By G.B. Kerferd (ed.)
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Extra info for The Sophists and Their Legacy
Rather, the connection is by "indirect verification," through the study of particular instances and cases which are observable. According to Northrop, the distinctive features of the scientific and legal mentality of the West are the result of the Greek discovery of generalizations. In the three Milesians who initiated Western science and philosophy there is an attemptstill rather primitiveto use concepts by postulation to explain things. " Page 30 IV. Pythagoras and His School The Music of the Spheres The Pythagoreans .
How much they underrated him can be seen from the fact that Thales could, with some right, have claimed the ideas of matter, of physics, of science, and of philosophy as his inventions. However strange this may seem, all of these ideas had to be discovered. And to be discovered, mythology had to be abandoned. To stateas Thales didthat "All things are water" may seem an unpromising beginning for science and philosophy as we know them today; but, against the background of mythology from which it rose, it was revolutionary.
Like our modern planetarium projections, this made it possible to speed up the observed patterns of planetary motion and find in them a regularity and definite ratios of speed. How indebted we are to the use of models can be briefly indicated by pointing out that the Bohr atomic model played a crucial role in physics, and that even a test-tube experiment in chemistry or a rat experiment in psychology is an application of model technique. 8 Anaximander supposed the earth to be a disk in the center of his world, surrounded by rings of hollow pipe (a modern stovepipe gives the right idea) of different sizes and different speeds of rotation.