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The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
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Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

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The Lions of Miletus

The Lions of Miletus

(p.67) Chapter Eight The Lions of Miletus
The Penultimate Curiosity

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Oxford University Press

This chapter focusses on a profound revolution in thought that took place in the Greek-speaking Ionian colony of Miletus. Around 547/6 BC a book was published by a citizen of Miletus named Anaximandros. One of the first Greek books to be written in prose, it both developed and disagreed with ideas first put forward by his teacher, Thales; the author (who was one of the first to draw a map of the known world) also had knowledge of lands beyond those where people spoke Greek. Each one of these factors played into the revolutionary concept contained within it—an idea in which a new kind of religious thinking and a new kind of interest in the natural world were two sides of the same coin. For Anaximandros everything has its origin in a single arche—a source or principle—which is ‘ungenerated and imperishable’.

Keywords:   Greek philosophy, Ionian philosophers, Miletus, The Clouds, Socrates, religion, prose, Anaximandros, religious thinking, natural world

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