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The Beginnings of Philosophy in Greece$
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Maria Michela Sassi

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180502

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180502.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Thales, Father of Philosophy?

Thales, Father of Philosophy?

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter One Thales, Father of Philosophy?
Source:
The Beginnings of Philosophy in Greece
Author(s):

Maria Michela Sassi

, Michele Asuni
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691180502.003.0002

This chapter examines whether Thales is indeed the “father of philosophy” as declared by Aristotle. It first considers the theories of two interpreters, Francis MacDonald Cornford and Walter Burkert, regarding the origin of Greek philosophy before discussing the concept of muthos. In particular, it explores the problem of the cognitive status of myth in Greek thought and Aristotle's position regarding myth as articulated in the first book of Metaphysics. In reflecting upon the origin of the philosophical enterprise, Aristotle ascribes to “those who first philosophized” an interest in the “principle” (archē) of things. The chapter explains how the search for the archē started by Thales contributed to an understanding of the nature of things. Finally, it analyzes the pluralism of knowledge and styles of reasoning that characterize the intellectual enterprise of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE.

Keywords:   myth, Thales, Aristotle, Francis MacDonald Cornford, Greek philosophy, muthos, Metaphysics, archē, knowledge

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