What is it about?

Anaximenes is usually considered to be a material monist recognizing transparent atmospheric air (aer) as a principle (arche). However, in my study I have shown that Anaximenes’ air is not a material principal. For I have found out that his aer has two different meanings. In keeping with contemporary usage Anaximenes distinguishes aer as transparent atmospheric air and as opaque damp mist, both having different functions. Whereas mist is conceived of as a generating substance, air functions only as carrying stuff of heavenly bodies.

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Why is it important?

The paper not only rethinks and revises the usual interpretation of one of the first philosophers, Anaximenes, but it also sheds new light on the beginning of philosophy. For Anaximenes doesn’t seem to have been interested in the ontological search for an unchanging principle but rather created an elaborate cosmological model of the world. Thus, the beginning of philosophy may turn out to be related to setting up a cosmological model of the world rather than to searching for a unifying ontological principle.


As I suggested above, I hope the paper will shed new light at, and even opens up new perspectives in, the origin of philosophy.

Pavel Hobza
Univerzita Palackeho v Olomouci

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Anaximenes’ ἀήρ as Generating Mist and Generated Air, Apeiron, February 2020, De Gruyter,
DOI: 10.1515/apeiron-2018-0058.
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