The Milesian Approach
What is important with each of the Milesians is not this or that specific theory of the universe. Rather, what is significant is their approach. Though the Egyptians and Babylonians held that water is the primordial element, they thought that divine action explained the creation and nature of the world. The Milesians, on the other hand, offered naturalistic explanations. For example, Thales explained earthquakes not by appealing to the actions of some sea God, but by suggesting that they are the result of tremors in the water upon which the earth floats.
The first three philosophers began the search for answers about the nature of the universe. Their quest for knowledge of the physical world remains the centerpiece of the scientific quest right into the twenty-first century.