explains the coming into being of fire, wind, clouds, water, and earth, as due to a condensation and expansion of the universal principle, air. The boldness of their speculations we may explain as due to a courage born of ignorance, but the explanations they offer are scientific in spirit, at least.
Moreover, these men do not stand alone. They are the advance guard of an army whose latest representatives are the men who are enlightening the world at the present day. The evolution of science--taking that word in the broad sense to mean organized and systematized knowledge--must be traced in the works of the Greek philosophers from Thales down. Here we have the source and the rivulet to which we can trace back the mighty stream which is flowing past our own doors. Apparently insignificant in its beginnings, it must still for a while seem insignificant to the man who follows with an unreflective eye the course of the current.
It would take me too far afield to give an account of the Greek schools whic
This is really a great introduction to philosophy, even considering its age. Why is it worth reading? Not because, like many "introductions", it inundates the reader with a chronological sweep of philosophical theory, but because it initiates the reader into the realm of philosophical thought from the ground up by asking the questions which philosophy tries to answer, while introducing key philosophical concepts and jargon (monism vs. dualism, rationalism vs. empiricism, etc.). It is, of course, not in any way comprehensive, but if you are looking for a book to draw you into the realm of philosophy as a whole before moving on to reading key texts (such as the Critique of Pure Reason or Essay Concerning Human Understanding) this is a great introduction to put ideas in context. Highly recommended.