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Was Anaximander an Evolutionist

Was Anaximander an Evolutionist

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Published by: Zavier Mainyu on Feb 12, 2012
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Was Anaximander an Evolutionist?Author(s): J. H. LoenenReviewed work(s):Source:
Mnemosyne,
Fourth Series, Vol. 7, Fasc. 3 (1954), pp. 215-232Published by:
Stable URL:
Accessed: 08/02/2012 01:27
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WAS ANAXIMANDERAN EVOLUTIONIST?BYJ.H.LOENENI.StatusquaestionisItmightbedoubted whether there is stillreasontostudyindetail the relationbetween thebiologicalfragmentsof Anaximanderand themoderntheoryofevolution.Onthe otherhand,itmaybestated thatevenamongauthoritiesthere doesnot existany agree-menton thispoint.What ismore,one makesthesomewhatun-expected discoverythatno detailedanalysisofthebiologicalfragmentsistobe foundinrelevantworksand articles.Now,opinionsmaybe divided into twogroups:the first claims tofindbiologicalevolutionin thefragmentsofAnaximander,thoughinavarying degree,thesecondrefuses to admitanyresemblancewith moderntheories.Tothefirstgroup maybereckonedsuchauthoritiesas?berweg-Pr?chterx),Burnet2)andDiels3),alsoGomperz 4), Capelle5)and de Raedemaeker6),and in ourcountryKoster and deVogel7),thoughcompleteevolutionisminthe?)"...hatman nichtganzmit Unrechteinegewisse?hnlichkeitmitderDeszendenztheoriezu findengeglaubt" (?berweg-Pr?chter, p.49).2)"Itissurethat Anaximanderhad an idea ofwhat is meantby adapta-tion to environmentandsurvival ofthe fittestand thathe saw thehighermammals couldnotrepresenttheoriginal typeofanimar'(E.G.Ph.4thed.,1945,?-71).3)"... so nahm Anaximanderan,dass auchdieOrganismenauf derErde,vor allem derMensch,eineallm?hligeEntwicklungdurchgemachthaben.. . Sie mussten demneuenElementeentsprechendfischartigge-bildetsein. Dannaber,als dieErdemehr undmehr austrockneteund dieFischmenschensichdementsprechendumgebildethatten,..."{Anaxi-mander vonMilet,NeueJahrb.f.d.klass.Altertum,1923,p.73).4)Th.Gomperz speaksofhim as "der ersteDarwinist"(GriechischeDenker,Leipz.1911-12, I,p.196).5)W.Capellementionshis"denkw?rdigeDeszendenztheorie"(DieVor-sokratiker,Leipz.1935,p.88,n.2).6)TheBelgianauthorF. deRaedemaekersaysin arecentwork thatAnaximander evensurmisedthetheoryofevolution(De philosophiederVoorsocratici,Antwerpen-Amsterdam,1953,p.35).7)W.J.W. Koster(FragmentenvanGrieksedenkersvoorSocrates, Zwolle,
 
2l6WASANAXIMANDERANEVOLUTIONIST?strict modernsenseis not defendedbyanyauthor,andopinionsevenwidelydiffer as to the detailsof thetheory.Most authorsrestrictthecomparisonwithDarwinism more orless,theresultbeingsomewhatvague.The secondgroup, including Zeller1),Rodemer2)andmorerecentlyRudbergandErhard3),is farsmallerinnumber.So currentopinionstill seemsto beinfavourofanevolutionistinterpretationof Anaximander.Thisbeingthesituation,acarefulanalysisof all data does not seem tobesuperfluous.II.Ananalysisof the dataFromthe start it should beemphasizedthatone conditionshouldbe fulfilled.Itisnecessarytodisengageourselvesmethodicallyfromthe basic idea ofmodernevolutionismandfromourownself-evidentopinions,in order tounderstandAnaximanderfromhis ownwordsand from the basicopinionsofcontemporaryGreekthought.2nd ed.1949,p.29) givesthe relevantfragmentsunderthe head:theoryofevolution,as well asC.J.deVogel (Greek Philosophy,I,Tha?estoPlato,Leiden1950,p.8).1)"... so wird doch diese ?hnlichkeit durcheinegenauere Betrachtungderselben wesentlicheingeschr?nkt" (Vortr.u. Abhandl.III,1884,p. 38).He thinks thereisnoquestionof anevolutionofspecies(p.37).2)"IhnaberalsVorg?ngersolcherDeszendenzlehrenzufeiern,w?redurchausverfehlt"(DieLehrederUrzeugungbei den GriechenundR?mern,Giessen1928,p.8.Onlyan extensivesummaryof thisthesis hasbeenpublished).3)G.Rudberg,BiologieundUrgeschichteim ionischenDenken,Symb.Osi.20(1942), p.1-20(cf.hisearlierarticle,writteninSwedish,Anaximan-dros*biologi,?ranos 20(1921-22), p. 51-57). Only p.1-4concern Anaxi-mander'sbiology.Rudbergconcludes:"InAnaximandros'biologischenFragmenten liegt eigentlichnichts vondermodernenEvolutionslehre,sonderneinVersuch,in AnschlussanaltemVolksglauben,dieGenesis undderFortbestand desMenschen,und z.T.auchderh?herenTiere,trotzihrerphysischenWehrlosigkeitzu erkl?ren"(p.20).?H.Erhard,WarAnaximanderDeszendenztheoretiker?,Archiv(Sudhoffs)f. Gesch. d. Mediz.u. Naturwiss.33(1940),p.107-111.Thiszoologistopposestheopinionofthe historian ofbiologyE. Nordenski?ld(DieGeschichtederBiologie,deutsch von G.Schneider,Jena 1926).?O. Gigon (Der Ursprungder Grie-chischenPhilosophie,Basel1945) giveshisopinionnotexplicitly,but hisshortsurveyof Anaximander*stheoryseemstheoppositeof anevolutionistinterpretation.

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