Essay Anixamandes, Descartes, and Hume

Submitted By GarynAnders
Words: 507
Pages: 3

In reading the first two chapters of "Reality", I noticed and found myself comparing many philosophical ideas presented to concepts prevalent in modern day sciences. In some cases, the two paralleled one another in a very neat, nice way so much as to be unsettling; that is to say that the Pre-Socratics seemed to have as near an understanding of the physical world as an average person today may have. A humbling prospect, truly. This paper aims to address the similarities I perceived in how philosophers address the natural world.
The first comparison is one that a physicist or chemist may latch on to rather quickly. Alternatively, it was the philosophers Anaximander and Anaximenes of Miletus who address the principle of existing things. The supposition that all material is eternal and endlessly reconfiguring itself is made by both philosophers. Anaximandes claims the source of material to be infinite and indeterminate. On this Anaximenes differs; he believes the source to be infinite but determinate. He claims that it is air, compressed, refined, expanded, and condensed to constitute the forms of fire, water, clouds, or stone that we see. Concerning this matter, a chord was struck for me. That chord being the nature of the physical world as we have come to know it through our understanding of molecules and atoms. We (scientists) are beginning, even to understand sub-atomic particles. We know how these basic building blocks are formed within the bodies of stars, how they constitute all that we see and most of what we do not. But as Plato allegedly put it, the more we learn, the less we know. “What forms atoms?” or better: what gives matter form? In this respect, I find the theory of Anaximenes wanting and Anixamander's musings more in line with my own. The something that creates exists beyond a substance or perhaps beyond something that is quantifiable or tangible.

Descartes’ ideas were derived under the concept that anything that could be doubted, should be, and that a firm foundation was necessary for…