Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
127. Anaxagoras and His Predecessors 129. The Portions

From Chapter VI., Anaxagoras of Klazomenai

128. "Everything in Everything"
A part of the argument by which Anaxagoras sought to prove this point has been preserved in a corrupt form by Aetios, and Diels has recovered some of the original words from the scholiast on St. Gregory Nazianzene. "We use a simple nourishment," he said, "when we eat the fruit of Demeter or drink water. But how can hair be made of what is not hair, or flesh of what is not flesh?" (fr. 10).41 That is just the sort of question the early Milesians must have asked, only the physiological interest has now definitely replaced the meteorological. We shall find a similar train of reasoning in Diogenes of Apollonia (fr. 2).

The statewent that there is a portion of everything in everything, is not to be understood as referring simply to the original mixture of things before the formation of the worlds (fr. 1). On the contrary, even now "all things are together," and everything, however small and however great, has an equal number of "portions" (fr. 6). A smaller particle of matter could only contain a smaller number of portions, if one of those portions ceased to be; but if anything is, in the full Parmenidean sense, it, is impossible that mere division should make it cease to be (fr. 3). Matter is infinitely divisible; for there is no least thing, any more than there is a greatest. But however great or small a body may be, it contains just the same number of "portions," that is, a portion of everything.

Burnet's Notes


41. Aet. i. 3, 5 (Dox. p. 279). See R. P. 155 f and n. 1. I read καρπὸν with Usener.

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