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Anaximander: And the Nature of Science

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In this elegant work, acclaimed physicist Carlo Rovelli brings to light the importance of Anaximander's overlooked legacy to modern science.

The next step Rovelli takes is to try to understand why 6th century BC Greece was pretty well the only such starting point. Wondrous as this was, it was the reaction of the second man, Thales’s fellow citizen, Anaximander, 11 years his junior that, Rovelli argues, changed the world.

ACT Contact / FAQ About Events / Videos Merch / Subs Sign in/up Anaximander : And the Nature of Science Carlo Rovelli More by this author. Anaximander assimilated Thales’s ideas, treated them with due respect, but then rejected and improved on them and came up with more exact theories of his own.

He attributes Anaximander’s analysis of the physical world as wholly devoid of a metaphysical or religious system as though Anaximander did not or could not attribute some aspect of his existence or existence in general to factors not fully attainable through observation of physical phenomena. Do recent observations of near death experiences offer valid answers to whether human beings have a soul? Rovelli thus works in this book a little like an archaeologist sifting a burial site for clues, finding reference points in later historical accounts by Pliny and Aristotle and Herodotus among others. He emphasises, for instance, that despite their impressive mathematics, astronomical observation and technological developments, Chinese philosophers and scientists never came up with the insight of a non-flat Earth floating in space, only switching to this viewpoint when they received information from missionaries in the seventeenth century. He explains some of the most conceptually difficult and densest areas of physics lightly and breezily.Photograph: Lanmas/Alamy View image in fullscreen An engraving of Anaximander: ‘the first human to argue that rain was caused by the observable movements of air and the heat of the sun rather than the intervention of gods’.

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