Anaximander and the origins of Greek cosmology by Charles H. Kahn

By Charles H. Kahn

Through feedback and research of historic traditions, Kahn reconstructs the trend of Anaximander’s idea utilizing old equipment equivalent to the reconstructive suggestions of comparative linguists.

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12 A i). = Burnet popularis (p. et 50, n. 4) sodalis and argued that the agreement between Cicero's tt-oAiVt]? 4) must represent the original expression of Theophrastus. This is unlikely since in the De Caelo passage Simplicius not following Theophrastus' text as closely as he is here. is iraipos would be a natural word, both aKpoar-qs and employed by is iiaBrjT-qs Aristotle. If iratpos stood here in generally the freest in rephrasing his information (see 2). As for it is are Theophrastus surprising that only pseudo-Plutarch has preserved it, for he is similarly it Although a mere stylistic to the latter expression (which The point any attempt is ttoXIttjs, variant for MiXajcjcog, and would be redundant next better attested here).

This comparison is discussed by Diels, Dox. 222 f) Not only does Aetius make liberal use of later sources complete distortion is not unknown to him, as one example concerning Anaximander shows very well (see below, on 4. ), At the same time it is clear that whatever credible information is given by Aetius concerning the pre-Socratics must ultimately derive from Theophrastus. Thus the one explicit citation from the Phys. Opin. 20. 3 = Vors. 21 A 40) Aetius himself has apparently not recognized the essential identity of the two versions.

And this unity can receive an historical explanation only if the common features are shown to result by genetic descent from a common source. In terms of our oldest firsthand documentation, this source may be described as the world scheme which Parmenides presupposes, and against which he is in part reacting. But for a more precise location of the springhead of Greek natural philosophy we must define this scheme as the cosmology present study is of Anaximander. As one examines the remains of this early period, it is Anaximander who emerges more and more clearly as the central figure in sixthcentury thought.

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