How Was the Development of Philosophy in Antiquity?June 28, 2021
Since the beginning of human history, people have asked questions about the world and their place in the world.
The answers to the most fundamental questions for early societies were in religion, the actions of the gods explained the workings of the universe and formed the framework for human civilizations. However, some people found traditional religious explanations inadequate and sought answers based on reason rather than tradition or religion. This shift led to the birth of philosophy and the first known great thinker, Thales of Miletos, a Greek settlement in today’s Turkey. Thales used reason to investigate the nature of the universe and encouraged others to do the same. He left to his followers not only the answers he found, but the whole process of rational thinking and his view of what satisfactory explanations should consist of. Thales is therefore generally regarded as the first philosopher.
The most important topic that the first philosophers emphasized was Thales’ basic question: “Why was the world made?” His answers laid the foundations of scientific thought and the relationship between science and philosophy that is still valid today. Pythagoras’ work, which explored the world in mathematical terms rather than in terms of a concept that could be described as first matter, created an important turning point. He and his students described the structure of the cosmos in terms of numbers, proportions, and geometry. Although some of these mathematical relations gained mystical meanings for Pythagoras and his students, the numerical explanation of the universe had an important effect on the emergence of scientific thought.
It is possible to examine the philosophy of the antiquity under the following headings:
– Ancient Greek philosophy
– Oriental philosophies
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook