Anaximander – Founder of Cosmology and Hylozoism


Anaximander of Miletos
(610/609 BC Miletus, Asia Minor (Now Balat, Turkey) -546/540 BC, Miletus, Asia Minor)
Nationality: Greece
Category: Votaries оf Spirit
Occupation: Milesian school, Philosophers
Unique distinction: The founder of Cosmology, one of the founders of Hylozoism, one of the pioneers of exact science, first of the Greeks to publish a written text, Ionian tradition, Milesian school, Naturalism and Monist school
Gender: Male

Anaximander  Quotes:
1. There cannot be a single, simple body which is infinite, either, as some hold, one distinct from the elements, which they then derive from it, nor without this qualification. 2. The source from which existing things derive their existence is also that to which they return at their destruction.
3. …what is infinite is something other than the elements, and from it the elements arise.
4. Immortal and indestructible, surrounds all and directs all.
5. Into that from which things take their rise they pass away once more, as is ordained, for they make reparation and satisfaction to one another for their injustice according to the ordering of time.
6. There are many worlds and many systems of Universes existing all at the same time, all of them perishable.

Achievements and contributions:

Social and professional position: Anaximander was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher who lived in Miletus, a city of Ionia.
The main contribution to (Best known for): He was one of the greatest minds that ever lived. He is regarded as the first metaphysician. He also introduced scientific and mathematical principles into the study of astronomy and geography.

Contributions to philosophy and science:  

Philosophy. Не was the first who propose a transcendental and dialectical approach to Nature and a new level of conceptual abstraction in philosophy. He asserted that physical forces, rather than supernatural means, create order in the universe.
It is neither water nor any other elements that are not first principles. At the core of all lies “Apeiron”– (“unbounded” or “indefinite”) – an infinite, non-perceivable substance from which arise all the heavens and the multiple worlds within them.
«Anaximander separated himself from Thales by regarding the abstract as of higher significance than the concrete: and in this tendency, we see the origin of the Pythagorean or mathematical school», wrote George Lewes (1867).
“Apeiron” had always existed, filled all space embraced everything and, by its constant motion, separated opposites from itself, e.g., hot and cold, moist and dry. The opposing state is under a general framework, being concentrated in a certain uniform, from which they are singled out.
The first version of the law of conservation of energy.  “Apeiron” directed the movement of things, by which there grew up a host of shapes and differences. These multiple forms return to the indefinite, into the vague immensity from which they had issued. It is the infinitive process of genesis and dissolution, which works inexorably through the ages.
Cosmology. He asserted that Earth remained unsupported at the centre of the universe because it had no reason to move in any direction.
He discovered the obliquity of the ecliptic, which is said to have introduced into Greece the gnomon (for determining the solstices), celestial globe and sundial.
Multiple worlds. He first proposed the theory of Multiple worlds and he attributes different gods to the countless worlds.
He said that the earth is cylindrical in form and that its depth is the third part of its breadth.
Anaximander was the first of the Greeks who drew a map of the Earth and he constructed a globe as well.
Cosmogony. He suggested that universes come into existence from an ageless and eternal reservoir, into which they are eventually reabsorbed.
Anaximander never defined the Apeiron precisely, and it has generally (for instance by Aristotle and St. Augustine) been understood as a sort of primal chaos. This concept is similar in some respects to the “abyss” found in Eastern cosmogonies.
Theory of evolution. He also anticipated the theory of evolution. He said that man himself and the animals had come into being by transmutations and adaptation to the environment.
His view was that man achieved his physical state by adaptation to the environment, that life had evolved from moisture, and that man developed from fish.
First written document. According to Themistius, he was the “first of the known Greeks to publish a written document on nature.”
First coined the term “law” by applying the concept of social practice to nature and science.
First dialectical concept. He was the first who laid the foundation of dialectical concepts of the following philosophy – the law of “unity and struggle of opposites”. Thus Apeiron by a vorticose process is divided into physical opposites of hot and cold, wet and dry.
He stated that things find, borrow their existence and composition on time, “in debt”, and then, by law, at a certain time, return all to the first principles which brought them into existence.
His Notable ideas:
The Apeiron is the first element,  principle and the arche.
Multiple worlds.
The “Boundless” as Principle.
An evolutionary view of living things.
Earth floats unsupported.
Mechanical model of the sky.
The water of rain from evaporation.
Major works:  On Nature (547 BC)– the first written document in Western philosophy. Rotation of the Earth, On Fixed stars, The [Celestial] Sphere, Geometric Surveying, Map of Greece, and Map of the World.

Career and personal life:

Origin: Anaximander, son of Praxiades, was born in Miletus during the third year of the 42nd Olympiad (610 BC).
Education: He was a pupil and companion of Thales. He was influenced by Thales’ theory that everything is derived from water.
He is also cited as a student of Pythagoras
Influenced by: Thales, Pythagoras
Career highlights:  He was a pupil and companion of Thales and the second master of the Milesian school where he counted Anaximenes and Pythagoras among his pupils.
Anaximander is said to have taken part in the founding of Apollonia on the Black Sea and to have travelled to Sparta.
He was also involved in the politics of Miletus and was sent as the legislator of the Milesian colony to Apollonia on the Black Sea coast (now Sozopol, Bulgaria).
Personal life:  Little of his life and work is known today. He seems to have been a much-travelled man. He displayed solemn manners and wore pompous garments.
Zest: Thales was possibly his uncle.