Pre-Socratic Philosophy - History

History

Western philosophy began in ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE. The Presocratics were mostly from the eastern or western fringes of the Greek world. Their efforts were directed to the investigation of the ultimate basis and essential nature of the external world. They sought the material principle (archê) of things, and the method of their origin and disappearance. As the first philosophers, they emphasized the rational unity of things, and rejected mythological explanations of the world. Only fragments of the original writings of the presocratics survive. The knowledge we have of them derives from accounts of later philosophical writers (especially Aristotle, Plutarch, Diogenes Laërtius, Stobaeus and Simplicius), and some early theologians, (especially Clement of Alexandria and Hippolytus of Rome). The Presocratic thinkers present a discourse concerned with key-areas of philosophical inquiry such as being and the cosmos, the primary stuff of the universe, the structure and function of the human soul, and the underlying principles governing perceptible phenomena, human knowledge and morality.

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