Naturalists and Materialists Philosophy Essay

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SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
For example, he argued that earthquakes were caused by waves within the water that the earth sets on (33). Without having seismographs and plate tectonics to counter this assumption, it was a perfectly logical conclusion for the man to reach and he used it as proof of the water on earth hypothesis. As he employed all of these in his theory, Thales has to be credited with perhaps the first established scientific theory about the workings of the universe.

Besides this "Grand Unified Theory," Thales was also involved in the burgeoning of several philosophical ideologies. He is credited with the first uses of monism in philosophical thought. At the core of all human existence, he argued was a sense of shared community. Even more, this unity somehow impacted every living things that existed on the planet. Humans, animals, plants all shared this unity which was unseen and even largely unfelt except in the cases of close kinships such as family or friends. Those we hate even are part of this universal united entity within. Everything was somehow connected with everything else on the planet by a soul or some kind of a life force. The world itself, he believed, was a living entity and so what was life and what was matter were inseparable concepts.

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More than just humanity and nature, Thales was interested in knowing to define what it was which made up all material objects. He wanted to know what it was within an object or a living thing which gave it the properties and characteristic normal to that item. In this too he eventually determined that the basis of all matter was in water. Humanity has taken this philosophy and expanded it. For example, scientists have agreed that in interplanetary exploration looking for sources of water will indicate life on these distant planets. A theory that was discovered millennia ago still has merit within a far more technologically advanced age. This is just one example of how both pre- and post-Socratic philosophers impacted the rest of humanity.

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These early ideas of Thales encouraged other early pre-Socratic philosophers to try to figure out what that life force might be. If it was agreed upon that all things in the world were connected then it was the job of philosophers to identify it and explain it in the best way possible. This was the burgeoning of the naturalist philosophical movement, an exploration of what was behind this connection with every natural thing in the world. Specifically, naturalism is the philosophical belief that the mysteries of the universe can all be explained by natural as opposed to supernatural phenomena. Unlike later philosophers who were interested in the spirit or soul for religious and theological purposes, the philosophers of Thales' time were guided by simple curiosity (Allen 6). They had questions and made a career of sorts out of extrapolating on these questions.

The pre-Socratic philosophers were the first people to look at the world and question why and what and how things are the way that they are. These people rejected the supernatural explanations which had placated men before them. Instead of accepting the stories of gods and goddesses, they tried to find more reasonable and logical explanations to their many questions. In doing this, they began a whole new way of looking at the world. The philosophers that came after were able to come up with more plausible solutions than Thales' idea that the earth was resting in a large body of water, but it is unlikely that the new philosophers would have come up with their ideas had they not had the writings of others to read and consider. For this reason the pre-Socratics are credited with the creation of philosophy.

Works Cited

Allen, Reginald E. Greek Philosophy: Thales to Aristotle. New York, NY:… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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