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Encyclopedia > Arche

In the ancient Greek philosophy, arche (ἀρχή) is the beginning or the first principle of the world. Classical (or early) Greek philosophy focused on the role of reason and inquiry. ...


The idea of an arche was first philosophized by Thales of Miletus, who claimed that the first principle of all things is water. His theory was supported by the observation of moisture throughout the world and coincided with his theory that the earth floated on water. Thales of Miletus Thales of Miletus also known as Thales the Milesian (Θαλῆς ὁ Μιλήσιος), (ca. ... The lower half of the benches and the remnants of the scene building of the theater of Miletus, as it was on August 6, 2005. ...


Thales' theory was refuted by his successor and estimated pupil, Anaximander. Anaximander noted that water could not be the arche because it could not give rise to its opposite, fire. Anaximander claimed that none of the elements (earth, fire, air, water) could be arche for the same reason. Instead, he proposed the existence of the apeiron, an indefinite substance from which all things are born and to which all things will return. Anaximander Possibly what Anaximanders map looked like Anaximander (Greek: Αναξίμανδρος)(c. ... The apeiron is a cosmological theory created by Anaximander in the 6th century BC. Anaximanders work is mostly lost. ...


Anaximenes, Anaximander's pupil, advanced yet another theory. He returns to the elemental theory, but this time posits air, rather than water, as the arche. Anaximenes suggests that all is made from air through either rarefication or condensation (thinning or thickening). Rarefied, air becomes fire; condensed, it becomes first wind, then cloud, water, earth, and stone in order. Anaximenes was the name of several notable people in ancient Greece. ...


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