Anaxagoras Analysis

Further Reading

(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

Barnes, Jonathan. The Presocratic Philosophers. London: Routledge, 1993. Includes a chapter on Anaxagoras, reconstructing his philosophy from a careful examination of the fragments.

Davison, J. A. “Protagoras, Democritus, and Anaxagoras.” Classical Quarterly 3 (1953): 33-45. Establishes Anaxagoras’s position vis-à-vis other Greek philosophers and shows his influence on the “atomist” school that succeeded him. Also contains some information on his early life not available elsewhere in English and argues for an early date for his exile from Athens.

Gershenson, Daniel E., and Daniel A. Greenberg. Anaxagoras and the Birth of Physics. New York: Blaisdell, 1964. This controversial work suggests that the Anaxagoras fragments are not really the words of Anaxagoras, but rather his words as interpreted by later philosophers, notably Simplicius, who succeeded him. Contains a good, if somewhat theoretical, explanation of Anaxagoras’s system.

Guthrie, W. K. C. A History of Greek Philosophy. Vol. 2. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1965. Contains the most complete account available of Anaxagoras’s life. Puts his life and teachings in the context of his times.

Kirk, Geoffrey S., John E. Raven, and M. Schofield. The Presocratic Philosophers. 2d ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983. One chapter contains a scholarly account of Anaxagoras’s philosophy; includes Greek text of fragments.

Mansfield, J. “The Chronology of Anaxagoras’s Athenian Period and the Date of His Trial.” Mnemosyne 33 (1980): 17-95. Offers convincing arguments concerning Anaxagoras’s arrival in Athens, his trial, and his banishment. Also contains references to Anaxagoras’s relationship with Pericles and the political motives behind the former’s exile.

Mourelatos, Alexander P. D. The Pre-Socratics: A Collection of Critical Essays. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993. Includes two essays by eminent scholars, Gregory Vlastos and G. B. Kerford, which attempt to reconstruct Anaxagoras’s philosophy in a way that makes it logically consistent. Both focus on his materialism.

Schofield, Malcolm. An Essay on Anaxagoras. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1980. A clear, witty exposition of the philosophy of Anaxagoras and his importance in the history of philosophy. Perhaps the best work on Anaxagoras’s system and its meaning available in English.

Taylor, A. E. “On the Date of the Trial of Anaxagoras.” Classical Quarterly 11 (1917): 81-87. A good discussion of the backdrop against which Anaxagoras’s sojourn in Athens was played and the political and intellectual milieu during which his book was written.