Pre-Socratic Philosophers

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Definition

The Pre-Socratic Philosophers are defined as the Greek thinkers who developed independent and original schools of thought from the time of Thales of Miletus (l. c. 585 BCE) to that of Socrates of Athens (470/469-399 BCE). They are known as Pre-Socratics because they pre-date Socrates.

More about: Pre-Socratic Philosophers

Timeline

  • c. 610 BCE - c. 546 BCE
    Dates of Anaximander who develops the cosmic theory of the apeiron as the First Cause of existence.
  • c. 585 BCE
    Time in which Thales of Miletus lived.
  • c. 571 BCE - c. 497 BCE
    Life of Pythagoras of Samos; claim that "number" is the First Cause of existence and the soul is immortal.
  • c. 570 BCE - c. 478 BCE
    Life of Xenophanes of Colophon; claim of One God as the First Cause of existence.
  • c. 546 BCE
    Date of Anaximenes' work; air is claimed as the First Cause of existence.
  • c. 500 BCE
    Heraclitus of Ephesus lives; claims that change is the essence of life and First Cause.
  • c. 500 BCE - c. 428 BCE
    Life of Anaxagoras; claim that gods are irrelevant and all phenomena caused by natural forces.
  • c. 485 BCE
    Parmenides flourishes; claims universe is One and pluralism is an illusion.
  • c. 485 BCE - c. 415 BCE
    Life of the Sophist Protagoras of Abdera; claim that "man is the measure of all things".
  • c. 484 BCE - c. 424 BCE
    Life of Empedocles who claims that Strife and Love are the two constants in life.
  • c. 465 BCE
    Zeno of Elea flourishes; writes 40 logical paradoxes to support Parmenides' Monist view.
  • c. 460 BCE - 403 BCE
    Life of the tyrant and Sophist Critias; claim that gods do not exist and religion is the invention of the clever to control others.
  • c. 460 BCE - c. 370 BCE
    Life of Democritus, pupil of Leucippus; development of the concept of the atomic universe.
  • c. 427 BCE
    Sophist Gorgias flourishes; claim that knowledge is unknowable.
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