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Like Thales Anaximander was a monist But he rejected Thales supposition that water is the material arch Instead he proposed the apeiron the indefinite or the infinite Why did he do this There is only one extant fragment 6 B1 It was recorded by the commentator Simplicius 6th C who was preserving an account of Anaximander given by Aristotles student Theophrastus its possible that Simplicius may have gotten the quote from yet another commentator Alexander in his now lost commentary on Aristotles Physics Here is the fragment They pay penalty and retribution to each other for their injustice in accordance with the ordering of time Before trying to figure out what this means lets look at the context in Simplicius Anaximander said that the indefinite was the first principle and element of things that are and he was the first to introduce this name for the first principle ie he was the first to call the first principle indefinite He says that the first principle is neither water nor any other of the things called elements but some other nature which is indefinite Heres a quite different translation Barnes EGP 74-75 Anaximander said that the infinite is principle and element of the things that exist He was the first to introduce this word principle He says that it is neither water nor any other of the so-called elements but some different infinite nature There are two significant differences between these translations 1 The text which reads literally he was the first to use this name of the principle is ambiguous as to which word arch principle or apeiron infinite indefinite Anaximander introduced This is not so important 2 Should we translate apeiron as infinite or indefinite This is important and we will have to make a decision about it Continuing from Simplicius out of which come to be
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