What Is Apeiron, What Does It Mean?

What Is Apeiron, What Does It Mean?

June 26, 2021 Off By Felso

According to Anaximander, Apeiron is arkhe, the first cause of existence. The main problem of Anaximander, like his contemporaries, is the problem of the essence of the principle (arkhe).

With the concept of arkhe, Anaximandros takes the first step towards a metaphysical concept in a direction with a clear target, by transcending the emotionally given. He chose the ‘infinite’, that is, Apeiron, as the arkhe. Because only such a concept can secure the continuation of the life process forever.

To be born is to be united; To die is to return to the principle of all things, and all beings that the world has known or will recognize have been and will be in infinity.

Anaximander thought of the infinite as a qualitatively homogeneous but still indeterminate mass of matter. When he meant infinite (limitless) matter by the concept of infinity, he meant that only matter and power were not yet separated from each other.

For Anaximander, arkhe is apeiron.

What goes on in this world, according to Anaximander, is based on a never-ending movement. Since this movement belongs to the essence of the principle, the principle will make what is happening intelligible through its essence. Another important step is the attempt to design the effect of the principle in the universal process one by one and only then to make it comprehensible.


Aperion is infinity in the first sense.

The root of the word apeiron, “peras”, means “border”. A is the negation prefix. It is an infinity likened to an ocean. That is to say, the infinity of space seems to cover the whole place. This is also unlimited in quantity.

Aperion is such a thing that it is an ambiguity in which all objects and qualities are gathered. The most important point of Aperion is that it is ambiguous. Because all the qualities and objects are united in it.

In order to explain the visible world and the change in it, Anaximander tried to explain what the essence of existence is and how all beings came into existence from this source, based on the concept of Apeiron.

According to Anaximander, all beings originated from Apeiron and will necessarily return to Apeiron. Apeiron is conceived as something that will not age and was not born, as the actual reality, while the existing ones are considered as those who have existed for a “time”, that is, as appearances, with their temporary nature.

What is “infinite” as the fundamental substance is originless, indestructible, and its movement is infinite. The result of this movement is the “decomposition” and emergence of beings.

Before Apeiron, Hot and Cold are separated; of these two, the moist one decomposes; from this, the earth and air, and the ring of fire surrounding the earth like a spherical filling (Zeller, 1980: 29).

Anaximander tries to define the concept of apeiron indirectly, not what it is, but rather with a negative definition, which reveals what it is not, instead of defining the concept of apeiron directly by giving it certain qualities.

. The concept of apeiron can be met with the concepts of ‘unlimited’ on one side and ‘indeterminate’ on the other. The fact that Apeiron is unlimited means that it can contain all those that exist and those that will exist in the future, considering that all that exists in the world we live in is made up of itself and that those who still exist will return to it.

With this position, the apeiron almost functions as a ‘repository’ in which those who will come into existence and those who will cease to exist are kept and stored.

The indeterminacy of apeiron is that it does not have a quality or a determination, unlike those that have certain qualities, it is out of determination.

According to Anaximander, earth, air, water or fire are not all together or any of them ‘apeiron’, and the limited qualities they have are not found in apeiron (Cornford, 1957: 147).

Again, starting from this basic idea, a moral principle is put forward as the reason for the existence and returning to the source, which dominates the whole universe.

According to this principle, the apeiron, which contains everything in its unformed, non-existent form, does not prevent those who want to exist, that is, to be tangible beings, but it stipulates disappearance, that is, returning to the apeiron, as the price of existence. In Nietzsche’s interpretation, ‘Every being will surely taste annihilation’ (Nietzsche, 1985: 38-41).

Existence here is conceived as ‘ascension’ into the realm of reality in which we live by taking a form. It is possible to consider the existence of beings, that is, their being in the world by separating from the apeiron, as taking shape, and the process of existence as a gradual formation based on contrasts.

From the apeiron, first cold and hot, then dry and wet, and then all other beings are formed by their various combinations. The fact that all beings in Apeiron first exist as formless and all beings will leave Apeiron and return to Apeiron again makes us think that it is both indeterminate in terms of quality and unlimited in terms of quantity.