Thales: His contribution to scientific knowledge

  • OO Asukwo


The cosmocentic period of Western Philosophy was a child of ‘circumstance'. This was because of the general dissatisfaction from Homer and Hesiod's explanations of the universe. Their accounts were based on mythology, which could not attract the attention and the fancy of the people for long. The cosmoscentic period of philosophy emerged very promising with: A systematic approach to the observable rather than on an ad-hoc basis; A focus on nature itself rather than supernatural gods and powers; Arguments which were open to inspection and test, instead of assertions based on mere authority. With these three major approaches, this period attempted diverse explanations of the phenomena in order to discern the underlying similarity, which could be termed as the ultimate stuff of the universe. This of course is the foundation of modern science (Shand, 2 – 4). So, as philosophy is not a community affair but a thought of a single individual, Thales emerged as the first to systematize his speculation in a scientific manner about the primary stuff of the universe and on other issues. That is why this paper is to presents to us the contribution of Thales to scientific knowledge. Of course, we are not going to discard his contribution based on what science is today but on what science was as of that time.

Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 8(1) 2005: 130-135