Some rules of thumb for the interpretation of a 'pre-Socratic' philosopher:
1. The interpretation of a fragment or attributed view should be the most economical interpretation of that fragment or attribution which is consistent with the following:I don't claim that this list is complete, but it is a good start.
2. The philosophical view (taken to be) expressed should be such as earlier views might naturally have led to it directly (that is, the view might serve as a development, correction, application to a new domain, generalization, etc., of an earlier view).
3. The philosophical view (taken to be) expressed should be such as it might naturally have led directly to a later view (by way of development, correction, application to a new domain, generalization, etc.).
4. The philosophical view (taken to be) expressed is inherently interesting, clever, or profound.
Note that 2. and 3. serve to place a philosopher in a sequence of thought.
I state these rules of thumb because they capture what I think is wrong with the usual interpretation of the Anaximander 'fragment' -- which, it seems to me, offends against all four.
The usual interpretation goes much beyond what the fragment says (contrary to 1.); it does so with reference to a general view about cyclical change in nature which any philosopher at any time in the 6th-4th centuries BC might have thought (contrary to 2. and 3.); and, when given precise content in relation to the actual words of the fragment, the view is hardly coherent and seems actually to contain a contradiction (contrary to 4.).
This by way of summary.
But it's easy to be critical. Someone might challenge me to come up with something better, and I'll try to do that tomorrow or the next day.