Philosophy started when human beings started to ask questions, about how and what things are actually, due to curiosity. The things that caused these questions to come about were the people started to realize that everything isn’t exactly what it appears to be.
Philosophy started in the town of Miletus, many early philosophers came from here. The philosophers started their work around 585 B.C. Thales, one of the early Miletus philosophers, left no writings behind, all we know about him is memorable incidents recorded by later writers. He lived between 624 and 546 B.C. His unique contributions to thought was he believed that even though there are differences between various things there is a basic similarity between them all. He thought that some single element, that contained its own principle of action or change, lay at the foundation of all physical reality. This element being water.
Another Miletus philosopher and also a pupil of Thales was Anaximander. Anaximander believed also about some thing at the foundation of all physical reality, but he didn’t believe it was water or any specific element. He thought the primary substance that all things come is an indefinite and boundless realm. He differentiates things from their origin by the indeterminate boundless. The last Miletus philosopher was Anaximenes, he was an associate of Anaximander. Anaximenes wasn’t satisfied with the thought of the boundless being the source of all things, he thought this was too vague. He combined Thales belief of a definite substance and Anaximander’s concept of the boundless in continued motion. Anaximenes declared air as the primary substance from which all things come.
The Miletus philosophers did raise questions about the nature of things and made the first direct inquiry about what nature consist of, but they didn’t form their hypothesis the way modern scientists would, nor did they use and experiments to check their theories.
Pythagoras, from the small island of Samos, brought new philosophic theories. Pythagoras followers were called Pythagoreans, they devoted themselves to mathematics. Pythagoreans, while unlike Miletus philosophers, believed everything consist of numbers. Pythagoras biggest philosophical contribution was the concept of form. Form to them meant limit and they saw it best shown in music and medicine. In both of these, harmony is the central fact, and taking into account proportions and limits achieve it. The greatness of Pythagoras and his followers is shown by the influence they had on later philosophers.
Many later philosophers tried to explain change, the first Heraclitus. Heraclitus main belief was that “all things are in flux” or everything is in constant change. He described this change process as a unity in diversity. He thought the thing changing was fire. He believed fire to be the basic reality and thought he discovered the principle of change itself.
Paramenides, a younger...