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Greek philosophy is a body of philosophical concepts developed by the Greeks particularly during the flowering of Greek civilization between 600 and 200 BC Greek philosophy formed the basis of all later philosophical thought in the Western world The perceptive hypotheses of the ancient Greeks foreshadowed many theories of modern science and many of the moral ideas of pagan Greek philosophers have been incorporated into Christian moral doctrine The political ideas set forth by Greek thinkers influenced a wide variety of political leaders from the framers of the US Constitution to the founders of various 20th-century totalitarian states Greek philosophy may be divided between those philosophers who sought an explanation of the world in physical terms and those who stressed the importance of nonmaterial forms or ideas The first important school of Greek philosophy the Ionian or Milesian was very materialistic Founded by Thales of Miletus in the 6th century BC it began with Thales belief that water is the basic substance out of which all matter is created Anaximander who held the theory that the raw material of all matter is an eternal substance that changes into the commonly experienced forms of matter offered a more elaborate view These forms in turn change and merge into one another according to the rule of justice - balance and proportion Heraclitus taught that fire is the primordial source of matter but he believed that the entire world is in a constant state of change or flux and that a union of opposite principles produces most objects and substances He regarded the soul for example as a mixture of fire and water Anaxagoras who believed that matter consisted of infinitesimally small particles or atoms developed the concept of nous mind an infinite and unchanging substance that enters into and controls every living object He epitomized the philosophy of the Ionian school by suggesting a nonphysical governing principle and a materialistic basis of existence The division between idealism
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