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Anaximander from Miletus is both a natural philosopher and a nature researcher. He has made breakthroughs in both areas. He is the first person to lead science and study the universe with a different eye. Furthermore, he is considered by many scientists and historians as the “Founder of astronomy” and is the philosopher who first developed a systematic philosophical view of cosmology and the world. He was the first to introduce the term “Arkhe” to philosophy.

APA 7: Çarıkçıoğlu, A. E. (2023, April 23). Anaksimandros. PerEXP Teamworks. https://perexpteamworks.com/2023/04/23/anaksimandros/

His life and contributions

Anaximander (610 BC, Miletus, Aydın, Didim- 546 BC) was the first philosopher to develop a cosmological or systematic philosophical perspective on the world. Only a short part of his works has survived to the present day. Therefore, the reconsideration and structuring of his philosophy and the cosmological idea are based on the summaries of Greek writers who lived after him, such as Aëtius, the compiler of philosophical views of the first-second century AD, the theologian and bishop Hippolytus, who lived in the third century, the sixth-century Neoplatonist (Neo-Platonist) philosopher Simplicius. Anaximander is said to have been a student or associate of the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus and wrote about celestial science, geography, and the nature of matter. [1]

Anaximander installed a gnomon (Sundial) in Sparta. He used it to show equinoxes, sunrises, and possibly the time of day. He had drawn a map of the known world, the author of which was his friend, the author of Hecataeus, who was then comparatively well able to travel, corrected by the Milesian. Interestingly, it is also among the claims that Anaximander developed an Earth sphere. [2]

His accurate assumptions

In his thinking about the world, he considered the region he lived in as a plane consisting of the upper face of a cylinder whose thickness was one-third of its diameter. According to him, the Earth stands in the air, is not supported by anything, and stays in place because it is equidistant from everything else and has no tendency to fly in any direction. He believed the Sun and the Moon were hollow rings filled with fire. There are holes or hollows in his circles. And they’re also ring-shaped where the fire can shine. The phases of the Moon, Solar, and Lunar eclipses, are caused by the closure of these holes. [3]

Anaximander had an evolutionary perspective on living things. According to his interpretation, the first living things appeared through evaporation from the “Moist element”. Humans descended from other kinds of animals, such as fish, because man needs a long diet and would not have survived if he had always been as he is now. At that time, Anaximander also addressed the causes of meteorological phenomena such as wind, rain, and lightning.

In his idea in the field of cosmology, he believed that everything originated from an “Apeiron” (“Infinite”, “Unlimited” or “Indefinite” thing) rather than from a specific element such as water (As Thales suggested). However, the universe is not infinite and will return to the “Apeiron” where a new universe will be born. Therefore, everything that exists (As he figuratively expresses it) “Must pay punishment and revenge on each other as the price for their injustices, according to the trend of the time”. [4]

His contributions to cosmology

Our lead role in this section; is apparently, he has written review articles on geography, astronomy, and cosmology that have been accepted for several centuries and mapped the known world. He was also the first thinker to develop the cosmological method. This rational (Rationalist) philosopher paid attention to symmetry and helped the mapping process of the sky using geometry and mathematical proportions. Thus, his ideas diverged from the more mystical concepts put forward in the past and became a harbinger of the achievements of subsequent astronomers. While some earlier ideas suggested that the Earth was suspended or supported from elsewhere in space, Anaximander claimed that the Earth was not at the center of the universe and did not receive support from here since it had no reason to move in any direction. [5]

Although Thales had already given up divine explanations of the world around him, he had not written a book about his philosophy. Moreover, Anaximande went much further in trying to find a unified account of all nature. Although Anaximander’s primitive idea of astronomy was replaced in a short time, Anaximander’s primitive idea of astronomy was replaced in a short time, it is a clear fact that his effort to make a rational explanation of the World had a lasting effect. [6]


  1. DICTIONARY ENTRY Evans, J. (2023, February 1). AnaximanderEncyclopedia Britannica. [Britannica]
  2. WEBSITE Couprie, D. L. (n.d.). Anaximander. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]
  3. WEBSITE Yardımlı, A. (n.d.). Anaximander. İdea Yayınevi. [İdea Yayınevi]
  4. JOURNAL Classen, C. J. (1977). Anaximander and Anaximenes: The Earliest Greek Theories of Change? Phronesis22(2–3), 89–102. [Brill]
  5. BOOK Von Aster, E. (1998). Geschichte der Philosophie. Kröner, Alfred, Verlag GmbH & Co. KG.
  6. WEBSITE Bilim, R., Kayalı, Ö. (2021, February 06). Bilimsel Düşüncenin Doğuşu: Anaksimandros. Evrim Ağacı. [Evrim Ağacı]

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