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first to make an exact calculation of the size and distance of the heavenly bodies, it need only be remarked that those who have so greatly extolled his labours must have overlooked how incompatible such discoveries are with a system which assumes that the earth is cylindrical in shape, and kept in the midst of the heavens by the atmosphere; that the sun is farther off than the fixed stars ; and that each of the heavenly bodies is made to revolve by means of a crystalline wheel.
The philosopher whose views we have next to consider is Anaxagoras of Clazomene, the friend and master of Pericles, Euripides, and Socrates. Like several of his predecessors, he had visited Egypt. Among his disciples were numbered some of the most eminent men of those times.
The fundamental principle of his philosophy was the recognition of the unchangeability of the universe as a Anaxagoras
whole, the variety of forms that we see being
produced by new arrangements of its constituent unchangeability of the parts. Such a doctrine includes, of course, the
idea of the eternity of matter. Anaxagoras says, “ Wrongly do the Greeks suppose that aught begins or ceases to be, for nothing comes into being or is destroyed, but all is an aggregation or secretion of pre-existent things, so that all becoming might more correctly be called becoming-mixed, and all corruption becoming-separate." In such a statement we cannot fail to remark that the Greek is fast passing into the track of the Egyptian and the Hindu. In some respects his views recall those of the chaos of Anaximander, as when he says, “ Together were all things infinite in number and smallness; nothing was distinguishable. Before they were sorted, while all was The primal together, there was no quality noticeable.” To
the first moving force which arranged the parts of things out of the chaos, he gave the designation of the Intellect,” rejecting Fate as an empty name, and imputing all things to Reason. He made no distinction between the Soul and Intellect. His tenets evidently include a dualism indicated by the moving force and the moved mass, an opposition between the corporeal and mental. This indicated that for philosophy there are two separate
routes, the physical and intellectual. While Reason is thus the prime mover in his philosophy, he likewise employed many subordinate agents in the government of thingsfor instance, air, water, and fire, being evidently unable to explain the state of nature in a satisfactory way by the operation of the Intellect alone. We recognize Cosmogony of in the details of his system ideas derived from Anaxagoras. former ones, such as the settling of the cold and dense below, and the rising of the warm and light above. In the beginning the action of Intellect was only partial; that which was primarily moved was only imperfectly sorted, and contained in itself the capability of many separations. From this point his system became a cosmogony, showing how the elements and fogs, stones, stars, and the sea, were produced. These explanations, as might be anticipated, have no exactness. Among his primary elements are many incongruous things, such as cold, colour, fire, gold, lead, corn, marrow, blood, &c. This doctrine implied that in compound things there was not a formation, but an arrangement. It required, therefore, many elements instead of a single one. Flesh is made of fleshy particles, bones of bony, gold of golden, lead of leaden, wood of wooden, &c. These analogous constituents are homoeomeriæ. Of an infinite number of kinds, they composed the infinite all, which is a mixture of them. From such conditions Anaxagoras proves that all the parts of an animal body pre-exist in the food, and are merely collected therefrom. As to the phenomena of life, he explains it on his doctrine of dualism between mind and matter; he teaches that sleep is produced by the reaction of the latter on the former. Even plants he regards as only rooted animals, motionless, but having sensations and desires; he imputes the superiority of man to the mere fact of his having hands. He explains our mental perceptions upon the hypothesis that we have naturally within us the contraries of all the qualities of external things; and that, when we consider an object, we become aware of the preponderance of those qualities in our mind which are deficient in it. Hence all sensation is attended with pain. His doctrine of the production of animals was founded on the action of the sunlight on the miry earth.
Doubts whether we have any criterion of truth.
The earth he places in the centre of the world, whither it was carried by a whirlwind, the pole being originally in the zenith ; but, when animals issued from the mud, its position was changed by the Intellect, so that there might be suitable climates. In some particulars his crude guesses present amusing anticipations of subsequent discoveries. Thus he maintained that the moon has mountains, and valleys like the earth ; that there have been grand epochs in the history of our globe, in which it has been successively modified by fire and water; that the hills of Lampsacus would one day be under the sea, if time did not too soon fail. As to the nature of human knowledge, Anaxagoras, as
serted that by the Intellect alone do we become acquainted with the truth, the senses being altogether untrustworthy. He illustrated this by
putting a drop of coloured liquid into a quantity of clear water, the eye being unable to recognize any change. Upon such principles also he asserted that snow is not white, but black, since it is composed of water, of which the colour is black; and hence he drew such conclusions as that“ things are to each man according as they seem to him.” It was doubtless the recognition of the unreliability of the senses that extorted from him the well-known complaint: “Nothing can be known; nothing can be learned; nothing can be certain; sense is limited ; intellect is weak; life is short.”
The biography of Anaxagoras is not without interest. Born in affluence, he devoted all his means to philosophy, and in his old age encountered poverty and want. He was accused by the superstitious Athenian populace of Atheism and impiety to the gods, since he asserted that the sun and moon consist of earth and stone, and that the so-called divine miracles of the times were nothing more than common natural effects. For these reasons, and also because of the Magianism of his doctrine-for he taught the antagonism of mind and matter, a dogma of the Anaxagorasis detested Persians—he was thrown into prison, persecuted. condemned to death, and barely escaped through the influence of Pericles. He fled to Lampsacus, where he ended his days in exile. His vainglorious countrymen,
however, conferred honour upon his memory in their customary exaggerated way, boasting that he was the first to explain the phases of the moon, the nature of solar and lunar eclipses, that he had the power of foretelling future events, and had even predicted the fall of a meteoric stone.
From the biography of Anaxagoras, as well as of several of his contemporaries and successors, we may learn that a popular opposition was springing up against philosophy, not limited to a mere social protest, but carried out into political injustice. The antagonism between learning and Polytheism was becoming every day more distinct. Of the philosophers, some were obliged to flee into exile, some suffered death. The natural result of such a state of things was to force them to practise concealment and mystification, as is strikingly shown in the history of the Pythagoreans.
Of Pythagoras, the founder of this sect, but little is known with certainty ; even the date of his Pythagoras, birth is contested. Probably he was born at biography of. Samos about B.c. 540. If we were not expressly told so, we should recognize from his doctrines that he had been in Egypt and India. Some eminent scholars, who desire on all occasions to magnify the learning of ancient Europe, depreciate as far as they can the universal testimony of antiquity that such was the origin of the knowledge of Pythagoras, asserting that the constitution of the Egyptian priesthood rendered it impossible for a foreigner to become initiated. They forget that the ancient system of that country had been totally destroyed in the great revolution which took place more than a century before those times. If it were not explicitly stated by the ancients that Pythagoras lived for twenty-two years in Egypt, there is sufficient internal evidence in his story to prove that he had been there a long time. As a connoisseur can detect the hand of a master by the style of a picture, so one who has devoted attention to the old systems of thought sees, at a glance, the Egyptian in the philosophy of Pythagoras.
He passed into Italy during the reign of Tarquin the Proud, and settled at Crotona, a Greek colonial city on the Bay of Tarentum. At first he established a school, but,
favoured by local dissensions, he gradually organized from the youths who availed themselves of his instructions a secret political society. Already it had passed into a maxim
among the learned Greeks that it is not advantageous to communicate knowledge too freely to the people— a bitter experience in persecutions seemed to demonstrate that the maxim was founded on truth. The step from a secret philosophical society to a political conspiracy is but short. Pythagoras appears to have taken it. The disciples who were admitted to his scientific secrets after a period of probation and process of examination constituted a ready instrument of intrigue against the state, the issue of which, after a time, appeared in the supplanting of the ancient senate and the exaltation of Pythagoras and his club to the administration of government. The actions of men in all times are determined by similar principles; and as it would be now with such a conspiracy, so it was then; for, though the Pythagorean influence spread from Crotona to other Italian towns, an overwhelming reaction soon set in, the innovators were driven into exile, their institutions destroyed, and their founder fell a victim to his enemies.
The organization attempted by the Pythagoreans is an exception to the general policy of the Greeks. The philosophical schools had been merely points of reunion for those entertaining similar opinions ; but in the state they can hardly be regarded as having had any political existence.
It is difficult, when the political or religious feelings of men have been engaged, to ascertain the truth of events in which they have been concerned ; deception, and falsehood, seem to be licensed. In the midst of the troubles befalling Italy as the consequence of these Pythagorean machinations, it is impossible to ascertain facts with certainty. One party exalts Pythagoras to a superhuman state; it pictures him majestic and impassive, clothed in robes of white, with a golden coronet around his brows, listening to the music of the spheres, or seeking relaxation in the more humble hymns of Homer, Hesiod, and Thales ; lost in the contemplation of Nature, or rapt in ecstasy in his meditations on God; manifesting his descent from Apollo or Hermes by the working of miracles, predicting future