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The Merits of the Milesians

Chad Trainer seeks out the causes of the birth of Western philosophy.

Enthusiasts of ancient Greek culture are frequently under the impression that Greek philosophy and mythology are closely linked. However, in spite of the fact that particular Greek philosophies such as Platonism can seem amalgams of philosophy and mythology, the origins of Greek philosophy were quite secular. Indeed, the philosophers of the port city Miletus in Ionia (now in Turkey) were considered philosophers because they consciously abandoned mythological accounts in explaining cosmic processes and features. In this respect the Milesian philosophers attained a fineness of thought not reached by earlier Asian traditions.

Why Start There Then?

‘Greek philosophy’ did not originate on the Greek mainland.