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Results 1 - 25 of United Kingdom. Search Within These Results:. From: medimops Berlin, Germany Seller Rating:. The Fragments of Anaxagoras Sider, D. It must be kept in mind in reading the following account that scholars disagree and that other interpretations are possible. According to Simplicius, a 6 th century C. The ingredients are eternal and always remain in a mixture of all with all, yet the rotary motion produces shifts in the proportions of the ingredients in a given region.

The expanding rotation of the original mixture ultimately produces the continuing development of the world as we now perceive it. The testimonia suggest that the book also included detailed accounts of astronomical, meteorological, and geological phenomena as well as more detailed discussions of perception and knowledge, now missing from our collection of fragments, and known only by later reports and criticisms.

Anaxagoras was influenced by two strains in early Greek thought. First, there is the tradition of inquiry into nature founded by the Milesians, and carried on by Xenophanes Mourelatos b and by Heraclitus recent discussion in Graham The early Milesian scientist-philosophers Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes sought to explain the cosmos and all its phenomena, by appealing to regularities within the cosmic system itself, without reference to extra-natural causes or to the personified gods associated with aspects of nature by traditional Greek religion Graham , Gregory and They based their explanations on the observed regular behavior of the materials that make up the cosmos see White, on the role of measurement in early Presocratic theories.

Second, there is the influence of Eleatic arguments, due to Parmenides, concerning the metaphysical requirements for a basic explanatory entity within this Milesian framework, and the metaphysically proper way to go about inquiry Curd, , ; Sisko ; for different views, see Palmer , Sisko Parmenides can be seen as arguing that any acceptable cosmological account must be rational, i. Anaxagoras bases his account of the natural world on three principles of metaphysics, all of which can be seen as grounded in these Eleatic requirements: No Becoming or Passing-Away, Everything is in Everything, and No Smallest or Largest.

Parmenides, using this claim see DK 28 B8.


What seems to us, through perception, to be generation of new or destruction of old entities is not that at all. Rather, objects that appear to us to be born, to grow, and to die, are merely arrangements and re-arrangements of more metaphysically basic ingredients. The mechanism for the apparent coming-to-be is mixing and separating out from the mixture produced by the vortex motion of the mass of ingredients.

Through that mechanism, the real things, the ingredients, can retain their character throughout. They are constructs because they depend for their existence and character on the ingredients of which they are constructed and the pattern or structure that they acquire in the process. Yet they are natural because their construction occurs as one of the processes of nature. Unlike human-made artifacts which are similarly constructs of ingredients , they are not teleologically determined to fulfill some purpose.

This gives Anaxagoras a two-level metaphysics. Things such as earth, water, fire, hot, bitter, dark, bone, flesh, stone, or wood are metaphysically basic and genuinely real in the required Eleatic sense : they are things-that-are. The objects constituted by these ingredients are not genuinely real, they are temporary mixtures with no autonomous metaphysical status: they are not things-that-are.

The natures of the ingredients, and the question of what is included as an ingredient, are addressed below; see 3. Mann , Silverman It also rules out real qualitative changes and transformations. When a warm liquid cools it seems the hot liquid becomes cold; when a child ingests food milk and bread, for instance , the milk and bread are it seems transformed into flesh, blood, and bone. Yet Anaxagoras objects to these claims because they entail that the hot ceases to be, and the cold comes to be, in the liquid, and that the bread and milk are destroyed while flesh, blood, and bone come to be.

Further, if there are both hot and cold in the liquid, there is no disappearance into nothing of the hot as the liquid cools, and no generation of the cold from what is not or even from what is not cold. The clearest statement of this is in Anaxagoras B10, a quotation found in the following passage:. Nutrition and growth, as they are normally understood, are simply particularly clear instances of the changes that are ruled out if there is no becoming.

Anaxagoras (A History of Western Thought 6)

The Everything-in-Everything principle asserts the omnipresence of ingredients. In everything there is a mixture of all the ingredients that there are: every ingredient is everywhere at all times. If everything is in everything, there must be interpenetration of ingredients, for it must be possible for there to be many ingredients in the same space.

Indeed, the principle requires that all ingredients be in every space at all times the No Smallest or Largest principle also plays a role here: see sect. This will allow any ingredient to emerge from a mixture through accumulation or, having been unmixed, to become submerged in one at any point at any time, and thus allow for the appearance of coming-to-be or passing-away of things or qualities.

Some scholars have supposed that Anaxagoras thought of these ingredients as very small particles Vlastos , Guthrie , Sider , Lewis But a particle would have to be a smallest amount of some type of ingredient, occupying some space all by itself—with no other type of ingredient in it.

Not only does the No Smallest or Largest principle rule this out see sect. Instead one might conceive of the ingredients as fluid, like pastes or liquids which can be smeared together, with different areas of the mixture characterized by different relative densities of the ingredients, all of which are nevertheless everywhere in it. Each genuinely real ingredient could be mixed with every other, and so would be contained in any area of the mixture, and in principle visibly recoverable from it by accumulation or increased concentration. The differing densities of the ingredients would allow for differences in the phenomenal character of the mixture.

To an observer, different areas would appear hotter or colder, sweeter or more bitter, more red than green, and so on, and rightly so. As the relative concentration of ingredients in any area of the mixture altered through the mixture and separation brought about by the rotation of the original blend of ingredients , the phenomenal character of that region of the mixture would alter.

If separation occurs within an original mixture of everything with everything, as a result of the motion imparted by nous , then it could be that, given enough time, ingredients would be segregated from one another as they are in Empedocles during the triumph of Strife, when the four roots are completely separated.

Anaxagoras needs to block this, so that he can maintain his commitment to the No Becoming principle. In some region that came by separation to contain, say, nothing but bone, there would come to be pure bone as a new entity , in replacement for and destruction of the mixture that was previously there. He blocks this possibility by claiming that there is no smallest and no largest. If there is no lower limit on the density of an ingredient, then no ingredient will be completely removed from any region of the mixture through the force of the rotary motion caused by nous.

Nor of the small is there a smallest, but always a smaller for what-is cannot not be — but also of the large there is always a larger.

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Since the shares of the large and the small are equal in number, in this way too, all things will be in everything; nor is it possible that [anything] be separate, but all things have a share of everything. Since it is not possible that there is a least, it would not be possible that [anything] be separated, nor come to be by itself, but just as in the beginning, now too all things are together.

B6 [in part]. Here is one way to interpret what Anaxagoras is saying: if there were a smallest particle, density, amount of any ingredient call it S , we could in principle through separation reduce the amount of S in some area of the mixture to that smallest, and then induce further separation through rotation, which would remove that ingredient from a particular area of the mixture.

In that area, the explanation of coming-to-be in terms of emergence from a previous mixture would fail. Adopting the model of density described above, he can say that there is no lowest degree of density in the mixture. For an ingredient to be small is for there to be a comparatively low density of that ingredient in a particular area of the mixture in comparison with all the other ingredients everything else in that area.

The corresponding assertion that there is no upper limit on largeness can then be interpreted as the claim that no matter how emergent from the mixture standing out from the background mixture an ingredient is, it can become still more emergent. So, no matter how sweet some water tastes, there is still some salt in it. The salt in the sample is small, i. As the salt emerges, other ingredients will submerge, but will never disappear, so that the wet itself is deeply submerged in the mix, and we are left with an apparently solid block of salt though that salt will itself contain all other ingredients, with most of them in such small concentrations that they are completely submerged and not apparent to an observer.

This account of large and small is implied in Schofield , and worked out more fully in Inwood and Furth ; it is accepted in Curd The Eleatic metaphysics that Anaxagoras accepts shapes the science that he proposes. Anaxagoras offers an ambitious scientific theory that attempts to explain the workings of the cosmos, even while accepting the Eleatic ban on coming-to-be and passing-away. His goal is scientific knowledge, i. The original state of the cosmos was an unlimited apeiron mixture of all the ingredients.

The mixture of ingredients, all with all, exists eternally. Up to some point in the past, it was motionless 59 B1, A45 , and it was everywhere undifferentiated, or almost so. This undifferentiated mass includes all there is of all the natural ingredients that there are, the ingredients that will eventually form the natural constructs that constitute the cosmos as we know it. Nothing is ever added to or subtracted from this storehouse of stuffs, although the mass of stuffs is not always homogeneous. In fact, there are different densities of ingredients even at this earliest pre-motion stage.

B1 makes clear that air dark, moist stuff and aether bright fiery stuff are the most emergent largest ingredients, and their dominance means that the original mixture must have been like a dense bright cloud: nothing else would be evident or manifest, even had there been an observer. At some point nous the time being right set the mixture in motion and caused it to begin to revolve first in a small area, and then in an ever-widening area. The rotary motion causes the ingredients in the mass to shift.

The continouous ever-expanding rotation produces more and more separation. The Everything-in-Everything principle continues to hold, so there are all ingredients at all places at all times, but the different densities of ingredients allow for local variations, and so the rotating mass becomes qualitatively differentiated. Nowhere in the extant fragments does Anaxagoras give a complete list of the ingredients in the mixture, or a clear indication of their scope, so it is up to commentators to figure out what he meant, given the available evidence.

There are three alternatives.

First, some scholars have held that Anaxagoras limited the basic ingredients to the opposites, such as hot and cold, wet and dry, sweet and bitter, dark and light, and so on. It is the opposites that have explanatory force in the theory, and all other things and properties are reducible to the opposites. Supporters of this view include Tannery , Burnet , Cornford , Vlastos , Schofield with reservations , Inwood , Spanu —88, Sedley , and Marmodoro On this view all the material stuffs and all the objects in the universe would be natural constructs.

At the opposite extreme, a second option accepts that literally everything in the natural world is in the original mixture — opposites, but also natural materials fire, earth, copper, iron, and the like , animals and plants and their parts such as flesh, blood, and bone , and so on. This view makes no distinction between ingredients and what have been called natural constructs above. Finally, there is a middle view, which rejects the opposites-only account, and accepts that some things plants and animals, heavenly bodies are natural constructs.

The original mix includes opposites, but also natural substances like metals and earth, and the ingredients of animals, such as flesh, blood, and bone, but no whole physical objects such as plants and animals themselves, or their organic parts such as legs and hearts Curd ; this view is suggested in Schofield , ff. B15 may provide some evidence for the view:. Further, the Principle of Predominance in B12, see sect. Further evidence against the opposites-only view is found in Aristotle. Aristotle claims that for Anaxagoras, the elements the basic realities are what Aristotle calls the homoiomerous parts On Coming to Be and Passing Away I.

If the attempt to reduce the Anaxagorean ingredients to opposites is unsuccessful, so, too, is the interpretation that allows as an ingredient every kind of thing in the phenomenal world. A minor point is that Anaxagoras surely does not think that artifacts made by human beings are part of the mixture, and there are other semi-natural artifacts as well that would not seem to be present: cheese, bronze, whiskey, for example.

Further, it is unclear how the view can discriminate between an individual and its parts or ingredients. Are there homunculi of individuals in the original mix? Lewis accepts this. If so, how can the theory explain that the growth of an organism is not simply its enlargement by adding ingredients but also its development?

It seems, then, best to interpret Anaxagoras as claiming that all the material ingredients of natural living things and the heavenly bodies are present in the original mix, but that these objects themselves are not among the ingredients but are natural constructions, produced by the processes of mixture and separation that we call nutrition and growth, or by the rotations of the heavens and the attendant clumping together and breaking apart of the ingredients of the stars, clouds, comets, planets, and so on.

The word for seeds spermata occurs twice in the fragments, in lists of ingredients in B4a and in B4b , but Anaxagoras nowhere explains or makes it clear what it means. Furley and advocates the simplest interpretation, that Anaxagoras simply means biological seeds but not homunculi , and this seems the best proposal see also Barnes , Curd , Sedley , Marmodoro A seed would then be a biological origin point, and might perhaps be the route through which nous which controls all things that have soul, i.

If a seed is mixed with the right ingredients in the right circumstances, a living thing will grow. According to Diogenes Laertius, Anaxagoras acquired the nickname Mr. Mind DK 59 A1 ; his view that the cosmos is controlled by nous , mind or intelligence, first attracted and then disappointed Socrates Plato, Phaedo 97b8ff. Plato and Aristotle applauded Anaxagoras for using nous as the first principle of motion, but both criticized him for failing to be consistent in that use, arguing that once he invoked Mind to set the original mixture in motion, Anaxagoras reduced later causes to mindless mechanism.

Anaxagoras is adamant that nous is completely different from the ingredients that constituted the original mixture. It is the only thing to which the Everything-in-Everything principle does not apply. In B12 the longest extant fragment , Anaxagoras claims that if nous were just another ingredient it could neither know nor rule in the way that it does. First, it inaugurates the rotation of the mass of ingredients; it then controls that rotation, and the local rotations that take place within the large whirl that is the whole cosmos:.

Nous then is not only first cause, it also, one might say, is the preserver of order in the cosmos, as it maintains the rotations that govern all the natural processes. Anaxagoras does not explain how these processes work, or how nous can affect the ingredients. But there is a hint of his reasoning in a comment in Aristotle Metaphysics I. Just as we control our bodies by our thoughts, so the cosmos is controlled by nous ; we may be unclear about the details, but the results are obvious to us.

Nous is the most powerful thing in the cosmos, controlling the rotation and all ensouled things.

Account Options

Part of that power and control lies in its powers of knowledge. Anaxagoras asserts that nous has all judgment and discernment about all things; moreover, this knowledge extends to everything that emerges from the mixtures and dissociations caused by the original rotation:. While nous is not the teleological and ethical cause for which Socrates was searching in the Phaedo , nous could serve as an ultimate explanation. Anaxagoras nowhere says that nous arranges things in a certain way because it is best for them to be so, or even suggests something like an Aristotelian final cause, although Sedley argues that exactly this view is implicit in the fragments, contra : Graham, , Sisko a.

Things are the way they are because that is the way things have unfolded since nous first set everything in motion, and as it continued to move them. He claims that it is the purest and finest of all things. The principle does not claim that there is any single predominating ingredient at each place in the mixture. Rather, the predominance seems to be along numerous lines of possibility: more flesh than blood, more hot than cold, more red than green, and so on Furley This need not mean that there is more humanity than doghood in a human being indeed it could not mean this, on the account advanced in this article, which rules out dogs and humans as Anaxagorean ingredients.

Rather, to be a human being is to have a certain set of predominant characteristics arranged in a certain way that arrangement may be the work of soul — perhaps nous — in a living thing. A problem for the Principle of Predominance is to determine what it is to be a predominant ingredient, especially given the Everything-in-Everything and No Smallest principles.

A classic example is the following: the gold in this gold ring is that discontinuous part of the total mixture in which gold predominates. Because there can be no pure gold there is no pure anything , it becomes difficult to see what the gold could be that predominates in anything. But if I cannot determine what predominates in it, I cannot determine what anything is. Strang proposes a solution to the problem. While acknowledging that there can never be pure instances of any ingredient in actuality, there could be such instances in analysis.

I can analyze mixtures and determine predominant ingredients, but I will never be able to produce a pure instance of such an ingredient. The problem here is how this would be worked out, and why I can be certain that there are such natures as we might call them.

Anaxagoras suggests two things. First, in B12 he stresses that nous has the power to know and understand all the ingredients indeed cosmic nous apparently knew all this before the rotation began; see quotation above. Second, in B21 and B21a he suggests how human nous nous in us can come to such an understanding by relying on sense perception but moving beyond it in thought see sect. Finally, because the ingredients are genuinely basic entities in the sense required to ground a rational cosmology in the Eleatic sense, they must be stable natures in the Parmenidean sense for a related account, see Marmodoro Anaxagoras is committed to the arguments that ground Eleatic metaphysics; thus he can claim an a priori reason to think that the ingredients can be knowable in the sense required by the Principle of Predominance.

His epistemological view that humans can reach understanding through beginning with sense experience then fits with these metaphysical commitments. Anaxagoras gave a complete account of the universe: of the heavens, the earth, and geological and meteorological phenomena. The accounts of the action of nous and the original rotation and its consequences appear in the fragments: B9 describes the force and velocity of the rotation, B12 and 13 explain the beginning of the rotation and the subsequent breaking up and remixing of the mass of ingredients, while B15 and 16 specify the cosmological consequences of the continued rotation Curd and , Graham , Gregory Most of the other information comes from the testimonia, but there is enough in the remaining fragments to make it clear that everything is ultimately explained by the great rotation set in motion by nous.

Further, and intriguingly, Anaxagoras claims that the cosmic rotary motion could produce other worlds like our own. The rotation of the mixture begins in a small area, and then spreads out through the mass B As the extent of the mixture is unlimited or infinite, apeiron , the rotation and expansion will continue forever, bringing more and more ingredients into the whirl a summary of the process is in Gregory The force and speed of the rotation is according to B9 much faster at the edges, where the expanding rotation meets the as-yet-unmoved mass of ingredients: what we perceive of the rotation probably the motions of the heavens is much slower than the unobserved rotation.

The force is enough to pull apart and rearrange the ingredients:. There are two sorts of dissociation. First, as the rotation enters the as-yet-unmoved mass of ingredients, that mass begins to break up and the ingredients start to shift in their concentrations. This causes the original arrangement of ingredients to break up and begin to be rearranged. Because the mixture is a plenum, any separation is at the same time a rearrangement of ingredients.

Then, those new rearrangements are themselves subject to further break-up and further rearrangement. Anaxagoras indicates this in the fragments by using different terms for different stages in the process although he is not completely consistent in these uses. Normally, he uses the notion of being separated off forms of the verb apokrinesthai for the initial breaking apart of the mass.

When, in B17, he claims that passing-away is really dissociation, he uses the word diakrinesthai. This is a later stage than the earliest separations off of B1. The primary terms are compound forms of the verb krinein , to distinguish. Over time, the rotation throws lighter ingredients towards the edges of the whirl and pushes the heavier ones to the center B15 , thus putting more dark and heavy ingredients like earth in the center and throwing air and aether fire away from the center.

This gives the traditional Greek picture of our Earth itself a mixture of all ingredients, with earth and heavy ores and minerals predominating covered in many places by water, with air and the fiery reaches of the heavens. The sun is a mass of fiery metal, and the moon is an earthy lump with no light of its own. The same rotation ultimately produces the stars and planets as well. Sometimes the force of the rotation snatches up stones from the surface of the Earth and spins them around the Earth as they gradually rise higher through the force of the rotation.

Until these bodies are high enough, they remain unseen between the Earth and the moon and so sometimes intervene to prevent heavenly bodies from being seen by terrestrial observers. The force and shaking of the rotation can cause slippage, and so sometimes a star a flaming mass of rock and iron is thrown downwards toward the earth as a meteor such as the one Anaxagoras is supposed to have predicted at Aegospotami.

According to the ancient sources see esp. A1 and A42 , Anaxagoras also gave explanations for the light of the Milky Way, the formation of comets, the inclination of the heavens, the solstices, and the composition of the moon and stars. The rotation begun by nous ultimately affects phenomena on the earth and above the surface of the earth. Anaxagoras claims that the earth is flat, rests on air, and remains where it is because of its size A42; a number of geological and meteorological views attributed to Anaxagoras were also apparently held by Anaximenes; whether this is because Anaxagoras was following Anaximenes or because the commentators conflate the two is unclear.