In A Presocratics Reader, Anaxagoras states his theory that the world is composed of not one, but of many kinds of material things. At first, I found myself questioning Anaxagoras’ judgement. After more in depth reading and understanding, Anaxagoras’ beliefs became more clear.
Anaxagoras’ was said to have predicted the fall of a meteorite in 467 BCE. This astronomical prediction connects to Thales’ prediction of an eclipse in 585 BCE. Although there is correlation between the two thinkers, Anaxagoras creates his own theory against what Thales had thought. While Thales explains the world through water in one material way, Anaxagoras believes the world is composed of many different material things. He divides this theory into two parts: underived/ultimate things, such as things when you cut in half, there is more of some, and derived/non-ultimate things, such as things when you cut in half, there is no longer some. According to Anaxagoras, the underived and ultimate things that have been there since the beginning need a nous, or a mind. This mind completes the material things because it directs and controls these things.
Understanding Anaxagoras’ theory at first was extremely difficult, especially trying to differ underived and ultimate things from derived and non-ultimate things. Now, after figuring out examples for both, I understand his theory and believe it is a reasonable way to explain the world by using material things.