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by Philippe Jeanjacquot last modified Dec 20, 2012 05:23 PM
Study about Thales linked with the first activity with Stellarium.

Study Text on Thales.

The pupils read a short text about Thales. Personal reading + reading to the class.

Comment on the text on Thales.

Thales (625-547 BC) was one of the first philosophers, astronomer and mathematician. He helps us understand that knowledge is a whole
We know nothing absolutely certain about Thales. All information is indirect and after his death, there was no written from Thales. Many information are from the writings of Plato in the 4th century BC and also from Aristotle.
Thales is a pre-Socratic philosopher (before Socrates).
It sets out the facts, as a general truth.
Thales is one of the representatives of the Greek miracle. Ancient Greece in the 6th and 4th centuries BC saw the birth of philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, science. It was also exceptional for art. For Hegel (German philosopher of the 19th century) is a time when men take account of their superiority over other animals. For example, the Egyptian and Indian religions worship the gods in animal form. Under the Greek, gods are represented by men. This fertile western culture.
Mathematics appear at this time. However, the Egyptians had some knowledge: numeration, computation of surface area. The Greeks have been unified and a demonstrative science of mathematics. They have unified math. And is dependent the truth of mathematical from the demonstration.
Before Thales, mathematical knowledge is sparse and empirical (they were found by practical necessity). Thales, even beyond the math, trying to establish general and universal truths. Thales would have invented the term philosophy. Some of these friends asked him if he is the 7th wise man of ancient Greece (6 men are considered the six wise men of ancient Greece). He says modestly "I am not a wise man but a friend of wisdom that is said in Greek philosopher." This story is typical of the philosophical spirit and the Socratic spirit. Thales will be well regarded finally as the 7th wise man of ancient Greece and as the first pre-Socratic philosophers.

Further reflections on the text about Thales:

A party who has not been addressed in the text. "Philosophically, it says that everything flows from the water." What he called "Everything" are the material realities. He attaches great importance to the 4 physical elements (water, earth, air, fire). Thales gives the water a greater privilege is his worldview. It is water that are born to him the other elements. According to Thales, the Earth is water condensed, the air was rarefied water. It was Aristotle who refers (2 centuries BC). For him, the Earth floats on water. He thought the Earth was liquid and continents floating on the water (which justifies the earthquakes).
Thales said that like the myths about the origin of the world, but Thales was the first to seek to explain the world rationally.

How the 4 elements feed our imagination. Freud interested in the role of elements in our unconscious (that part of our mind which we do not have access but it plays a role in our behavior).Water is a symbol of femininity in the unconscious. The elements are one of the few universal symbols in our dreams.
Bachelard, French philosopher (20th century) is very interested in the education
of the scientific spirit. He wrote a book on each element.

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