Early Greek Philosophy by John Burnet, with Burnet's notes
130. Seeds 132. Nous

From Chapter VI., Anaxagoras of Klazomenai

131. "All Things Together"s
From all this it follows that, when "all things were together," and when the different seeds of things were mixed together in infinitely small particles (fr. 1), the appearance presented would be that of one of what had hitherto been regarded as the primary substances. As a matter of fact, they did present the appearance of "air and aether"; for the qualities (things) which belong to these --i.e. the hot and the cold, prevail in quantity over all other things in the universe, and everything is most obviously that of which it has most in it (fr. 12 sub fin.). Here, then, Anaxagoras attaches himself to Anaximenes. The

primary condition of things, before the formation of the worlds, is much the same in both; only, with Anaxagoras, the original mass is no longer the primary substance, but a mixture of innumerable seeds divided into infinitely small parts.

This mass is infinite, like the air of Anaximenes, and it supports itself, since there is nothing surrounding it.51 Further, the seeds of all things which it contains are infinite in number (fr.1). But, as the innumerable seeds may be divided into those in which the portions of cold, moist, dense, and dark prevail, and those which have most of the warm, dry, rare, and light in them, we may say that the original mass was a mixture of infinite Air and of infinite Fire. The seeds of Air, of course, contain "portions" of the "things" that predominate in Fire, and vice versa; but we regard everything as being that of which it has most in it. Lastly, there is no void in this mixture, an addition to the theory made necessary by the arguments of Parmenides. It is, however, worthy of note that Anaxagoras added an experimental proof of this to the purely dialectical one of the Eleatics. He used the klepsydya experiment as Empedokles had done (fr. 100), and also showed the corporeal nature of air by means of inflated skins.52

Burnet's Notes


51. Arist. Phys. Γ, 5. 205 b 1 (R. P. 154 a).

52. Phys. Z, 6. 213 a 22 (R. P. 159): We have a full discussion of the experiments with the klepsydya in Probl. 914 b 9 sqq., a passage which we have already used to illustrate Empedokles, fr. 100. See above, p. 219, n. 2.

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