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Anaxagoras was a Greek philosopher who is believed to have lived from 500 to 428 BCE. Our awareness of him comes mostly from the later writings of philosophers who refer to the writings of Anaxagoras. However, some fragments of his writing have survived.His theories of the mind eventually evolved into the

He held many beliefs that were considered quite unconventional at the time. For instance, he declared the sun and stars to be flaming stones. Most of the great thinkers of his time believed that the stars were instead the home of spirits.

He also believed that intelligence was a mechanical driving force for the world, but did not posit that this intelligence was working with a purpose. Instead he believed that the order of the world had causes such as air and water. It was also written by St. Irenaeus of Lyons that Anaxagoras believed "animals were formed from seeds falling down from heaven upon earth."

Although he held many radical beliefs, perhaps his greatest heresy was the belief that the conventional gods were mere abstractions which mankind had given anthropomorphic attributes. Anaxagoras was charged with impiety and was imprisoned. Although he was in danger of a death sentence, his life was saved by the protection of Pericles (a famous statesman and orator).

There are many accounts of what followed, but it is generally believed that Anaxagoras was forced to pay a fine, and then banished. He lived out the rest of his life in exile.

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