Biography[ edit ] Anaxagoras is believed to have enjoyed some wealth and political influence in his native town of Clazomenae. However, he supposedly surrendered this out of a fear that they would hinder his search for knowledge. Pericles learned to love and admire him, and the poet Euripides derived from him an enthusiasm for science and humanity. His observations of the celestial bodies and the fall of meteorites led him to form new theories of the universal order, and to prediction of the impact of meteorites. Plutarch  says "Anaxagoras is said to have predicted that if the heavenly bodies should be loosened by some slip or shake, one of them might be torn away, and might plunge and fall down to earth". According to Pliny  he was credited with predicting the fall of the meteorite in
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Life and Work Anaxagoras, son of Hegesibulus or Eubulus , was a native of Clazomenae, on the west coast of what is now Turkey. According to Diogenes Laertius see the article on Doxography of Ancient Philosophy Diels-Kranz [DK] 59 A1 , Anaxagoras came from an aristocratic and landed family, but abandoned his inheritance to study philosophy.
We do not know how he acquired his philosophical learning. There is controversy about his time in Athens; Diogenes Laertius says that he came to Athens to study philosophy as a young man. It is clear from their dramas that his work was known to Sophocles, Euripides, and perhaps Aeschylus Seneca suggests in his Natural Questions 4a. The charges against Anaxagoras may have been as much political as religious, because of his close association with Pericles. He retreated to Lampsacus in the eastern Hellespont where he died; ancient reports say that he was much honored there before and after his death.
Although Anaxagoras lived in Athens when Socrates was a youth and young adult, there are no reports that Anaxagoras and Socrates ever met. Anaxagoras is included in the ancient lists of those who wrote only one book: in the Apology, Socrates reports that it could be bought for a drachma. The standard collection of Presocratic texts both fragments and testimonia is H.
Diels and W. Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, in which Anaxagoras is given the identifying number The Greek text and translations can also be found in Gemelli-Marciano, —; Graham, ; and Laks and Most, a and b. For discussion of the sources for the Presocratics, and problems associated with them, see the article on Presocratic Philosophy. It should be kept in mind in reading the following account that scholars disagree and that other interpretations are possible.
According to Simplicius, a 6th 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.
Metaphysical Principles 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 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 observation and 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.
And thus they would be correct to call coming-to-be being mixed together and passing-away being dissociated. DK 59 B17 What seems to us, through perception, to be generation of new entities or destruction of old ones 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 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: When Anaxagoras discovered the old belief that nothing comes from that which is not in any way whatsoever, he did away with coming-to-be, and introduced dissociation in place of coming-to-be. For he foolishly said that all things are mixed with each other, but that as they grow they are dissociated.
For in the same seminal fluid there are hair, nails, veins and arteries, sinew, and bone, and it happens that they are imperceptible because of the smallness of the parts, but when they grow, they gradually are separated off.
For he said that black is in white and white in black. And he laid down the same thing with respect to weights, believing that light is mixed with heavy and vice versa.
DK 59 B10; the passage is from the anonymous scholiast on a 4th c. Nutrition and growth are simply particularly clear instances of the changes that are ruled out as fundamentally real if there is no becoming.
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.
B3[ 3 ] 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.
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 ; see also Marmodoro The Physical Principles 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 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. And because all things were together, nothing was evident on account of smallness; for air and aether covered all things, both being unlimited, for these are the greatest among all things both in amount and in largeness.
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.
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.
Enviar Biografia de Anaxбgoras Anaxбgoras a. Dedicou-se ao estudo da astronomia e da biologia procurando sintetizar e tornar lуgicas as explicaзхes do mundo. Anaxбgoras nasceu em Clazфmenas, na Jфnia, colфnia grega da Бsia Menor, por volta do ano de a. Com vinte anos mudou-se para Atenas. Foi o primeiro filуsofo grego a residir em Atenas, e em pouco tempo, tornou-se a figura principal do grupo de intelectuais reunidos em torno de Pйricles, governante da cidade. Nessa йpoca, Atenas passava por rбpida expansгo econфmica e polнtica que influenciou profundamente o pensamento grego e permitiu o aparecimento de pesquisas e teorias cientнficas inovadoras, onde a origem da vida teve as mais diversas interpretaзхes.
Anaxágoras (500 - 428 a.C.)