4 - Did Anaximenes attempt to explain qualitative...

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Did Anaximenes attempt to explain qualitative differences in quantitative terms? He is often credited with having done so. See, for example, Burnet EGP §26 (endorsed by Guthrie 126-27): “… a theory which explains everything as a form of a single substance is clearly bound to regard all differences as quantitative. The only way to save the unity of the primary substance is to say that all diversities are due to the presence of more or less of it in a given space.” If this were what he is doing, it would be a very important step (cf. later scientific developments: wave length of light, atomic number, etc.) This is a tempting interpretation, but unlikely. a. Cf. Barnes, Presocratics p. 46 : “Was Anaximenes really a precocious quantifier, a Presocratic Boyle? Alas, I suspect he was not. Greek scientists were in general averse to, or incapable of, the application of mathematics to physical processes ands phenomena; and there is no evidence that Anaximenes himself had any such application in mind: he had no
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 101 taught by Professor Markelwin during the Summer '09 term at UC Davis.

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4 - Did Anaximenes attempt to explain qualitative...

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