Thales of Miletus (now Turkey) is considered the first known philosopher and scientist. However, none of his writings exist and much of the authority for the view that Thales is the first philosopher rests with Aristotle. In Aristotle's Metaphysics Thales is referred to as a "founder" of philosophy.
W.K.C. Guthrie in A History of Greek Philosophy(1962) writes that Thales "created a bridge between the two worlds--the world of myth and the world of mind." Another commentator, Dmitri Panchenko, in an essay entitled Thales and the Origin of Theoretical Reasoning (1987) claims that "the true achievement of Thales was in the adoption of intellectual procedure which forms the basis of all theoretical knowledge."
What prompted Thales and his students, such as Anaximander, to go through the door from the living room of myth to the kitchen of science? Western history offers a variety of answers.
Other historical notes about Thales include the tradition that he predicted the solar eclipse of 585 B.C. and that he developed five theorems of geometry including the notion that an angle in a semicircle is a right angle.
One of the pre-occupations of the pre-Socratics was determining what the primordial element was. Thales thought water was that element. He believed that the Earth floated on top of water and that all matter was derived from water.
The image of Thale on this plate is from a bust located in the Capitoline Museum in Rome, Italy.
NOTE: Thales entered the CBA as an outfielder in 1984. He played one season and then went on an extended leave-of-absence. He returns to cosmic baseball as a pitcher for this season.
YEAR TEAM BA AB HITS HRS RBI ---- --------------- ------ ---- ------ ------ --------- Thales 1984 Ionians .190 86 16 2 9
Thales and the Origin of Theoretical Reasoning
Early Greek Astronomy
Thales page at History of Mathematics site