Ancient Philosophers: The Ionians, Anaximenes


Classic Philosophers: The Great Thinkers of Western Philosophy


Ancient Philosphers: The Philosophy of the Early Greek Naturalists, by Jonathan Dolhenty


I. The Ionians: Anaximenes


Anaximenes also was born at Miletus toward the end of the sixth century B.C., and died about 524 B.C. Probably a disciple of Anaximander, he composed a treatise of unknown title.

For Anaximenes, the first principle from which everything is generated is air. Air, through the two opposite processes of condensation and rarefaction, which are due to heat and cold, has generated fire, wind, clouds, water, heaven and earth.

Thus Anaximenes, like Thales and Anaximander, reduces the multiplicity of nature to a single principle, animated (hylozoism) and divine, which would be the reason for all empirical becoming.

With Anaximenes the School of Miletus closes, for the turn of events in this city ranked as one of the principal causes of the Graeco-Persian wars and Miletus was destroyed in 494 B.C. Its inhabitants were dispersed throughout the Greek world, and one of them was to reach Elea, a city of southern Italy, and there found the school which was to be called Eleatic, after the city of its origin.


The late Dr. Jonathan Dolhenty was the Founder and President of The Center for Applied Philosophy and the Radical Academy, and is Honorary Philosophy Editor at Self-Educated American. Self-Educated American has adopted these projects beginning with a republishing and preserving of all of Dr. Dolhenty’s work.