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Anaxagoras (circa 500 - 428 BCE)

A contemporary of Socrates and Pericles, Anaxagoras was born in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey) but lived in Athens for several decades. His philosophy is based on a concept of eternal, changeless Mind that governs the universe. Anticipating in some respects our own understanding of atomic physics, Anaxagoras believed that objects in the universe are composed of particles that give them their particular characteristics.