Title

A Testimony of Anaximenes in Plato

Keywords

Anaximenes, Plato, Philosophy, History of Philosophy

Abstract

No source earlier than Aristotle mentions Anaximenes by name,I and for that reason it is sometimes asserted that Plato himself had no acquaintance with Anaximenes.2 In the twenty-three testimonies given in Diels-Kranz, Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, for Anaximenes of Miletus, there is none from a source earlier than Aristotle. Similarly, Kirk in The Presocratic Philosophers recognizes no early testimony.3 W6hrle's recent edition of Anaximenes (1993), Anaximenes aus Milet, while it adds some testimonies, produces no early ones.4 McCabe's new study, Plato and his Predecessors (2000), does not treat Anaximenes.5 Yet there is an important allusion to Anaximenes in Plato, one that embodies an interesting perspective on the Milesian's theory. Plato's reading is heterodox, but precisely for that reason it is especially valuable, for it is independent of traditional interpretations. Indeed, Plato contradicts the received interpretation of Anaximenes, and, by implication, that of early Ionian philosophy- which should provide sufficient reason to take Plato's discussion seriously. Moreover, Plato's discussion presents not just an interesting alternative, but, I shall claim, the correct interpretation of Anaximenes and early Ionian physics.

Original Publication Citation

“A Testimony of Anaximenes in Plato,” Classical Quarterly 53 (2003): 327-37.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2003-11

Publisher

the Classical Quarterly

Language

English

College

Humanities

Department

Philosophy

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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