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Anaximenes
Anaximenes was the son of Eurystratus of Miletus. He was thought to be born around the 58th Olympiad and died in 528 BC, around the time of the 63rd Olympiad. He was thought to have flourished around 545 BC. According to one source, he was thought to be one of the first three philosophers of the Western World. He was the third and last member of the Milesian School of Natural Philosophers. The other two before him were Thales and Anaximander. He, along with the other two philosophers, was a philosopher of nature. He was also the pupil of the older Anaximader. His main philosophy was that air is the cause and creator of everything. He believed in the gods, but thought that everything was created by air, even the Gods themselves. "Anaximenes, son of Eurystratus, of Miletus, declared that air is the principle of existing things; for from it all things come-to-be and into it they are again dissolved."{Kirk ). "It is from air that all the things that exist , have existed, or will exist come into being. This applies to gods and divine things and also the rest of the world,..."(Edwards 118) He thought that air was divine, possessed God-like qualities, and had a life of it's own. Sinse air was responsible for creation, it was also responsible for evolution and change. "...that air is the underlying principle of the universe, changes in physical state being the result of it's condensation and rarefaction."(Edwards 118). His belief was that when air was rarefacted and got hot and made fire, the sun, moon, stars, comets, and planets. And when it condensed and grew cold it made, the winds, clouds, water, earth, and finally stone. "The earth is flat and rides upon the air, the same way the sun, moon, and heavenly bodies ride on it, because they are flat."(Bornes 78) He believed that the world was flat like a disc, and not glove shaped. "The Earth, according to him, is broad, flat, and shallow-tablelike."(Edwards 119) He also had the strong belief that our soul was made of air and that air holds us and everything else together. "He observes that as our souls, being air (according to an ancient tradition), hold us together, so does the cosmic Aid hold the world together by enclosing it."(Edwards 119) His philosophy is pretty straight forward. It shows that air, is common substance which is everywhere, every minute of the day, and that it is responsible for the creation, destruction, and the change or evolution of everything. It would make sense back then that air could be the building block of everything because it was something that was always there. What other purpose for it was there. It created things, kept them alive (if they were living things), and then dissolved them again when they died or were destroyed. Also when air got hot lots of fires often happen, and when it gets cold there is generally lots of wind and rain. Anaximenes believed air to be the primary substance of nature. The air, he said, is ineternal motion and thus it forms the universeexpansion.(NSE A-402) It was a good philosophy for the time because it could be explained in such simple terms, and could be understood easily also. It also seemed good for the times because advances in the study of atoms or molecules, or life in that matter was small or non-existing for that matter. If Anaximenes and his philosophies could be connected with the other philosophers we've studied, he'd most closely represent Emerson. The thing they had in common was their philosophies on nature. They differ in the manner of nature though. Anaximenes was concerned with air and how it created everything, while Emerson dealt with nature as a whole, and how it affected humans and everything else. If we compared him with Bacon the closest thing I think we could compare it with would be his philosophy about the idols of the tribe, only because it dealt with the individuality of humans, and how everyone is different. It could be indirectly related because if air creates everything, and everyone is different, then they're related because air creates everyone differently, and with their own ideas, wants, and desires. None of the other philosophers or their philosophies we've study relate to Anaximenes. ------------ Bibliography "Anaximenes." Encyclopedia Americana. 2nd ed., 1995. "Anaximenes." Britannica. 2nd ed., 1993. "Anaximenes." New Standard Encyclopedia. 1978. Bornes, Johnathan. Early Greek Philosophy. New York: Penguin Books, 1987. Edwards, Paul. Encyclopidia of Philosophy. New York: Macmillan Pub. Co., 1967. Russell, Betrand. A History of Western Philosophy. New York: Siman and Schusler. ------------ Click Here for Links pertaining to Anaximenes. ------------ Return to the research paper list.

 



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