For Western Philosophy, many historians flag the beginning of the timeline at around 585 B.C.E. with Thales, the Greek philosopher who is said to have believed that "All is Water..." Thales is considered to be one of the "Presocratic" philosophers, whose writings come down to us in mere fragments. Thus to say that Thales, for example, believed that "All is Water," is perhaps a terrible oversimplification due to the fact that we have very little of his writings to go on. Nevertheless, the fragments of the Presocratics are extremely thought provoking texts that play with the mind in ways that often lead to great interpretive writing.
In the Jainist tradition, Parshva, a Jainist teacher, is said to have lived between 1000 and 600 B.C.E. And, for Buddhism, the Buddha is thought to have lived somewhere between 563 and 483 B.C.E. In China, Confucius is thought to have lived from 551 B.C.E. to 479 B.C.E., and for Taoism, Lao Zi (also spelled Lao Tzu) is thought to have lived sometime during the 4th Century B.C.E.
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