From Mythos To Logos Essay

1239 words - 5 pages

Plato once said, “Philosophy begins in wonder.” Plato was right but he missed an important factor about when people start to question what they know in the world. When people question everything in the known world, the conclusions that arise can change the thinking of everyone in that world. Most of these types of change came from ancient Greek philosophy. The examples given in this essay represents a shift between a mythological worldview to a more logical worldview. The first example was born out of an eclipse. On May 25, 585 B.C., a war was raging between the Lydian’s and Medes. During that war an eclipse occurred. The soldiers in the war stopped fighting and began to contemplate the event. Given their view on the world, their conclusion was that the eclipse was an omen from the gods. This further led them to believe that the gods did not want the soldiers to fight in the war. The reasoning behind the event stopped the war, although, there was no message to decipher. The soldiers merely misunderstood this natural phenomenon. One person, along with others that had gained knowledge from a different worldview, did understand why the event occurred. Thales, who was from Miletus, had used scientific knowledge to predict the eclipse. He understood that the eclipse was just the nature of things. Given what he knew to be true and the reactions of those around him, Thales began to question everything. Using reason and logic, Thales created a conclusion that became controversial. While contemplating what he knew of the earth and of science, his first conclusion was that the first principle was water. Having the first principle as water was very controversial because the gods were usually where everything comes from and to which everything goes. Many philosophers that came after Thales reasoned that other elements of nature were the first principles. For example, Heraclitus stated that the first principle was fire. Unfortunately, there seemed to be an argument about exactly which of the four natural elements, earth, air, fire or water, was the first principle. It was not until Anaximander that a philosopher had not reasoned that an element of nature was the first principle. Instead, Anaximander stated that the first principle was the infinite. Each philosopher that came after would reevaluate the arche from the philosopher before them and instill a new arche in its place. It was not until the scientific method was created that speculation could be tested and the first principle defined. Science benefited greatly from this type of thought logic that arose, but there were other parts of the world that needed to be examined. For a while, philosophers only seemed to want to explain the physical world until Socrates came along. In a quest for knowledge, Socrates seemed to poke fun at people’s outlook on abstract thoughts. Socrates was trying to make people realize that abstract...

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