During the Archaic period (mid-8th-6th century BCE), the peoples of the Greek peninsula gradually settled into a group of city-States. They developed an alphabetical System of writing, as well as the beginnings of what is now recognized as western philosophy. Previous civilizations has relied on religion to explain phenomena in the world around them; now a new breed of thinkers emerged, who attempted to find natural, rational explanations. The first of these new scientific thinkers that we are aware of was Thales of Miletus. Nothing survives of his writings, but we know that he had a good grasp of geometry and astronomy, and is reputed to have predicted the total eclipse of the sun in 585 BCE. This practical turn of mine lead him to believe that event in the world were not due supernatural intervention, but had natural causes that reason and observation would reveal .
Thales needed to establish a first principle from which to work, So he posed the question, “what is the basic material of the cosmos?” The idea that everything in the universe can be ultimately reduced To a single substance is the theory of monism, and Thales and his followers were the first to propose it within Western philosophy.
Thales reason that the fundamental material of the universe had to be something out of which everything else could be formed, as well as being essential to life, and capable of motion and therefore of change he observed that water is clearly necessary to sustain all form of life, and that it moves and change assuming different forms - from liquid to solid ice and vaporous mist. So Thales concludes that all matter, regardless of its apparent properties, must be water in some stage of transformation.
Thales also notes that every landmass appears to come to an end at the water’s Edge. From this he deduces that the whole of the earth must be floating on a bed of water, from which it has emerged when anything occurs to cause ripples of tremors in this water, Thales states, we experience them as earthquakes.
However, as interesting as the details of Thales’ theories are, they are not the main reason why he is considered a major figure in the history of philosophy. His True importance lies in the fact that he was the first known thinker to seek naturalistic, rational answers to fundamental questions, rather than to ascribe objects and events to the whims of capricious gods. By doing so, he and The later philosophers of the Milesian school laid the foundations for future scientific and philosophical through across the Western World
What is the basic material of the cosmos?
It must be...
... something from witch everything can be formed.