Thales of Miletus  

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"Greek philosophy seems to begin with an absurd notion, with the proposition that water is the primal origin and the womb of all things. Is it really necessary for us to take serious notice of this proposition? It is, and for three reasons. First, because it tells us something about the primal origin of all things; second, because it does so in language devoid of image or fable, and finally, because contained in it, if only embryonically, is the thought, 'all things are one.'" --Nietzsche, in his Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks

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Thales of Miletus (ca. 624 BC–ca. 546 BC), was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition. According to Bertrand Russell, "Western philosophy begins with Thales." According to Herodotus (and determination by modern methods) Thales predicted the solar eclipse of May 28, 585 BC.

Diogenes Laërtius quotes the chronicle of Apollodorus of Athens as saying that Thales died at the age of 78 in the 58th Olympiad (548–545 BC), and attributes his death to heat stroke while watching the Games.

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