Origins of the Arché

Thales was a greek mathematician and politician. Aristotle, in his Metaphysics, also described him as the first philosopher, despite not having any explicitly philosophical texts.

How is this possible? Well, it is quite intuitive to think that the first philosopher would be searching for the origin of everything, and that is exactly what Thales sought. He was the first to propose a hypothesis for a "material mother", an element that cannot be derived from others. For him, this element was water, which might seem unoriginal for a greek to hear since Homer was the first to say that the ocean was the origin of everything. However, Aristotle focused not on what Thales said but on how he said it, Thales posed the question, "What is the first element?" and employed reasoning to support his thinking, making arguments such as humans deriving sustenance from water and things drying up when they die. This is also what sets him apart from myth.

Anaximander, a disciple of Thales, was likely the first to use the term "arché". His arché is called "apeiron", meaning "without limit", without limit in space, time, and without any characteristics. For this philosopher, the apeiron is also a reference to the divine.

All things come from the apeiron and return there after they die. Expanding on this statement, everything that "is" has committed a crime by breaking the unity of the apeiron at birth, and this is punished with the creation of opposites. These opposites fight and compete with each other because some cannot coexist (like day and night).

Anaximander believes that this is how the kosmos is formed, also is controlled by time.

Finally, we have Anaximedes, a disciple of Anaximander, who tried to address certain logical inaccuracies in his master's arché theory. Specifically, he sought to answer the question of "how something without characteristics can be the origin of multiple things with different qualities?"

Anaximedes proposed a theory where the genesis did not involve a change from one characteristic to another. He replaced a qualitative model with a quantitative one. According to this, things would have different characteristics depending on the quantity of arché they possess. Anaximedes believed that the best candidate for the arché in this case is air, which seems invisible and limitless.

If we look back and consider why Anaximedes came up with this idea, we can see that his solution still had some of the same problems as his master's theory. However, it falls under what Aristotle calls the "efficient cause" because it tries to connect experience with the logos in a rudimentary law of physics.

"El uno y lo múltiple" - Sandro Palazzo.

This is one of the first times I have tried to write something this long in English. If you find any grammatical errors, please let me know. <3

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