The Relation Between Anaxagoras and Empedocles According to Aristotle, Several Forgotten Ancient Commentators and Some Famous Modern Scholars

Wojciech Wrotkowski

A famous passage in Aristotle’s Metaphysics (984 a8-16) clearly implies that although the Clazomenian sage was born earlier than the philosopher from Acragas, it was Empedocles who was faster in publishing his own works. Surprisingly, it is almost unanimously assumed that this fact is decisive in establishing the hierarchy between Anaxagorasand Empedocles: almost all scholars presume that the older thinker depended heavily uponthe younger. In my article I try to show that in order to maintain such image of the historyof ancient philosophy some famous modern scholars misuse the testimonia and abuse notonly Aristotle and Anaxagoras, but also that decent minority of researchers who feel unableto overlook the fact that – according to Alcidamas – it was Empedocles who had heard Anaxagoras and was jealous of him, not vice versa.


Keywords: Aristotle · Anaxagoras · Empedocles · the Presocratics · Alcidamas · Alexander of Aphrodisias · testimonia · doxography · chronology · hierarchy · philosophical hermeneutics

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