Anaximenes of Miletus

Anaximenes ( _el. Άναξιμένης) of Miletus (c. 585 BC-c. 525 BC) was a Greek Pre-Socratic philosopher from the latter half of the 6th century, probably a younger contemporary of Anaximander, whose pupil or friend he is said to have been. [Richard D. McKirahan, Jr., "Philosophy Before Socrates" (Hackett, 1994) 48.]

Theories

Anaximenes held that air (Greek "aer", translates closer to mist) is the most basic element. [Richard D. McKirahan, Jr., 48.] It is the source of all that exists (the "arche"). Everything is air at different degrees of density, and under the influence of heat, which expands, and of cold, which contracts its volume, it gives rise to the several phases of existence.Hippolytus, "Refutation of All Heresies", i.8.1-8] The process is gradual, and takes place in two directions, as heat or cold predominates; this is called rarefaction and condensation. Through rarefaction, the ultimate result is fire, whereas condensation tends toward stone. In this way was formed a broad disk of earth, floating on the circumambient air. Similar condensations produced the sun and stars; the flaming state of these bodies is due to the velocity of their motions.

He is reported to have said "As our souls, being air, hold us together, so breath and air embrace the entire universe." [Pseudo-Plutarch, "Opinions of the Philosophers", 876AB; Phillip Wheelwright, "The Presocratics" (MacMillan, 1966) 60.]

In Context

What makes the three Milesian philosophers, Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes, stand out is that the theoretical human has become a reality. The way of thinking has in its basic form moved away from the mythological thinking (or "mythos") and into the domain of the theoretical thinking (or "logos"). From now on it is about explaining the universal and the general. Everything in the universe can now be approached by the thoughts of humans. This notably influenced the Pythagoreans.

ee also

* The Anaximenes crater on the Moon was named in his honour.
* Philosophy
* Material monism

References

*

Further reading

* cite encyclopedia
last = Taran
first = L.
title = Anaximenes of Miletus
encyclopedia = Dictionary of Scientific Biography
volume = 1
pages = 151-152
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
location = New York
year = 1970
isbn = 0684101149

*cite book
last = Freeman
first = Kathleen
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers
publisher = Harvard University Press
year = 1978
location =
pages =
url =
doi =
id = ISBN 0674035003


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Anaximenes Of Miletus — ▪ Greek philosopher flourished c. 545 BC       Greek philosopher of nature and one of three thinkers of Miletus traditionally considered to be the first philosophers in the Western world. Of the other two, Thales held that water is the basic… …   Universalium

  • Anaximenes of Miletus — (fl. 546 bc) Greek philosopher Anaximenes was the last of the great Milesian philosophers. He was probably a pupil of Anaximander of Miletus and, like Thales before him, he identified one of the tangible elements as the primal substance. For… …   Scientists

  • Anaximenes of Miletus — (fl. c. 546 BC) The junior member of the Miletian school, and probably a pupil of Anaximander . His astronomy was relatively unsophisticated, but he is remembered for the doctrine that one primary substance, aer, produces all others either by… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Thales of Miletus — flourished 6th century BC Greek philosopher. None of his writings survive, and no contemporary sources exist. The claim that Thales was the founder of Western philosophy rests primarily on Aristotle, who wrote that he was the first to suggest a… …   Universalium

  • Anaximenes — of Miletus …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Anaxímenes — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Anaxímenes de Mileto (Αναξιμένης ο Μιλήσιος) Anaxímenes de Mileto Filosofía occidental Filosofía presocrática …   Wikipedia Español

  • Anaximenes — may refer to: *Anaximenes of Lampsacus (4th century BC), Greek rhetorician and historian *Anaximenes of Miletus (6th century BC), Greek pre Socratic philosopher *Anaximenes (crater), a lunar crater …   Wikipedia

  • Miletus — • A titular see of Asia Minor, suffragan of Aphrodisias, in Caria Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Miletus     Miletus     † …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Miletus — This article is about the ancient city of Anatolia. For other uses, see Miletus (disambiguation). Miletus Μίλητος   Ancient Polis   Turkish transcription(s)  – Modern name Milet …   Wikipedia

  • Miletus — /muy lee teuhs/, n. 1. Class. Myth. a son of Apollo and Aria, and the founder of the city of Miletus. 2. an ancient city in Asia Minor, on the Aegean. * * * Ancient Greek city of western Anatolia. Before 500 BC it was the greatest Greek city in… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”