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Early Greek Science and Philosophy
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Early Greek Science and Philosophy

Early Greek Science and Philosophy

Slide 2

Early Greece

Early Greece

Greece and Greek Colonies

Phoenicia, Carthage and Punic Colonies

Rome and Roman Colonies

Slide 3

Thales of Miletus 625 BC

Thales of Miletus 625 BC

First Philosopher

Used organized, formal arguments

First Mathematician

Used formal proof method

Learned from Mesopotamians and Egyptians (who kept records only)

First Scientist

All events, even extraordinary ones, can be explained in natural terms which can be understood by humans.

Asked why things happened and then tried to find a rational answer

What is fundamental and does not change?

Assumed that an order existed

Underlying principle or basic material is called arché in Greek

Slide 4

"In its early days philosophy included science  which became known as 'natural philosophy'. Thales' thinking was scientific because it could provide evidence for its conclusions. And it was philosophy because it used reason to reach these conclusions."

"In its early days philosophy included science which became known as 'natural philosophy'. Thales' thinking was scientific because it could provide evidence for its conclusions. And it was philosophy because it used reason to reach these conclusions."

Strathern, Paul, Mendeleyev's Dream, New York: Berkley Books, 2000, p.11.

Slide 5

Thales

Thales

The fundamental matter?

Water (one materialist)

Fossils on hilltop

Presence in so many things

Different forms (ice, liquid, steam)

Slide 6

"We know from anecdotal evidence that Thales arrived at his theory [that water is the fundamental material] after seeing some seashell fossils high above the contemporary sea level. But his speculations probably went deeper than this. He must have seen the mist rising from the Anatolian hills to become clouds, and have observed the rain falling from clouds in storms out over the Aegean. Land becoming damp air, which in turn became water. Just a couple of miles north of Miletus, a large river meanders over the wide plain to the sea. (This is in fact the ancient River Meander, from which our word derives.) Thales would have observed the river slowly silting up: the water becoming muddy earth. He would have visited the springs on the nearby hillside: the earth becoming water again. It takes little imagination now to see how Thales conceived of the idea all is water."

"We know from anecdotal evidence that Thales arrived at his theory [that water is the fundamental material] after seeing some seashell fossils high above the contemporary sea level. But his speculations probably went deeper than this. He must have seen the mist rising from the Anatolian hills to become clouds, and have observed the rain falling from clouds in storms out over the Aegean. Land becoming damp air, which in turn became water. Just a couple of miles north of Miletus, a large river meanders over the wide plain to the sea. (This is in fact the ancient River Meander, from which our word derives.) Thales would have observed the river slowly silting up: the water becoming muddy earth. He would have visited the springs on the nearby hillside: the earth becoming water again. It takes little imagination now to see how Thales conceived of the idea all is water."

Strathern, Paul, Mendeleyev's Dream, New York: Berkley Books, 2000, p.12.

Slide 7

Pythagoras 580-500 BC

Pythagoras 580-500 BC

Invented mathematical notation

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