Miletus School, Ionian School, Miletus School Philosophers

Miletus School, Ionian School, Miletus School Philosophers

June 29, 2021 Off By Felso

Miletus School is the materialist school of philosophy of Ancient Greek philosophy. Ionian school idiom; It covers the Miletus school of the first three Greek thinkers such as Thales, Anaximandros and Anaximenes and the teaching of Heraclitus of Ephesus. Ionian philosophers who formed the first school or tradition of thought in the history of philosophy are listed as Thales, Anaximandros and Anaximenes.

Opposite the Ionian school, which seeks a material basis for the world that surrounds them, is the Eleatic school, which seeks an idealistic foundation. In ancient Greek philosophy, these two schools symbolize materialism and spiritism. Aristotle, describing the philosophy before him, says in the first book of his Metaphysics:

“At first, those who were engaged in philosophy thought that the first basis of all things was only in the form of matter. Thales, the real head of this kind of philosophy, says it is water.”

The Ionian school is a very important thought movement in that it brings a brand new and scientific worldview to human thought, which has been frozen by traditional evidence. With this movement, man has brought his own reason against traditional dogmas. This is a fundamental change in human life.

Human thought, with the Ionian school, rebelled against the secrets around it and started to reason with these secrets with freedom. This reasoning, which started with the Ionian school, has continued to the present day by developing a little more every moment on the way to make people a real person. Ever since the Ionians, human beings are being introduced into nature’s structure a little more every day.

While the Ionian or Miletos School emerged as the first school of philosophy, Ionia on the Western Anatolian coast became distinguished as the first center of Ancient Greek philosophy. When we look back from today, we can identify some common features in these three philosophers who formed the Ionian School (Miletus School of Miletus).

The three philosophers in question, first of all, symbolize the break from mythopoetic thought and the transition to philosophical thinking. Accordingly, when we accept that there are two ways of explaining the world, one is mythological or mythological by reference to supernatural forces, and the other is the natural way that consists of applying to natural causes, we have developed an alternative style of explanation to the mythological explanation style of the Miletian natural philosophers, classified as physici or physiologi. thus, it can be said that they were representative of philosophy’s assertion.

Secondly, these philosophers philosophized for the sole purpose of knowing or understanding, not for any interest or practical purpose. On the other hand, Thales, Anaximandros and Anaximenes are known as the first materialists in the history of philosophy, although there was no distinction made in philosophy between matter and spirit in their era. As a matter of fact, according to Aristotle, who reveals a causal understanding of existence and states that a correct explanation of existence must reveal four different causes, namely material, agency, formal and final, the philosophers of Miletos focused only on the material cause and the arkhe, from which everything that exists is derived. or they thought that when they determined the material cause, they would explain existence, determine what really exists.

They are therefore also classified as monist philosophers in two different senses. The reason why these philosophers are classified as monists is that they primarily see matter as the only reality in the universe, that is, they seek a unity behind the multiplicity that creates the outer world, and when it comes to matter, a single substance, rather than many arkhe or material causes, is the basis of existence, like later pluralists are placements.

The philosophers of Miletos believed that they did not think of a cause, an agent or a final cause other than the material cause, and especially they did not design an external force that would move matter and set it in motion. They looked for a first item that he would explain. Therefore, they are also classified as hylozoists.

Another point that we see in common with the Miletos philosophers is their belief that “nothing will come out of nothing” (nihil ex nihilo fit) and therefore that matter or the world is eternal. At the same time, as a requirement of this belief shared by all Greek philosophers, the idea that creation out of nothing or that the material world had a beginning in time did not even cross their minds.


Thales, also known as Thales of Miletus (640 – 550 BC), lived in Miletus, a former Ionian colony, and was one of the representatives of the Miletus School. Miletus is a rich commercial city of the Western Anatolian coast.

According to a rumor, Thales foretold the solar eclipse in 585. If the rumor is true, a source on Thales’ thinking reports that Thales discovered some geometry issues. This rumor tells us that Thales knew the geometry of the Egyptians, and that perhaps he was in Egypt.