Through criticism and analysis of ancient traditions, Kahn reconstructs the pattern of Anaximander’s thought using historical methods akin to the reconstructive. Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology. Front Cover. Charles H. Kahn . Columbia University Press, – Cosmology – pages. Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology has 5 ratings and 0 reviews. Through criticism and analysis of ancient traditions, Kahn reconstructs the p.

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Nevertheless, he gives some information of great interest which is preserved nowhere else, and whose general accuracy is not open to suspicion see above all Renan Virginio marked it as to-read Feb 28, The idea is old, the phrasing of P. However, since the text of Hippolytus has clearly reached us in incomplete form, we must accept here the reading of A.

Both constructions can be, and anzximander been, defended.

For the words “all the ovpavoC occur also in 4, where Theophrastus seems to be following Anaximander’s text rather closely. Since the version of these late sources differs so patently from that of Theo- phrastus, it is a moot point whether krigins can be correct in ascribing a plurality or infinity of worlds to Anaximander.

There is no trace of such a doctrine in the text of Aristotle nor in the excerpts from Theophrastus. But in so far as the earliest coherent view of nature can be deemed the work of any single man, we must truly look upon Anaximander “as the author of the natural philosophy of Greece, and consequently of the Occident.

Aristotle tells us that Anax- imenes, Anaxagoras, and Democritus — the leading Ionian physicists for a century and a half — all explained the earth’s stability by its flat- ness and its great size, which caused it “not to cut the air below but to sit upon it like a lid. An explanation of the position of the earth in terms of symmetry may well have been preserved by some Pythagorean astronomers, and was at all events given by Parmenides in his cos- mology, if we may rely upon a confused statement of Aetius.


Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology

Otherwise, the description of the moon in A. Topics 10 to 23 of the foregoing doxography for Anaximander will thus be reviewed here in turn. Anaximander Milesius Bonn,pp. Thales’ prediction of lrigins solar eclipse, which symbolized to the ancients the scientific attainments of this period, is less impressive for us who know that such a tour deforce could only have been achieved on the basis of century-long Babylonian observations.

But this means building a great deal on what is after all only a conjecture.

Charles H. Kahn, Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology – PhilPapers

It is true that one fragment of Anaxagoras, hastily read, does suggest a plurality of worlds. In addition to these arguments ex silentio, we have the express statement of H.

This passage poses a genuine problem, which Sim- plicius himself does not offer to solve for us. Anaximandder reference to ecUpses shows that he has the sun and moon primarily in mind. Jacoby has shown that the geographical ideas which Herodotus ascribes to the “lonians” are essentially those of Hecataeus of Miletus, and he has rightly pointed out that the general lines of Hecataeus’ view must already have been those of Anaximander.

Nadia marked it as to-read Jul 12, The assertion tge Arist.

Compare Leucip- pus A 27 and Democr. It would in fact be strange if either Anaximander or Theo- phrastus had used more than one unit in giving the sizes of these circles, but the earth is the only unit which can have served for the dimension of the moon. Stars and Sun 3.

Burnet renders the phrase “they survived for a short time,” and compares the doctrine of Archelaus a 4. It must be remembered that Theophrastus’ motive in reporting the views of earlier Greek philosophers is by no means purely oirgins.

His doc- trine is therefore also mentioned, in vaguer form, among those which derive all things from a single underlying body. We can scarcely doubt that the Milesians were in fact accustomed to discuss such matters with the aid of cosmolohy or of simple models.


The textual basis for attributing this doctrine of the soul to Anaximan- der is originss very weak. Strangely, the statement of Theon is accepted by Burnet p. Jose marked it as to-read Jul 19, B i, BBB ; Farm. The epic, it is true, also conceives the surface of the earth as flat, and even as circular in shape, bounded by the circumjacent Ocean.

The statement of the De Hebdomadibus Vors.

Anaximander and the Origins of Greek Cosmology by Charles H. Kahn

On the other hand, Anaximander’s significance as an innovator is clearly far greater than that of his younger compatriot Anaximenes, whose doctrines are known to us in the same way, but less completely. If Anaximan- der taught that the lower surface of the earth was inhabited, we would have a simple explanation of those strange words of the De Hebdomadibus which seem to constitute the earliest extant mention of the antipodes: Perhaps Alexander has blended two different views into his account of Anaximander and Diogenes as Kirk and Raven suggest.

The same context contains other surprising remarks for example, an ascription to Anaximenes of the doctrine that the moon draws its fight from the sunso that the Eudemian origin of the whole is questionable, as F. It is here that the serious documentation of Greek philos- ophy may be said to begin, for it is this text which truly enables us to judge the quality and complexity of speculative thought at the threshold of the fifth century.

The relationship between this arrangement and that of Diels in the Fragmente der Vorsokratiker is indicated below in the table of correspond- ences, following the catalogue of topics and the list of abbreviations.