Early Greek Science and Philosophy
Greece and Greek Colonies
Phoenicia, Carthage and Punic Colonies
Rome and Roman Colonies
Used organized, formal arguments
Used formal proof method
Learned from Mesopotamians and Egyptians (who kept records only)
“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
"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.
The fundamental matter?
Water (one materialist)
Fossils on hilltop
Presence in so many things
Different forms (ice, liquid, steam)
"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.
Invented mathematical notation
Developed system to express equations