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Anaximander Case

Essay by   •  March 27, 2013  •  Case Study  •  618 Words (3 Pages)  •  763 Views

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Anaximander was a Milesian who formed the foundation of science and Western philosophy (Downey 1). He was born around 610 BCE and lived in the city of Miletus most of his life. Anaximander's predecessor was Thales and Anaximenes was his successor and the last member of the Milesian school (Downey, 1). During Plato's time Anaximander's work was almost forgotten because only a little bit of information about him remained (Anaximander 1). Anaximander had many very important contributions to the field of philosophy, such as first map of the world and figuring out how the world was created (Downey 1).

The Greeks used mythology to explain how the world was formed and how it operated, before Milesian philosophy was created (Downey 1). Anaximander like other Milesians thought that the world was created and operated by natural forces (Downey 1). Experts believed that Anaximander wrote a book on nature, geography and many other topics, but hardly any of his writings have survived over time. A question that Anaximander tried to answer in his book was "what is the real nature of matter" (Downey 1). What he came up with to answer this question was what he called "apeiron," meaning an endless, indeterminate matter (S. Morris 20). He said this matter never got old and yielded materials from which everything on the earth is made up of (Downey 3). He also explained the beginning of life and biology in his book. Anaximander thought that life was created in water and then moved to the earth, which was very close to the theory in modern science (Downey 2). He had a theory about the evolution of human that was also close to modern science (Downey 2). He believed that humans evolved from animals because if humans started out as infants they would have died without someone to take care of them (Downey 2).

Anaximander studied the sky, explaining constellations and formed a model of the universe and also created the first map of the world. There are probably two reasons why Anaximander created the map of the world (Anaximander 1). The first reason is that he wanted to improve the trade routes from colonies around the Mediterranean Sea and Miletus. Secondly, he probably wanted to create a tool like this for other philosophers and scientist to use after his death. He is sometimes called the "Father of Cosmology" because of his non supernatural explanations of universe and the earth (Anaximander 1). He thought the earth was a sphere suspended in the middle of the universe and humans lived on top of it. In addition, he was the first astronomer to think the Sun was a large mass and to estimate how far it was from the Earth. Anaximander was the first to create a system where planets turned at various distances (Anaximander 1). Anaximander also believed the earth was surrounded by a large circle of fire. The way Anaximander explained thunder and lightning was the result of wind leaving a cloud.

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