Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus - Aura Kasih
Thales of Miletus

Thales of Miletus is widely depicted in ancient sources as a pioneering rationalist and the founding father of Greek philosophy, science, and mathematics. Famous for ingenuity in many areas, he was also numbered among the seven sages (Sophoi or wise men).

Evidence for his life and thought is meager and often questionable.Although written work is attested, nothing survives and he probably wrote nothing (Greek script still had limited uses).

The earliest extant reports come from the historian Herodotus (c. 484–between 430 and 420 BCE); other evidence derives largely from Aristotle and his younger colleagues, Theophrastus and Eudemus (fourth century BCE). Hence, the reliability of the evidence depends heavily on the accuracy of the information available to them.

Arguments for and Against Theism

Arguments for and Against Theism
Arguments for and Against Theism

Philosophy of religion enjoyed a renaissance in the final third of the twentieth century. Its fruits include important contributions to both natural theology, the enterprise of arguing for theism, and natural atheology, the enterprise of arguing against it. In natural theology philosophers produced new versions of ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments for the existence of God.

In natural atheology problems of evil, which have always been the chief arguments against theism, were much discussed, and philosophers debated proposed solutions to both the logical problem of evil and the evidential problem of evil.

Natural Theology

Building on work by Charles Hartshorne and Norman Malcolm, Alvin Plantinga (1974) formulated a model ontological argument for the existence of God that employs the metaphysics of possible worlds.

Theophrastus

アンナ・ケイ 葉 熙祺
Theophrastus

Born in Eresus on the Aegean island of Lesbos, Theophrastus moved to Athens, studying under Plato briefly and then Aristotle, soon becoming the latter’s colleague. In 322/1 BCE he succeeded Aristotle as head of the Lyceum.

The picture arising from his extant works is that of a conscientious scholar and researcher, with a marked emphasis on natural philosophy. His place as Aristotle’s first successor has for a long time created the impression of a dogmatic and docile pupil, but a comparison with his master is invidious.

A more acceptable perspective, established in antiquity (e.g., frag. 72A), is to view his work as trading on the presence of the Aristotelian corpus, while expanding and adjusting even fundamental aspects of the system where required.

Thinking

Thinking
Thinking

“Thinking” is an essentially human activity occurring in two basic forms. We may think in order to attain knowledge of what is, must, or may be the case; we also may think with a view to making up our mind about what we will or will not do. Following Aristotle, these two forms of thought may be called, respectively, contemplation and deliberation.

Both forms may be carried on well or badly, successfully or unsuccessfully, intelligently or stupidly. When contemplation is successful, it terminates in a conclusion; successful deliberation terminates in a decision or resolution.

Again following Aristotle, the form of reasoning involved in contemplation may be called theoretical, and the form involved in deliberation may be called practical. Obviously, our day-by-day reasoning in ordinary life is an untidy mixture of both these basic forms.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic theologian and philosopher, was born at Roccasecca, Italy, the youngest son of Landolfo and Teodora of Aquino. At about the age of five he began his elementary studies under the Benedictine monks at nearby Montecassino. He went on to study liberal arts at the University of Naples.

It is probable that Thomas became a master in arts at Naples before entering the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1244. He studied in the Dominican courses in philosophy and theology, first at Paris and, from 1248 on, under Albert the Great at Cologne.

In 1252 he was sent to the University of Paris for advanced study in theology; he lectured there as a bachelor in theology until 1256, when he was awarded the magistrate (doctorate) in theology. Accepted after some opposition from other professors as a fully accredited member of the theology faculty in 1257, Thomas continued to teach at Paris until 1259.

Thomism

Thomism - Yui Hatano
Thomism

The epithet “Thomist” has been applied since the four-teenth century to followers of St. Thomas Aquinas; the earlier “Thomatist,” occasionally used, was dropped toward the end of the fifteenth century. The term has a different implication according to the three main historical periods that can be distinguished.

First, until the beginning of the 1500s, during a period of vigorous Scholasticism and competition among several schools, Thomism stood in metaphysics for the doctrine of a composition of essence and existence in all created beings; and in noetics it opposed both nominalism and the Neoplatonic concept of illumination by the Ideas.

Second, from the sixteenth until the eighteenth century Thomism flourished in the golden age of Spanish Scholasticism. (At this time Thomists unreservedly applied to theology the metaphysical concept of the premotion of all secondary causes by the first cause.) Third, beginning about the middle of the nineteenth century there was a revival of Thomism that was authoritatively endorsed by the Catholic Church.

Christian Thomasius

许诺Sabrina
Christian Thomasius

Christian Thomasius was a philosopher and jurist and the first important thinker of the German Enlightenment. He was born in Leipzig, the son of the Aristotelian philosopher Jakob Thomasius, who had been a teacher of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

Christian, after studying philosophy and law at the universities of Leipzig and Frankfurt an der Oder, began lecturing at Leipzig in 1682.

His theological enemies forced him to move in 1690 to the Ritterakademie in Halle. He helped to found the University of Halle, became professor of law there in 1694, and later was Geheimrat (privy counselor) and rector of the university.

Judith Jarvis Thomson

Judith Jarvis Thomson
Judith Jarvis Thomson

Judith Jarvis Thomson has made major contributions to moral theory and metaphysics. In addition to several books in these areas, she has written more than seventy articles on a range of topics, including action theory, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science.

She was educated at Barnard College, Cambridge University, and Columbia University, the last awarding her a doctoral degree in 1959. Since 1962, Thomson has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she became a full professor in 1969.

In moral theory, much of Thomson’s work concerns what it is to have a moral right. Thomson’s 1971 article “A Defense of Abortion”—an important contribution not only to ethics but also to feminist philosophy— revolutionized the abortion debate, which had previously focused largely on the question of whether the fetus has a right to life.

Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau - Blink-blink dress
Henry David Thoreau

Henry David Thoreau once described himself as “a mystic, a transcendentalist, and a natural philosopher.” If this description does some justice to the extent of Thoreau’s eclecticism, it nevertheless obscures those characteristics that made him important during his lifetime and still remain significant today, for Thoreau was an anarchist and revolutionary who created a highly articulate literature of revolt.

Born at Concord, Massachusetts, the son of a pencil maker, Thoreau emerged from Harvard in 1837 with testimonials signed by Dr. George Ripley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and the president of the university, all of whom attested, in glowing terms, to his moral and intellectual integrity.

After a brief skirmish with school teaching, Thoreau became infected with the ideas of the New England transcendentalists, gave up all plans of a regular profession, and devoted himself to literature and the study of nature.

Thought Experiments in Science

Ai Shangzhen
Thought Experiments

Thought experiments in science are generally characterized by contrast to actual experiments: The former are conducted by engaging in an imaginative act, the latter by manipulating features of the observed world.

So if to perform an (actual) scientific experiment is to conduct an empirical test under controlled conditions with the aim of illustrating, supporting, or refuting some scientific hypothesis or theory, then to perform a scientific thought experiment is to reason about an imaginary scenario with a similar aim.

In the case of actual experiments, the theory-relevant evidence generally takes the form of data concerning the behavior of the physical world under specific conditions; in the case of thought experiments, the theory-relevant evidence generally takes the form of intuitions (or predictions) concerning such behavior.

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