Critical Response: Philosophy Before Socrates
Prior to Socrates, many philosophers emerged themselves in critical thinking on questions that were profound for their times. For this very reason, many philosophers turned toward personal new and innovative ways to answer their questions. To this very day, both scientists and philosophers continue to place value on the reasoning and theories that were formed by the philosophers that came before Socrates.
Thales (625-547 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher from Miletus. Aristotle referred to him as the first philosopher in Greek tradition and Bertrand Russell believed that Thales was the beginning of western philosophy. Thales has been noted to have pursued explanation of critical questions based on natural mysteries. It is for this very reason that Thales focused on the element of water and is said to have believed that all things were alive with water. Thales also believed “All things are full of gods” (Norman Melchert, 2009, p. 11). Thales belief was based on the basis of the immortality of matter and motion. I disagree with Thale’s opinions due to the fact that I believe all things do come to an end. After death energy might transfer, however I physical being does end and immortality is not true. Physical bodies decompose on earth and become nutrients to the earth.
Anaximander (612 B.C.) was another Greek philosopher who followed the teachings of Thales. Anaximander’s beliefs revolved around being “boundless” or infinite. Aristotle argued that the boundless has no origin, because itself is in fact the origin and “the boundless” would also infer that it is a beginning and a beginning does not have a beginning or end. Anaximander also studied the different aspects of the universe. He claimed that nature was ruled by laws and must be balanced. An example of this is the heat of summer balancing out evenly with the cold of winter making a never-ending cycle. I do not personally agree with Anaximander’s water theory because it does not cover the potential for fire to flourish. If everything on earth derived from water fire could not possibly survive. Fire was not only essential for survival and heat, fire was also a main weapon and essential for burning fields for crop rotations.
Xenophanes was a Greek philosopher that went against the theory of the philosophers by believing there was only one god and that this man is in no way similar to mortals. He believed the other philosopher’s views of gods as over glorified heroic human beings were wrong and emphasized that the singular god in which he believed was extremely different from the past traditional view of gods. Because Xenophanes believed in a singular elaborate god he went against the stories that other philosophers had preached. An example given in the reading was that of gods creating rainbows as a message or sign to the mortals that are grounded on earth. Xenophanes did not believe that rainbows were created by the gods and were just a natural occurrence. Although I find Xenophanes to be imaginative, I do not agree with his philosophies. Having many gods and many divinities is not something that I would ever fully consider accepting. His stories are very fable like any do not hold true logical meaning.
Heraclitus (500 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher who is most notably known for having written short riddles that contained extensive meaning. His writing focused on his personal views of mankind and the role that man has in contributing to the world in which he is a part of. He often uses symbolism of elements such as water and fire as metaphors to suggest further meaning. His most famous riddle is that no man can step in the same river twice. The reading states that Heraclitus concluded this view based on the fact that the second time a man would step in the river he would be in different waters. However, after reading his true wording of the riddle that has been altered I believe he was