expressed as the ratio between the number from one to four. He introduced the ‘tetracyds of the decad’, a diagram that represents the first four numbers in a triangle of ten dots. He believed that number 10 is the perfect number, because it is the result of the sum of the first four integers. One represent a point, two the line, three the surface and four the solid. After his death his school splitted into two, one taught his religious teaches and the other concentrated on his scientific views. Pythagoras had shown that the ratio of the diagonal in a square to its sides couldn’t be expressed as a whole number, this led to the discovery of irrational numbers. Xenophanes of Colophon

This philosopher was known as a contemporary and critic of Pythagoras. He was exiled to Southern Italy and walk in Ancient Greece as a poet. He criticized Homer’s gods as a simple reflection of Homerian culture. He also made fun of the idea of transmigration of souls that human soul could live in another animal. During his time, he noticed the fossils embedded in the earth and speculated that the world surface drying up periodically, returning to muddy state and trapping earth’s creatures then the process repeats. Based on this observations, he proposed the possibility of mud as the fundamental nature of the world. Heraclitus

He lived around 500 BC in Ephesus in Ionia, Asia Minor. He was popularized as the Flux and Fire by his theory that “All things are flowing.” He is known for proposing that the universe is a balance of opposing forces constantly in flux, and for calling the basic universal constituent "fire". He said that permanence does not exist in the universe, only the permanent condition of change as a result of the transformations of Fire. The Stoics, nicknamed him “The Riddler”. His works are written in general truth and prophetic style.

Parmenides of Elea
He was a greek philosopher of Elea. His great contribution to philosophy was the method of reasoned proof for assertions. Parmenides proposed that being is the material substance of which the universe is composed and argued that it was the sole and eternal reality. With this as a statement he proceeded to destroy by his argument the possibility of generation, destruction, change, and motion. All change and motion are illusions of the senses. Since being is spatially extended and is all that exists, there is no empty space, and motion is therefore impossible. Only fragments of his work have survived. Zeno of Elea

He was a former student of Parmenides. His paradoxes are the first recorded argument by the technique of ‘reductio ad absurdum’. The opponent’s view is known to be false and it leads to contradiction. He proposed two arguments against the idea of multiplicity of things and the idea of motion. Zeno’s argument shows that space cannot consist of an infinite series of points. A line or...
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