Philosophy Before Socrates - Early Ionian Achievement

Essay by schityalaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2003

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Is the early Ionian approach to accounting for the events in the world an improvement over that of the Old Testament? That depends on the parameters and definitions of the comparison. For simplicity's sake, we will let "account of the events in the world" include how the world came to be in the first place and how it is now. An improvement is defined as an account based on stronger logical (or scientific) foundation, since logic is the pervading method of accounting for things in present day Western civilization. Logic is the study of necessary truths and of systematic methods for clearly expressing and rigorously demonstrating such truths. Given these assumptions, it is indeed true that the early Ionians had a better account of the world than the author(s) of the Old Testament.

The Old Testament is the first recorded history of a people and the first developed systematic view of the universe.

Given the predisposition to polytheism by other contemporary cultures, the Judaic belief in monotheism was also a step forward, logically speaking. As the Ionian Xenophanes later stated, "it is unholy for any of the gods to have a master" (McKirahan, 62). Therein lies the most basic foundation of monotheism - one god exists and can do what he wills unrestrained by others. In the Old Testament, this one God created the entire world and all living beings in seven days, including making man out of the earth (Gen 1.1). This spontaneous creation process is clearly not based on sequential logic, but on miraculous powers of the God that go unexplained in the text, although it does follow that as the only god his powers are certainly capable of creating the entire world through his will. There is no attempt of an explanation as to...