By N.S. Gill
The pre-Socratic philosopher Anaxagoras, who was born in Clazomenae, Asia Minor, c. 500 B.C., spent most of his life in Athens where he associated with Euripides (writer of tragedies) and Pericles (Athenian statesman).
In 430, Anaxagoras was brought to trial for impiety in Athens because his philosophy denied the divinity of all other gods except his principle, nous (mind). He then left Athens to live in Lampsacus (in the Troad) where he died two years later.
Anaxagoras wrote a book On Nature. He believed that the universe was originally an undifferentiated mass until it was worked upon by mind (nous), a spiritual component. (Anaxagoras was the first to attach importance to the concept of mind.) He believed there were no pure stuffs in the universe but that everything shared a part of everything else:
"There is a portion of everything in everything."
Into the chaos in which the seeds of all things were jumbled, mind inserted motion. As it gained speed, a vortex formed and objects separated out.
Sources: Early Greek Philosophers, by Jonathan Barnes.
Examples: A dualist, Anaxagoras' spiritual substance, nous, gave order to the world of atoms.
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