Anaximenes of Miletus

Anaximenes ( ancient Greek Ἀναξιμένης Anaximenes; * ca 585 BC in Miletus, † 528-524 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher and astronomer. He is counted among the pre-Socratics.

Anaximenes was linked to the doctrine of Anaximander and Thales formed with him and the group of the first representatives of the Ionian philosophy, the oldest direction of Greek philosophy.

On the Nature

In his work On the Nature he sees the air ( aer ) as primary matter ( Arché ) and unlimited ( Apeiros ) to. This turns her everything: by compression of water and rock, by dilution fire. Even the Divine comes either from the air or the air. He is the first to introduce the concept of transformation of a substance in Plato, Aristotle, and even in modern physics plays an important role later. He raises the concept of primal force that can edit the original material only. The animating principle lies in the substance itself, why is the talk of the revival teaching material ( hylozoism ).

The idea of the cosmos as a harmonious well-ordered universe, which although always changing, but it is in its substance of eternal existence, goes back to Anaximenes. In his cosmogony the stars emerge from the earth and are all flat and wide and float on the air. The sky is a half sphere or crystal bowl that on tracks that are located on the hemisphere, orbiting the stars lying above the earth. The darkness at night is by Anaximenes due to the fact that the edge of the flat earth to the north is bordered by high mountains, behind which the sun remains hidden during the night hours.

1935 was named after him by the IAU, the moon crater Anaximenes. The asteroid ( 6051 ) Anaximenes also bears his name.

Source collections

  • Hermann Diels, Walther Kranz (ed.): The fragments of the Presocratics. 4th Edition, Vol 1, Berlin 1922
  • Jaap Mansfeld (eds. ): The pre-Socratic I. Reclam, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-15-007965-9 (Greek and German )
  • Laura Gemelli Marciano (eds. ): The pre-Socratic philosophers. Volume 1, Artemis & Winkler, Dusseldorf 2007, ISBN 978-3-7608-1735-4, pp. 70-99 ( Greek source texts with German translation, notes and introduction to the life and work )