Saturday, September 7, 2013

Interesting Ideas Encountered in Philosophy History Class

Thales, the Greek philosopher known to have begun philosophy in the West by predicting an eclipse, had an interesting theory of how magnets had souls. He is also popular for the idea that in some way, everything is composed of water. Later commentaries attributed water to 'one of the five (logical) principles', suggesting they borrowed it from the five Chinese elements.

Anaximander, the second Greek philosopher, introduced a combination of two principles, Arkhe and Apeiron---the original and the unlimited. In some way, a sourceless substance was the beginning and end of all things. This is similar to the Chinese concept of Wu Wei (Wikipedia).

Anaximenes had a simpler concept that all was made of air or mist which becomes compacted into other elements. For him, air was an eternal and boundless substance (apeiron).

Collectively, the first three Greek philosophers are known as the Milesians.

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