Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus (Ancient Greek: Θαλῆς ὁ Μιλήσιος Thalḗs or Milḗsios; Miletus, c. 624 BC – ibid., c. 546 BC) was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, geometer, physicist, and lawgiver.

He lived and died in Miletus, a Greek polis on the Ionian coast (today in Turkey). Aristotle considered him as the initiator of the Miletus school, to which Anaximander (his disciple) and Anaximenes (disciple of the former) also belonged. In ancient times, he was considered one of the Seven Sages of Greece. No text of his is extant and it is probable that he left no writing at his death. From the 5th century BC. C., important contributions are attributed to him in the field of philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, physics, etc., as well as an active role as a legislator in his hometown.

Thales is often credited with breaking away from the use of mythology to explain the world and the universe, changing instead to natural explanations through naturalistic theories and hypotheses (logos), and considered the initiator of Greek scientific and philosophical speculation and western, although his figure and contributions are surrounded by great uncertainties. Like most pre-Socratic philosophers, Thales explained that the original principle of nature and matter was a single ultimate substance (arche): water.

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