Thales (c. 624-c. 548 BCE)

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  • Thales is the person often credited with being the world's first philosopher, a claim first made by Aristotle. He belongs to the Presocratic group of philosophers, a grouping of people who had little in common except having lived before Socrates was born. His dates of birth and death are unknown, but the least unreliable estimates place him between 624 and 548 BCE. Little is known about the life of Thales, except that he was a native of the Ionian city of Miletus and that he traveled widely in the eastern Mediterranean. He is customarily associated with, and thought to have been the tutor of, Anaximander and Anaximines. These Milesian philosophers are the earliest of the Presocratics. Nothing written by Thales has survived; his thoughts ...

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