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of Clazomenae Born 500 BCE Lecture by Tricia Foust for Phil. 70A Anaxagoras of Clazomenae Clazomenae: Ancient Greek city in Ionia Now modern day Kilizman in Turkey Anaxagoras Life He was the first Presocratic to live in Athens (20 years) Lived in Athens when Socrates was a youth and young adult Charged with impiety and banished from the city (controversial) Retreated to Lampsucus where he later died in 428 BCE Honored before and after his death Work in Summary Proposed a physical theory of "everythingin everything" Supporter of the premise that "something does not come from nothing" Nous (Mind) controlled the cosmos and is a major figure in his cosmogony Famous for scientific theories (eclipses, stars, plants) Wrote one book covering his cosmogony and theory of the universe(s) from its' beginnings to its' finished state No Becoming or Passing Away F19: ...Nothing is generated or destroyed; things are combined from already existing things and dispersed. It would then be correct to use `combination' for `generation' and `dispersal' for `destruction'. Everythingineverything F9: In everything there is a portion of everything... T3: ...simple food we take in, such as bread and water, nourish all parts of the body. Since this is so, we have to admit that the food we eat contains all things, and that everything grows as a result of things that already exist. Everythingineverything T2: ...For how, he says, could hair come from nothair or flesh from notflesh? The bread already contains the flesh in it; in different proportions. Opposites are even contained in each other so that the different proportions explain the different qualities that things have. (red vs. blue) Infinite Smallness The same set of `everything' or `ingredients' can be of different sizes. Infinitely small or infinitely large. F7: For there is no smallest part of the small, but there is always a smaller part (for whatis cannot not be); and by the same token there is always a larger part than what is large. (and there is always a smaller part of what is small) Infinite Smallness T5: ...They also thought that since the opposites come from each other, they must have been present in each other. ... There is nothing, they say, which is wholly and purely pale or dark or sweet or flesh or bone; people assess the nature of an object according to whichever ingredient there is most of within that object. Sweet & Bitter example Infinite Smallness Because of F3: And the upshot is that it is impossible to know, in theory or in practice, the number of things that are being separated out. The Mixture Started in a small area and then expanded as a rotation. It is an inexhaustible source It is a homoeomerous substance Out of this homoeomerous mixture, came air and aither (fire) For Anaxagoras, this mixture contains the elements of the world The Mixture All things are aggregates of all the stuffs/ingredients/seeds in this original mixture. T4: ...the homoeomerous are the elements e.g. flesh, bone and so on and that air and fire are blends of these and all other seeds; for he says that air and fire are aggregates of all the invisible homoeomeries. That is why everything is generated out of air and fire. The Mixture These stuffs give rise to certain kinds of things and not a random display of things. So it follows that our given world shows up as it does. The original mixture contained all things in potential. F4: ...there are present in them the seeds of all things, possessed of all kinds of shapes, colors, flavors. And one is bound to think that human beings and other beings have been constructed. The Mixture F6: The items of the universe, which is one, are not separate from one another nor cut off from one another with an axe, neither the warm from the cold nor the cold from the warm. Again emphasizing Anaxagoras' principles of everythingineverything and infinite smallness because the mixture, no matter how many times divided is still the same mixture. Nous (Mind) Pure, limitless, independent Nous does not contain any part of the mixture that makes up the world. Nous started the initial rotation of the original mixture. It was first at rest and then started to expand due to this initial rotation. Nous is present in animate objects, but not in inanimate objects. Nous (Mind) F9 (r1): In everything there is everything except the mind, and there are some things in which mind is present too. F10 points out the power that the Mind has over the construction of Anaxagoras' cosmogony. F10: ...it forms every decision about everything, and there is nothing with more power than it. Nous (Mind) Mind decided about combining and dispersal of all things Mind ordered all things as they were and as they are now including the present rotation of the solar system Viewed Nous as selfgoverning so that it was able to rule the universe Anaxagoras' Influence Anaximander and Apeiron
T7: ...in the course of dispersal and the boundless, like things are attracted to one another... (example of Gold in its original state) Anaxagoras' Influence Parmenides and Whatis
He agrees with Parmenides that something does not come from nothing, and that there is no birth and death of whatis. Where they differ is here: While Parmenides believes that whatis is single, continuous and can never be divided, Anaxagoras believes that whatis can be infinitely divided and create a plurality of things to exist. Scientific Notions F17: The sun instills the moon with brightness. F18: What we call a `rainbow' is light in the clouds shining opposite the sun. T9: ...Eclipses of the moon occur when the earth gets in the way... solar eclipses occur when the new moon gets in the way T12: Plants breathe What I Found Interesting The possibility of multiple or parallel universes. They would be the same universe, only different in size because they would all come from the same original mixture. Pertaining this to the show `LOST' to appease my confusion about the latest storyline. Bibliography Waterfield, Robin. The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and the Sophists. Oxford University Press, 2000. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. "Anaxagoras". http://
plato.stanford.edu/entries/anaxagoras/ (accessed February 27, 2010) ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHIL 70A at San Jose State University .