There are two perplexing and closely related questions that concern the relation between Anaxagoras' teachings on multitude and on heterogeneity. 1. Why no qualitative difference can be manifest in the original state of the universe in spite of the fact that all possible heterogeneity is supposedly actually present there from eternity? 2. How can heterogeneity become manifest at all after the intervention of nous, given that according to Anaxagoras such a possibility requires the existence of “the smallest” (B 6), which, however, appears to be precluded by the general principle that there is always only “a smaller” and not “the smallest” (B 6)? Our main objective will be to provide an answer to the second question. In order to achieve this, however, we shall have to deal with the first one as well because the answer to it is necessary for understanding the second one correctly. The main problem to be addressed is the striking contradiction contained in the second question, the resolution of which will enable us to explain consistently the emergence of the manifestly heterogeneous world.
If you would like to join the speaker for dinner after the seminar, please email the chair by Tuesday before the workshop.
Workshop in Ancient Philosophy Convenors: Ursula Coope, Simon Shogry and Luca Castagnoli