Philosophy (Gr., "love [of] wisdom") is generally believed to be a Greek invention, as earlier civilizations did not wholly separate philosophy from religion or other aspects of their culture; it was in Greece that philosophy emerged as a distinct intellectual pursuit. However, the Greeks themselves credit the Egyptians above all others with this art.

Philosophy is most often studied in a historical or chronological way, and perhaps the earliest philosopher was Thales of Miletus, Ionia (Asia Minor, i.e. Turkey). One of the seven sages of Greece, he had a profound impact upon subsequent thinkers such as Anaximander and Pythagoras.

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