Early Greek Philosophy & Other Essays Collected Works, Volume Two

By Friedrich Nietzsche

Page 92

through intellect, and that that which man brings about only
under the guidance of the idea of purpose, must have been brought about
by Nature through reflection and ideas of purpose. (Schopenhauer, "The
World As Will And Idea," vol. ii., Second Book, chap. 26: On Teleology).
Conceived in the manner of Anaxagoras, however, the order and
appropriateness of things on the contrary is nothing but the immediate
result of a blind mechanical motion; and only in order to cause this
motion, in order to get for once out of the dead-rest of the Chaos,
Anaxagoras assumed the free-willed Nous who depends only on Itself.
He appreciated in the Nous just the very quality of being a thing of
chance, a chance agent, therefore of being able to act unconditioned,
undetermined, guided neither by causes nor by purposes.

Notes for a Continuation

(Early Part of 1873)


That this total conception of the Anaxagorean doctrine must be
right, is proved most clearly by the way in which the successors
of Anaxagoras, the Agrigentine Empedocles and the atomic teacher
Democritus in their counter-systems actually criticised and improved
that doctrine. The method of this critique is more than anything a
continued renunciation in that spirit of natural science mentioned
above, the law of economy applied to the interpretation of nature.
That hypothesis, which explains the existing world with the smallest
expenditure of assumptions and means is to have preference: for in such
a hypothesis is to be found the least amount of arbitrariness, and in
it free play with possibilities is prohibited. Should there be two
hypotheses which both explain the world, then a strict test must be
applied as to which of the two better satisfies that demand of economy.
He who can manage this explanation with the simpler and more known
forces, especially the mechanical ones, he who deduces the existing
edifice of the world out of the smallest possible number of forces,
will always be preferred to him who allows the more complicated and
less-known forces, and these moreover in greater number, to carry on a
world-creating play. So then we see Empedocles endeavouring to remove
the _superfluity_ of hypotheses from the doctrine of Anaxagoras.

The first hypothesis which falls as unnecessary is that of the
Anaxagorean Nous, for its assumption is much too complex to explain
anything so simple as motion. After all it is only necessary to explain
the two kinds of motion: the motion of a body towards another, and the
motion away from another.


If our present Becoming is a segregating, although not a complete one,
then Empedocles asks: what prevents complete segregation? Evidently a
force works against

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