It is important to recognize that the problem dealt with by Plato in the central part of the Sophist is one which arises from the use of certain Greek phrases, and has no necessary or direct connexion with metaphysics. We tend to obscure this fact if we use English terms such as ‘Being’, ‘Reality’, ‘Existence’, etc., in discussing the dialogue, and indeed make it almost impossible to understand what Plato is trying to do. It is the way in which die (...) Greek terms ỗν and μή ỗν and other such terms are used by the ‘sophists’ which gives rise to the problem. (shrink)
The great number of contradictory statements which confront us when we examine the various explanations of Anaxagoras' philosophy make it more than usually important to decide what is to be admitted as first-hand evidence and what is not. I purpose, then, to begin by accepting the barest minimum of data, and I shall try to exclude any direct comments upon Anaxagoras' work by later writers. Sufficient justification for such a course may be found in the bewildering masses of confusion which (...) have gathered around his teaching. (shrink)
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The former part of this paper attempted to show— 1. That in Anaxagoras' scheme of physics the following substances were elements: The animal substances ; The vegetable substances ; The so-called Opposites ; and 2. That there is no evidence that Anaxagoras asserted any substances to be homoeomerous, and that, even if he had done so, the word ‘homoeomerous’ does not bear the meanings often attached to it by those theories which assume he made the assertion. The meaning of is, (...) μοιομερς is, not ‘simple in substance,’ i.e. ‘elementary,’ but ‘simple in formation.’. (shrink)
The present essay is intended to supply amplification, and where necessary correction, to my previous article on Anaxagoras' philosophy. Since its publication important essays on the same subject have been written by Mr. Cyril Bailey and by Mr. F. M. Cornford, and the present essay is also an attempt to examine some of the theories put forward in them. There are one or two points which may be stated at the outset. The conclusions which I put forward five years ago (...) I still believe to be valid. Some of the presentation of the evidence, however, I now see to be misleading and inadequate, notably the treatment of Aristotle's evidence, which I now hope to deal with more fully, and to show that it lends even stronger support to my thesis. I should also say that my former use of ‘Elements’ as a convenient collective term to refer to the four Empedoclean Elements has proved confusing, since it was never intended to suggest that these substances were elements in Anaxagoras' system. I now refer to them by their names in full. (shrink)