Anaximander of Miletus

Colin Davies describes how, in the sixth century B.C., two philosophers emerged upon the Asian shore of the Aegean Sea to develop the ideas of Thales.

In a recent article we examined Thales’ part in the formulation of the concept of scientific method. His suggestions, however startling and brilliant, were inevitably primitive and rudimentary; but they provoked other thinkers in the same city of Miletus on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor to refine and enlarge upon his ideas. The most important of these were Anaximander and Anaximenes who, together with Thales, assured Miletus an unending fame as the birthplace of western philosophy.

Anaximander was born about forty years after Thales, and the height of his philosophical activity would therefore be about 540 B.C. He was clearly among those fellow townsmen of Thales who were deeply influenced by the first tentative excursus into speculative cosmology that had transformed man’s appreciation of the nature of the universe and his own place within it.

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