Anaxagoras - Anaxagoras 1 Like Empedocles Anaxagoras denied...

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Anaxagoras 1. Like Empedocles, Anaxagoras denied that there could be any coming into being or passing away ( 18 =B17): The Greeks are wrong to accept coming to be and perishing, for no thing comes to be, nor does it perish, but they are mixed together from things that are and they are separated apart. And so they would be correct to call coming to be being mixed together, and perishing being separated apart. 2. And, like Empedocles, he thinks that there is genuine qualitative difference among things. But, unlike Empedocles, he does not limit himself to 4 elements. In their place, he helps himself to an infinity of different stuffs. 3. For Anaxagoras, not only Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, but also blood, gold, hair, bone, etc., are all elemental , not reducible to more primitive parts. Why does he hold this? Cf. Robinson (p. 176): According to Empedocles, bone is made up of earth, air, fire, and water, blended in a certain proportion. It should be possible, therefore, to break it down again into these elements. The difficulty is that when this is done the bone ceases to be bone any longer; and if Parmenides is right, this is impossible. If bone is , it cannot cease to be. 4. Moreover, Anaxagoras seems to have reasoned that if bone is made up of those elements in that proportion, you should be able to generate bone out of something else, that is not bone. But Anaxagoras tried to be a good Parmenidean. As he writes ( 11 =B10): For how could hair come from not hair or flesh from not flesh? 5. How does Anaxagoras propose to get out of this difficulty? Robinson again: Anaxagoras sought to evade this difficulty by insisting that bone is homoiomerous , i.e., made up of parts having the same nature as the whole. No matter how far it is broken down, what remains is bone. Bone is not made up of other elements. Every part of bone has the same nature as the whole. Every part of bone is bone; every part of gold is gold, etc. This is Anaxagoras’s notorious principle of Homoiomereity (or uniformity, lit. “like-partedness”): (H) Every part of any kind of stuff, S, is itself S. It is controversial whether Anaxagoras maintained (H), which is not asserted in any fragments. There is evidence for it in the testimonia, however. Cf. Aristotle’s summaries in 26 (= Aristotle, De Caelo 302a28-b3) and 27 =A46: 26 : Anaxagoras says the opposite of Empedocles about the elements. . . . For the homoiomerous things (I mean flesh and bone and each of the things of that sort) are elements, but air and fire are mixtures of these and of all the other seeds, for each of them is a conglomeration of invisible [amounts] of all the homoiomerous things. 27 : Anaxagoras . . . says that the elements are unlimited in number. For he makes the elements homoiomerous things, such as bone and flesh and marrow, and each of the others whose parts have the same name [as the whole]. 6.
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course PHI PHI2010 taught by Professor Jorgerigol during the Fall '09 term at Broward College.

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Anaxagoras - Anaxagoras 1 Like Empedocles Anaxagoras denied...

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