Thales, who lived around 625 BC, is called the ‘first philosopher and the first scientist’. He is considered to be the first thinker to propose a single universal principle of the material universe, “a unique substratum that, itself unchanging, underlay all change.” When we think about this problem of comprehending change we recognize that there must exist something that is essential to change that remains unchanged.

When we look around us we are struck with the fact that things constantly change. Thales is said to have asked the important question does everything change or is there something that remains unchanged? If there is not something that remains unchanged then how can we recognize anything as being what it was before change? We recognize continuity as well as change. Even when we recognize that something changed appearance we are confident that something remains of the original source. Is there one primordial thing that never changes?

The questions and answers developed by Thales are extremely important because for the first time we observe a human not resorting to animistic answers for that which is observed. He did not settle for the answer “I do not understand so it must be just the nature of the gods made it happen”. He also followed a new human inclination to believe that the mind is capable of comprehending what happens in the world. Philosophy was born.