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Infinite seeds (Caus)

Anaxagoras understood the natural world as a mixture containing an infinite number of “seeds” which are different in kind (frag. 4) This mixture, as well as every part of it, is infinitely divisible, and the whole and every part of it contains every kind of thing. A major exception is thought or mind (nous), which is not mixed with everything else but which knows everything else and exercises control over the universe by bringing, about the initial movement of the cosmic mixture (frags. 12-14) (Aristotle On the soul Oxford p.XXiii)  

“All things were together, unlimited both in amount and in smallness, for the small, too, was unlimited. And because all things were together, nothing was evident” (59B1)

Everything was mixed together and at rest for an infinite amount of time, and the intelligence instilled change and separated one thing from another. (Aristotle Physics p.185) 

Fishes, Animals & Man

Development of animals out of fishes who came to land, and man out of animals. (Plato Temaeus p.44) 


Anaxagoras also says that when the fishes expel the water through their gills. Fishes breathe by taking in the air which comes to be in their mouth; for a vacuum does not exist (Aristotle On the soul p.138 470b 33) 


All was confusion, and then mind came and arranged things. (Plato Temaeus p.31) 

Anaxagoras wrote a book in which he suggested that the force that brought the world into its present more or less ordered state was nothing other than the mind and the fundamental purpose of philosophy is to understand how the mind thus forgets the world from primordial chaos. (Aristotle Metaphysics Penguin p.XVii)  

The thought is unaffected, and that it possesses nothing in common with other things (Aristotle On the soul p.8 405b 20) 

Anaxagoras owns the conception of thought as impassive and unmixed with anything else. (Aristotle on the soul Oxford p.XXV) 


He says at any rate that it alone of things is simple, unmixed, and pure. And he explains both - that is, knowing and brining about movement - by the simple principle when he says that thought moves everything (Aristotle On the soul p.7 405a 14) 

Since it thinks all things, is unmixed, in order that it may ‘control’ - that is, in order that it may be aware. (Aristotle On the soul p.55 429a 18) 

Anaxagoras, who when asked why one should choose to be born rather than not, replied, “In order to admire the heaven and the order of the universe”. (Aristotle - The Eudemian Ethics Oxford p.Xiii) 


Things will really be for them however they believe. (Aristotle Metaphysics p.18 1009b 26) 

Anaxagoras alleged thesis is that it is (not only possible but) necessary neither to assert nor to deny: ‘ good’ is of course a representative for all other predicates. Against the objection that ‘neither good nor not good’ is itself something true. (Aristotle Metaphysics Oxford p.121 1012a 24) 

Anaxagoras was once asked who was the happiest person. “Not anyone that you would think of”, he replied “but someone who would see very odd to you” Answer to men who thought happiness was fame and money. (Aristotle - The Eudemian Ethics Oxford p. 6) 


Anaxagoras (writing in the mid-5th c.) Claims, “The Greeks [i.e., ordinary people] do not think correctly about coming-to-be and passing-away; for no thing comes to be or passes away, but is mixed together and dissociated from the things that are. And thus they would be correct to call coming-to-be mixing-together and passing-away dissociating” (59B17).

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