Pre-Socratics refers to the early Greek philosophers who generally lived before Socrates and were not influenced by him.
Aristotle was the first who noticed that with Socrates philosophy had taken a new turn. With Socrates' emphasis on humanism and ethical values he distinguished himself from prior philosophers like Thales and Anaximander who in the first place had stressed natural philosophy and cosmology.
Unfortunately all they have left us are fragments of writing in the form of reports and criticisms of later writers who commented on them and the reconstructions of their philosophy by scholars leaves us with incomplete understanding of the views they held. One our best secondary sources is Aristotle who at the time seemed to have had access to their writings. But even his interpretation is biased by his own views on philosophy. It basically remains a controversial field of study. Another important source is Theophrastus, considered to be the first professional historian of philosophy who discussed pre-Socratic writings systematically.
Heraclitus of Ephesus (535-475 BCE)
Others / Eclectics
Diogenes of Apollonia (born c. 460 BCE)
Other early Greek thinkers
- Seven Sages of Greece
- Solon (c. 594 BCE)
- Chilon of Sparta (c. 560 BCE)
- Thales (c. 585 BCE)
- Bias of Priene (c. 570 BCE)
- Cleobulus of Rhodes (c. 600 BCE)
- Pittacus of Mitylene (c. 600 BCE)
- Periander (625-585 BCE)