Thales of Miletus
(flourished 6th century BC) Greek philosopher. None of his writings survive, and no contemporary sources exist. The claim that Thales was the founder of Western philosophy rests primarily on Aristotle, who wrote that he was the first to suggest a single material substratum for the universe, namely water. Thales' significance lies in his attempt to explain nature by the simplification of phenomena and in his search for causes within nature itself rather than in the caprices of anthropomorphic gods.
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