I found the views of Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes to be particularly interesting. These early Greek thinkers each inquired about the origins of the universe, or the cosmos, making claims based off of principles they found in nature. Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes pondered which of these principles accounted for the “basic stuff” that makes up everything in the universe.

Thales believed that water is the principle of all things. It is not clear from his claims whether he intended to state everything comes from water as the originating source, or that everything is actually water in one form or another. Regardless, Aristotle found that his argument contained good reasoning and support. Anaximander believed that everything came from an ambiguous source called the apeiron, The apeiron, he claimed, was something that produced hot or cold and was always in motion. He identified this infinite phenomena as eternal, and therefore divine. Anaximenes called the basic stuff aer or “air.” This air that he described, however, was more of a dense mist than a transparent breeze. All three of these Presocratics gave meteorological and natural explanations for their claims.

This passage struck me because inquiry of what makes up all of the natural world and the origin of these things is such an involved endeavor that not many people even begin to ponder the possibilities.The “basic stuff” that makes up everything in the universe is present in all things that exist, yet no one knows for sure where the first thing came from or from what it originated. The earth and all the matter contained within it are but only a minuscule portion of the universe, so it is difficult to even gather enough information to even make an attempt at a claim. The theories of Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes are intriguing because claims of this magnitude are few and far between.