Philosophers

Thales

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Thales Biography

Feelosofi –  Thales, an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist who lived around the 6th century BC, is often considered one of the most important figures in the history of western philosophy and science. He was born in the city of Miletus in what is now part of modern Turkey. Thales is famous for his contributions to various fields of knowledge, such as mathematics, astronomy and physics. One of his most famous achievements was the discovery of a fundamental geometric theorem known as Thales’ Theorem, which relates to symmetric triangles. He is also believed to be one of the founders of the Miletus school of thought, a primitive school of thought which later developed into pre-Socratic philosophy .

Additionally, Thales also had a strong interest in astronomy and predicted solar eclipses accurately, demonstrating his understanding of natural phenomena. He also introduced the concept that all objects in the universe originate from one basic element which he identified as water. This concept is one of the initial milestones in the development of thinking about elements in chemistry.

Although historical records are limited, Thales is considered a very influential figure in the development of scientific and philosophical thought in the western world. His analytical approach to nature and his efforts to seek rational explanations for natural phenomena helped form the basis for later scientific thought. As one of the first thinkers to try to explain the universe with natural principles, Thales paved the way for more advanced scientific and philosophical thought in the history of human civilization.

Thales’ Thought

Water As An Elemental Principle

The concept of “Water as an Elemental Principle” introduced by Thales, a major figure in the history of ancient scientific thought, refers to his idea that everything in the universe has its origins in and will return to the basic element known as “water.” In Thales’ view, water is not just the water we know in liquid form, but rather a basic element that includes all forms of matter.

This concept marks an early attempt to identify the elements that make up the universe and provide a rational explanation for the changes and transformations of matter. Thales believed that water could change into various forms of matter, both solid (e.g. ice) and gas (e.g. water vapor), and this was the reason why he considered it a universal fundamental principle.

Although this view now looks simplistic and is no longer accepted in modern science, its contribution in shifting thinking from mythical explanations to rational explanations of nature is an important milestone in the history of the development of science and philosophy . Thales’ ideas paved the way for more advanced scientific thinking and exploration of the chemical elements that form matter in the future.

Explanation Of The Solar Eclipse

The explanation of solar eclipses put forward by Thales, an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist, is one of the important achievements in the history of astronomy. Thales succeeded in predicting solar eclipses accurately, demonstrating his deep understanding of the movements of celestial bodies.

According to historical records, Thales predicted a solar eclipse by observing a solar eclipse that occurred in 585 BC, which is known as the Thales solar eclipse. He understood that a solar eclipse occurred because the Moon revolved around the Earth and covered the Sun.

This understanding reflects early attempts at understanding natural phenomena with scientific principles and empirical observation . Thales’ contribution in predicting solar eclipses became the basis for further astronomical research and the development of understanding of the movement of celestial bodies. Thus, his thoughts on solar eclipses inspired the development of the science of astronomy and marked an important milestone in human efforts to understand the universe.

Thales’ Theorem

Thales’ theorem is one of the most famous mathematical contributions of Thales, an ancient Greek philosopher who lived in the 6th century BC. This theorem is a basic geometric principle related to triangles. Thales’ theorem states that if two lines are parallel, and a third line passes through them, then this line will divide the triangle formed by these lines into two triangles that have the same proportions. In other words, if AD is a line that intersects two parallel lines AB and CD, then the ratio of the lengths of AD to AB will be the same as the ratio of the lengths of AC to CD.

Thales’ theorem has various applications in geometry, trigonometry, and practical problem solving. It is the basis of many more complex geometric concepts, including the properties of parallel triangles and many trigonometric calculations. This theorem is also used in distance measurements and angle calculations in the fields of navigation and surveying.

A Rational Approach To Nature

This approach reflects an important paradigm shift in the way humans understand the world around them. Thales proposed that the universe could be understood using measurable and explainable natural principles. He believed that the universe had natural causes that could be discovered and explained by human reason.

Thales’ approach brings scientific thinking towards a more systematic and evidence-based understanding, which is the forerunner for more advanced scientific methods in the future. This concept sparked the development of rational thought in philosophy, science, and mathematics, and became the foundation for the thinking of the ancient Greek philosophers and scientists who followed. Apart from that, Thales’ rational approach also gave rise to the development of natural science and philosophy in the future which focused more on the exploration and understanding of the universe.

Geometric Shapes

Thales was an important figure in the development of ancient geometry and is known as one of the first thinkers to pay special attention to the properties of geometric shapes, such as triangles and circles. His contribution in identifying and describing the basic properties of these shapes was the first step in the development of geometry as a branch of structured mathematics.

One example of Thales’ geometric contribution is Thales’ Theorem, which relates to triangles. This theorem states that if two lines are parallel, and a third line passes through them, then this line will divide the triangle formed by these lines into two triangles that have the same proportions. These geometric concepts have wide applications in various aspects of mathematics and natural sciences, including trigonometry and analytical geometry. Thales’ contributions in developing an understanding of geometric shapes have helped form the basis for many of the more complex geometric concepts and principles to come in the history of mathematics.

Interrelationship Of Natural Symptoms

The interrelationship of natural phenomena proposed by Thales, an ancient Greek thinker, reflects an early attempt to understand the causal relationship between various natural phenomena. Thales attempted to explain that natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, were related to underlying natural principles. He considered water to be the basic element present in all things, and argued that changes in this element could be the cause of earthquakes.

Although this view is now considered primitive and inadequate in explaining modern geological phenomena, this concept marked an early step in the search for causal relationships behind natural phenomena. Thales thus inspired the development of scientific thinking about nature and created the foundation for further scientific investigation of natural phenomena. Although Thales’ views were not always correct in their interpretation, he began an important journey in the development of a more robust and comprehensive science of natural phenomena.

Natural Research Approach

Thales is known as one of the first figures to propose that the universe can be understood through empirical observation , rational reasoning, and scientific explanation rather than through myth and belief. He encouraged rational thinking as a tool for understanding nature and natural phenomena. This approach became the basis for more advanced scientific methods in the future.

Thales considered that knowledge should be based on direct observation, and he stimulated efforts at scientific understanding by advocating the investigation of nature. This approach became one of the basic principles in the development of science and philosophy in the West. In this case, Thales was one of the pioneers in paving the way for the use of the scientific method which focuses on observation, experimentation and rational explanation in an effort to understand the world around us. The concept of the natural inquiry approach proposed by Thales provides an important foundation in the evolution of scientific thinking and is the basis for the development of more advanced science in the future.

Thales’ Work

In history there is not a single recorded work by Thales. Therefore, no specific list of works can be presented in this regard. Thales is known through quotes and references in the writings of other ancient Greek philosophers and historians. His intellectual contributions are reflected more in the thoughts, concepts, and observations he introduced than in formal written works.

Conclusion

Thales played a key role in shifting thinking from mythical explanations to rational explanations of the universe. He introduced important concepts such as “water as a principle element” and “Thales’ Theorem,” which provided the foundation for the subsequent development of mathematics, astronomy, and the natural sciences. Thales also encouraged a rational approach to nature and scientific inquiry. Although historical records of his written works are very limited, his contributions to shaping Western scientific and philosophical thought are significant, and he is known as one of the principal founders of Western thought.

FAQs

Who Was Thales, And Why Was He Famous?

Thales was an ancient Greek philosopher and scientist who lived in the 6th century BC. He is best known for his contributions to the development of Western scientific thought and philosophy , including the idea of ​​water as a principle element and Thales‘ Theorem in mathematics.

What Is Meant By “Thales Theorem”?

Thales theorem is a basic geometric principle relating to triangles. He stated that if two lines are parallel, and a third line passes through them, then this line will divide the triangle formed by these lines into two triangles that have the same proportions.

Why Did Thales Choose “Water” As The Basic Elemental Principle?

Thales chose water as the principle element because he observed that water can change into various forms of matter, including solid (ice) and gas (water vapor). He believes that water is the most basic element that exists in everything.

What Role Did Thales Play In The Development Of Scientific Thought?

Thales played an important role in shifting human thinking from mythical explanations to rational explanations of the universe. He encouraged an investigative approach to nature and the use of rational reasoning to understand natural phenomena.

What Are Thales Contributions To The Field Of Mathematics?

Apart from Thales Theorem, Thales also made contributions to geometry and trigonometry. He is considered one of the founders of geometry and introduced the concepts of geometric shapes, such as triangles, which became the basis for further mathematical developments.

Reference

  • The Philosophy of Thales – Kirk, GS – Year: 1967
  • Thales of Miletus: The Beginnings of Western Science and Philosophy – Waterfield, Robin – Year: 2000
  • Thales of Miletus: The Early Presocratic Philosophers – Barnes, Jonathan – Year: 1979
  • Thales of Miletus: An Edition of and Commentary on the Fragments – Furley, David J. – Year: 1980
  • Thales of Miletus: The Primal, Pre-Socratic, and Proto-Philosopher – Hernández, José Luis – Year: 2016
  • Thales of Miletus: The History of a Pre-Socratic Philosopher – Christensen, Joel P. – Year: 2019

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Raymond Kelvin Nando, "Thales," Feelosofi, 31 October 2023, https://feelosofi.com/en/thales/
Raymond Kelvin Nando
Writer, Researcher, & Philosophy Enthusiast