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Homework answers / question archive / First Response:Thales was considered a radical in his time of 624 – 546 B

First Response:Thales was considered a radical in his time of 624 – 546 B


First Response:Thales was considered a radical in his time of 624 – 546 B.C. This can be understood when considering, Thales lived in a Greek society on the Island of Miletus. During this time and location, it was a Pre-Socratic culture that believed in the polytheistic Greek mythology. This belief was in oracles, muses, and the fact that everyone’s fate was preset, in that your life was pre-planned and not changeable by individual actions. Greek mythology, like many other society’s in these times believed each aspect of the world was controlled by different Gods.

Thales is the first to question the substance of matter and studied many things to include philosophy, history, science, mathematics, engineering, geography, and politics. He studied with the use of deductive reasoning based on observations or experiences instead of the believe in divine intervention or premade paths. These methods then made him a radical by going against what most of Greek society believed.

There are many popular statements made by Thales while utilizing his scientific method. One such statement is in his belief; everything comes from water. His ability to think outside of his time is seen in his observation of how the earth is existing, how is land above water, and even leads some to believe that he was able to consider the process of evaporation. Through his ability to experiment and observe it created a simple reasoning for all things, instead of the tradition path of fate-based existence. His radical thought process was a step towards the change of all things.

Second Response:Thales was one of the first real philosophers. While religious figures can express philosophical ideas and philosophers can express religious ideas, it is important to draw a difference between the two. Religion often involves the presence of a higher power. It provides guidance for people as well as an explanation for their existence. Philosophical ideas also seek to make sense of life and give people direction, which can further blur the lines between them. In a sense they have similar purposes, but their origin separates them. Religion does not require evidence to support itself. Instead, religion relies on things like faith and trust. Philosophy follows methods that can seem similar to the scientific approach. The world is analyzed in order to form a philosophical view, purely faith is not sufficient. In our present times, religion faces more pressure, so religious figures have adopted some methods of philosophy/science so that religion has more support than just faith. Mythology uses tales of the past that can seem like exaggerated religion to tell stories and explain the present. With this understanding, we can distinguish why Thales’ methods and views were philosophical and not religious or mythological. Much of Thales’ fame as a philosopher comes from impressive feats (or shows of intelligence) rather than trying to explain all parts of existence. These feats were often accomplished through simple quantitative and qualitative analysis, so there was no need for faith. He would make educated guesses (such as when he guessed the correct eclipse cycle), and when they occurred, he would have the physical proof, so no faith was needed. One event that really sums up his approach was when he measured the height of pyramids. He just made an observation that shadow length and object height are equal at some point, and when this occurred, he measured the shadow and found the height. (O'Connor & Robertson, 1999) This was easily supported by comparing the shadows and heights of other objects. Thales was not really explaining the world, instead he was just developing methods to improve how people look at its physical presence. *each response must be 100 words plus*

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