19 March 2013 The human search for knowledge and wisdom is something that is acceptable and it is quite often even expected in today’s modern world. It is nothing new that humans seek for truth, understanding, and reason to why things are the way they are and how they came to be. Many people spend years going to school in attempt to master a profession, many others go about the motions trying to figure out their purpose in life. Whichever the case is, it seems as if knowledge and explanations are something always craved. Since the infant years, curiosity has been in human nature. “Why?” is a phrase that In some sense many humans acquire phiosophia or the love of wisdom, making them philosophers. The word philosophy derives from the Greek word philosphia (Barnes, 2001, p. xiv). , “Why?” the phrase that the early philosophers began to inquire. Philosophy did not just all of a sudden exist, early thinkers began to question the traditional stories and myths that they had been told, especially with many new ideas rushing in from nearby lands. They wondered how the universe was created and most importantly what it was, they looked for logical explanations to their questions. On their quest to do so, these Greek philosophers searched for the ruling principle or arche in order to explain nature (Barnes, p. xxi). The pre-Socratic philosophers had different arches and different concepts that revolved around their arches. Two of these natural philosophers were Thales and Anaximander. They were both from Miletus and Thales was believed to have taught Anaximander (Barnes, p. 18). However, it is interesting that although Anaximander was Thales’s student, he formed his own concept of the world and its inhabitants. Myths were generally orally passed down from generations and generations. To the ancient Greeks, Hesiod’s and Homer’s myths and gods were an attempt to explain the natural world, “..the gods bring about natural disasters, make demands on human conduct, and determine our place in the afterlife” (Fiester, p.2). People were scared of reality so they used myths to cover up the truth and make them forget that they were scared. A difference between myth and traditional philosophy is that myth is self- justifying, meaning that there is no evidence that it is actually true except for the myth itself. This reassured people that their world was not chaotic and it provided it with some kind of form. The only thing that affirmed the myth’s legitimacy was the peoples’ belief in the gods (Frankfurt, p. 3). Traditional philosophy has at least some type of evidence that backs up the point that is attempted to be made. Myths also did not hold a proper argument structure as they were just a story being told. On the contrary, natural philosophy concepts make people question their own beliefs causing philosophy to have an argument structure. Another difference is that myth does not provide knowledge, much unlike natural philosophy. Traditional myth began to die out around the 6th century BCE in Asia Minor because trading with other countries became more affluent. Along with all of the interacting between the neighboring countries, the spread of new languages, ideas, and beliefs increased;
“..the Milesians were commercially undefatigueable. They traded not only with the Eastern empires but also with Egypt, establishing a trading emporium at Naucratis on the Nile delta.. They sent numerous colonies to settle in Thrace and by the Bosphorus and along the coast of the Black sea; and they had connections with Sybaris in south Italy” (xiii) .
Asia Minor was a busy trading place with many different people, different ideas, and different religions. The Greeks learned of these new ideas and beliefs and this may have caused them to question their own ideas and beliefs. Interacting with people who had different views on life, and religion may have influenced the Greek philosophers to step out…