Anaximander -|- Educational Philosophy Theory


No Comment - Post a comment

Thales was followed by others philosophers who advanced different theories as to the basic structure of matter. Anaximander is said to have come from Samos, where the famous Pythagoras also lived. He is said to have written about nature, the fixed stars, the earth’s sphere and other matters. He produced something like a map, showing the boundary of land and sea, and was responsible for a number of mathematical inventions, including a sun dial and an astronomical chart.

Like Thales, Anaximander considered what the nature of reality was. Like him, he approached this question from a strictly materialist point of view, without recourse to the gods or any supernatural elements. But, unlike his contemporary, Thales, he did not seek to find the answer in a particular form of matter, such as water. According to Diogenes, "He adduced the Infinite (the indetermined) as the principle and element; he neither determined it as water, air or any such thing." (Quoted in Hegel’s History of Philosophy, Vol. one, p. 185.) And again, "It is the principle of all becoming and passing away; at long intervals infinite worlds or gods rise out of it, and again they pass away into the same." (Ibid.)

This put the study of the universe on a scientific footing for the first time, and enabled the early Greek philosophers to make outstanding discoveries, far in advance of their time. They first discovered that the world is round and does not rest on anything, that the earth was not the centre of the universe, but revolves with the other planets round the centre. According to another contemporary, Hippolitos, Anaximander said that the earth swings free, held in place by nothing, because it is equidistant from everything, and is round in shape and hollow, like a pillar, so that we are on one side of the earth, and others on the other. They also discovered the true theory of lunar and solar eclipses.

With all their gaps and deficiencies, these ideas represent a startlingly bold and original conception of nature and the universe, certainly far nearer to the truth than the blinkered mysticism of the Middle Ages, when human thought was again shackled by religious dogma. Moreover, these important advances were not merely the result of guesswork, but the result of careful thought, investigation and experiment. 2,000 years before Darwin, Anaximander anticipated the theory of evolution, with his amazing discoveries in marine biology. The historian A. R. Burn believes that this was no accident, but the result of scientific investigation: "It looks as though he had made observations on embryos and also on fossils, as one of his successors certainly did; but we are not positively told." (A. R. Burn, The Pelican History of Greece, p. 130.)

Anaximander effected a great revolution in human thought. Instead of limiting himself to this or that concrete form of matter, he arrived at the concept of matter in general, matter as a philosophical concept. This universal substance is eternal and infinite, constantly changing and evolving. All the myriad forms of being we perceive through our senses are different expressions of the same basic substance. This idea was so novel that for many it proved incomprehensible. Plutarch complained that Anaximander did not specify which one of the elements his Infinite was—water, earth, air or fire. But precisely in this lay the epoch-making character of the theory.

This Post has No Comment Add your own!

Yorum Gönder