From Aristotle we learn (I) that Thales found in water the origin of things; (2) that he conceived the earth to float upon a sea of the elemental fluid; (3) that he supposed all things to be full of gods; (4) that in virtue of the attraction exercised by the magnet he attributed to it a soul.
Aristotle's suggestion that Thales was led to his fundamental dogma by observation of the part which moisture plays in the production and the maintenance of life, and Simplicius's, that the impressibility and the binding power of water were perhaps also in his thoughts, are by admission purely conjectural..
Simplicius's further suggestion that Thales conceived the element to be modified by thinning and thickening is plainly inconsistent with the statement of Theophrastus that the hypothesis in question was peculiar to Anaximenes.
The assertion preserved by Stobaeus that Thales recognized, together with the material element " water," " mind," which penetrates it and sets it in motion, is refuted by the precise testimony of Aristotle, who declares that the early physicists did not distinguish the moving cause from the material cause, and that before Hermotimus and Anaxagoras no one postulated a creative intelligence.
It would seem, then, that Thales sought amid the variety of things a single material cause; that he found such a cause in.