Anaximenes of Miletus
BornMiletus (near Söke, Turkey), circa586 BCE
DiedMiletus (near Söke, Turkey), circa526 BCE
Anaximenes was a fellow citizen, friend, and student of Anaximander, and much of his thought is a revision of Anaximander’s. Some aspects of his physical theory, notably his use of empirical models and his attempt to identify a cause of elemental change, constitute scientific advances, but his astronomical views are less original and more traditional than those of his predecessor.
Nothing is known of the details of Anaximenes’ life. Even the dates given above are highly conjectural. They derive from Apollodorus, who liked to correlate historical figures’ flourishing, invariably at the age of 40, with some notable historical event. In Anaximenes’ case, the event was Cyrus’ victory over Croesus in 546 BCE.
Anaximander had hypothesized that the infinite space beyond the visible cosmos is filled with undifferentiated, indeterminate stuff (apeiron), from which the determinate kinds of matter we...
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