ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf


4. The Ancient Ionians. -- The philosophers of the earliest schools set out to discover in nature a primordial element to which the manifold and changeable may be traced. As they pursue their investigation they are led to seek the foundation of things first in a principle of the concrete order, then in a mixed element partaking at once of the concrete and of the abstract, and finally in a purely abstract element. These three viewpoints characterize respectively the three schools comprising the first group of Pre-Socratic philosophers: (1) the Ancient Ionian School; (2) the Pythagorean School; (3) the Eleatic School.

Water for THALES OF MILETUS (about 624-548 B.C.), infinite matter (apeiron) for ANAXIMANDER OF MILETUS (about 611-547 B.C.), air for ANAXIMENES OF MILETUS (588-524), air endowed with intelligence for DIOGENES OF APOLLONIA, were the respective cosmic elements whose fluidity and mobility seemed likely to explain the incessant flux or change of all things.

<< ======= >>