Single Idea 5118

[catalogued under 16. Persons / F. Free Will / 1. Nature of Free Will]

Full Idea

Anaxagoras says that intellect (which is a cause of change) is not affected by or mixed in with anything else; for this is the only way in which it can cause change, while being itself changeless, and control things without mixing with them.

Gist of Idea

Anaxagoras says mind remains pure, and so is not affected by what it changes


report of Anaxagoras (fragments/reports [c.460 BCE]) by Aristotle - Physics 256b24

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Physics', ed/tr. Waterfield,Robin [OUP 1996], p.202

A Reaction

I suggest that this is the germ of the original concept of freewill - of the mind as somehow outside the causal processes of the world, so that it can initiate change without itself being affected by other causes. Aristotle says he's right; I disagree.