What Are The Roots Of Western Philosophy?


Beginning of Philosophy

Philosophy has no single beginning, but it would be naive to assume philosophical thinking erupted spontaneously in various spots around the world.

Exchange of Ideas

  • Caravans across Asia.
  • Extensive trade around the Mediterranean, up and down the Nile, and throughout the Middle East.
  • Early Hebrews were nomads.
  • India was a crossroads for many different cultures.
  • Egypt was a source of ideas that  later became the basis for Greek philosophy.

Sophisticated Cultures

In addition, there were great civilizations south of the Mediterranean, not only in Egypt, but in Nubia (now Ethiopia) and further up the Nile. These cultures had sophisticated systems systems of astronomy, advanced mathematics, complex and thoughtful views of the nature of the soul, and an obsession with the question of life after death.

Greek Philosophy

Many of the leading ideas of Greek philosophy (which arose in 6th century BC), including interests in geometry and the concept of the soul were imported imported from elsewhere. Indeed, it might be most accurate to see the great “miracle” of ancient Greece not as a remarkable beginning, but as a culmination – the climax of a long story the beginnings of which we no longer remember.

A Passion for Wisdom
A Passion for Wisdom: A Very Brief History of Philosophy

Robert Solomon and Kathleen Higgins

One thought on “What Are The Roots Of Western Philosophy?

  1. It’s the modes and the frequency of travel that interests me. It makes sense that physical movement over long and difficult terrain would ultimately ignite the study of philosophy.


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