Chapter III

The other dictum

§6. The sovereign source of beings as the

empowering power of appearance

a) The ἀρχὴ τῶν ὄντων

It is not the case, however, that the noncompliance merely can mean this (persistence in contours over and against contourlessness), and likewise for compliance; on the contrary, ἀδικία and δίκη must have this meaning in the pronouncement of Anaximander, if indeed, as was shown, they are disposed by contourlessness and limitlessness. And it is in fact so; for Anaximander says, in the second statement that has come down to us, ἀρχὴ τῶν ὄντων τὸ ἄπειρον. The source of beings, and precisely of beings as such, i.e., with respect to their Being, is the limitless.

Before we offer a comprehensive presentation bringing out the intrinsic unity between this second pronouncement and the first, let us briefly explicate it, as was our earlier procedure.

1. τὰ ὄντα; at once we see that here, too, Anaximander is speaking about beings as a whole. Not about this or that being, not about any particular sphere set out above others, but about beings as such, for the issue is the

2. ἀρχή; ἄρχειν—“ to precede.” ἀρχή—what precedes everything, from which everything else proceeds. The issue is the beginning of Being, of appearance, of the entrance into contours, of what precedes in appearance, comes into view in advance. And that is precisely the contourless, that which in appearing enters into contours, maintains itself there, though under constraint, and compels a return to contourlessness, the abandonment1 of the possession of contours.

ἀρχή—initially not a being, therefore not source in the sense of that by which something begins and is afterward left behind as inconsequential

1 [Reading Aufgeben for Aufgehen, “emergence.”—Trans.]