At the Wesley University Ondo where we teach law, literature, philosophy and mass communication, there arose lately the prepositional debate as to whether the proper title of a course should be the History of Philosophy of Science or the History and Philosophy of Science. While some had advanced that the former was the stated canon in the curriculum, we had insisted that the proper title was the latter. Our position was buoyed by the assertion that the tendency to narrow epistemology in the humanities to the zero-sum of Eurocentrism had done much damage to Knowledge.
The proposition of Xenophanes that the gods had not revealed everything to man from the beginning, but by searching man finds better, was the underlying factor for his idea of “the spirit of persistent enquiry” which was central to his theology.
But it predates him.
The preoccupation of the Milesian and subsequent pre-Socratic philosophers to determine what was the ultimate reality had hovered around water in the speculation of Thales, putrefaction, decay and the cyclic apeiron or the boundless in the idea of Anaximander, air, mist, water, ice and stone in the processes of condensation and rarefaction of Anaximenes, the mystical and sacred numbers of Pythagoras of Samos, down to the speculations of the atomists, from Leucippus through Democritus to John Dalton.