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Ancient Philosophers Who Lived in Turkey

© Copyright photo by Levent Ağaoğlu, 1975 Ephesus Turkey

Some philosophers who lived on the west coast of Anatolia between the 5-6 BC. centuries came to the fore with their explanations about natural events at that time. The common nature of these explanations is; It is based on natural observations and investigations, not containing mythological elements.

Philosophers; tried to explain existence, nature and the universe with certain principles within the framework of their observations. Thales, Anaximandros, Anaximenes, Anaxagoras, Xenophanes and Heraclitus are among the most well-known philosophers.
The works of philosophers are important in terms of being the basis for the next ones and contributing to the development and systematization of philosophy. The fact that most sources point to these philosophers at the point where philosophy begins systematically increases their importance even more.

 

As of that period, many thinkers who contributed to philosophical thought are found in this geography. Diogenes, Aristotle, Epictetus and Lukianos are prominent among them.

Thales

He lived in Milet (Aydın/Didim). According to some sources, he is considered the first philosopher and scientist of history. He put forward a principle based on matter in his explanation of the universe. Apart from philosophy, he also has studies in fields such as mathematics, geometry and astronomy. It is said to predict a solar eclipse. He is the one who created the “Thales Theorem”, which goes by his name in geometry.

Anaximander

Like Thales, he lived in Miletus (Aydın/Didim) and is considered his student. He also worked on subjects such as mathematics, astronomy, cartography and nature. It is also said that he developed an instrument that determined the position of the sun on the sundial and drew maps of the earth.

Anaximenes

He is one of the philosophers who lived in Milet (Aydın/Didim). He is considered to be a student of Anaximander. His thoughts on the universe system and the formation of beings have come to the fore in the history of philosophy. He worked in the field of astronomy. He gave accurate information about solar and lunar eclipses.

Anaxagoras

He lived in Klazomenai (İzmir/Urla). In the history of philosophy, it has come to the fore with the concept of “nous” for the basis of beings. This concept refers to the principle that organizes and moves matter according to a purpose.

Heraclitus

He lived in Ephesos (İzmir/Ephesus/Selçuk). He came to the fore with the idea of ​​being on assets. He was called “Dark Heraclitus” because his works were difficult to understand and he made his expression in the form of aphorisms. In the history of thought, he is the owner of the saying “You cannot enter the same river twice”.

Epictetus

He was born in Hierapolis (Denizli/Pamukkale). Epictetus, one of the representatives of Stoic philosophy, is known for his thoughts in the field of morality. He is a philosopher who was born as a slave in the period and was later freed from slavery. He came to the fore with his ideas on issues such as wisdom, will, freedom and harmony with nature.

Diogenes

He was born in Sinope (Sinop). He is a philosopher who defends the “Cynic” philosophical doctrine. Diogenes, who lived in a basket on the pier, argued that property is not important in life and that people should live in accordance with nature. Alexander the Great, King of Macedonia, who came to visit him, said, “Do you have a request from me?” In response to his statement, “Shading does not require other benevolence.” He is a philosopher who has clearly expressed his thoughts with his words.

Luke (Lukianos)

He was born in Şamisat (Adıyaman/Samsat). He especially wrote works on morality. He is a strong rhetorician (The art of persuading with words.). He criticized the thoughts and mythological beliefs of the period, especially the Cynics.

Xenophanes (Kycephones)

He was born in Kolophon (İzmir/Değirmendere). He created ideas about the cultural life of people and society.

Aristotle

Aristotle, one of the most important philosophers in the history of philosophy, was counted among the philosophers living in Anatolia because he spent a part of his life in Assos (Çanakkale/Ayvacık) and did philosophical studies there. Aristotle, who came to the forefront with his works in many fields of knowledge such as logic, politics and biology, expressed views in most of these fields and whose influence lasted for ages.
He is also known as the first historian of philosophy and science due to the information he gave about the philosophies and scientific studies before him. Aristotle, known as the first biologist in terms of classifying living things, also taught the Macedonian King Alexander the Great.

Kleanthes

He was born in Ayvacık, Çanakkale. After Kleanthes went to Athens, he became a student of Zeno and became the head of his school after he died. The first profession of Kleanthes, who was very poor and worked in the gardens, was boxing.

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