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First philosophers and the history of philosophical thought: An appraisal of the Milesian Thinkers

Abstract

Munyaradzi Mawere

The question concerning the contributions of the first thinkers [who are believed to be the Milesian thinkers as they were natives of Miletus] to the history of philosophical thought has received different interpretations throughout the history of philosophy. On one hand there are historians of philosophy who argue that the Milesian philosophers did not make any new contribution to the history of philosophy. On the contrary are others who believe that it was only because of the Milesians’ efforts that today we have philosophy as a discipline; otherwise philosophy as a discipline could have never come into existence. What remains interesting, however, is that philosophers on either side tend to be extreme, rigid and narrowly focused in their analysis of the contributions by the Milesian thinkers. This paper therefore invites and critically reflects on the arguments brought forth by philosophers on either side. The paper then makes a balance of the two conflicting positions before paying homage to the Milesian thinkers. The paper therefore is a contribution towards the history of philosophy and critical thinking among historians of philosophy.

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