Everything in everything : Anaxagoras’s metaphysics by Anna Marmodoro

By Anna Marmodoro

Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (Vth century BCE) is healthier identified within the background of philosophy for his stance that there's a percentage of every thing in every thing. He places ahead this idea of utmost blend as an answer to the matter of swap he and his contemporaries inherited from Parmenides - that what's can't come from what's no longer (and vice versa). but, for historical and smooth students alike, the metaphysical importance of Anaxagoras's place has confirmed tough to figuring out. In Everything in Everything, Anna Marmodoro bargains a clean interpretation of Anaxagoras's thought of blend, arguing for its soundness and likewise relevance to modern debates in metaphysics. For Anaxagoras the elemental components of truth are the opposites (hot, chilly, rainy, dry, etc.), which Marmodoro argues are situations of actual causal powers. The unchanging opposites compose mereologically, forming (phenomenologically) emergent wholes. every thing within the universe (except nous) derives from the opposites. the other exist as forever partitioned; they are often scattered all over and be in every thing. Mardomoro additional indicates that their severe combination is made attainable by means of the omni-presence and for that reason com-presence within the universe, that is in flip facilitated via the unlimited divisibility of the opposites. Anaxagoras tackles the logical outcomes of the unlimited divisibility of the weather. he's the 1st ante litteram 'gunk lover' within the historical past of metaphysics. He additionally has a different belief of (non-material) gunk and a different strength ontology, which Marmodoro refers to as 'power gunk'. Marmodoro investigates the character of energy gunk and the explanatory software of the idea that for Anaxagoras, for his conception of utmost mix. when so much defenders of an atomless universe these days argue for cloth gunk as a conceptual chance (only), Anaxagoras argues for energy gunk because the ontology of nature.

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If we suppose that the opposites are causal powers, Anaxagoras can be thought to have a power ontology only if all there is in his system is a power and/​or can be reduced to powers. Regarding nous and the seeds, we will see in ­chapter 5 that they too are powers. Regarding stuff, my position is that it can be metaphysically reduced to the opposites. There is no scholarly consensus on the this point. In support of my interpretation I will here engage with an objection to this purported reduction by Daniel Graham (2004), as representative of that line of thinking.

He writes, The phenomenal stuffs … are … mixtures in which a given element iterates its own properties at the phenomenal level; the properties of the phenomenal stuff are not a function of several primitive elements, but the expression of a single element. (2004: 4) But, if this is so, the ontology attributed to Anaxagoras lacks an account of properties, and in fact, of properties that surface at the phenomenal level. I submit this is an uncharitable interpretation of Anaxagoras’s system. ; in short, they are powerful.

Mourelatos (1987) finds this position widespread among Parmenides’s immediate successors: It is important to note that when the Pluralists speak of a dynamis or “power” present in a fundamental constituent, they must be taken to imply a power that is continuously, even eternally manifest; nothing like the Aristotelian scheme of potencies that are triggered into actualities can be presupposed; nothing like Aristotelian qualitative alteration or qualitative interaction can be envisaged.  For instance, in the Theaetetus, at 197b–​d, where Plato distinguishes possessing from having a coat, and by analogy, possessing and having knowledge.

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