What Is Spermata, What Does It Mean?

What Is Spermata, What Does It Mean?

July 2, 2021 Off By Felso

Spermata is a word that can be translated into Turkish as “Seeds”. This term refers to a very important subject of Ancient Greek philosophy and was first used by the atomist thinker Anaxagoras.

According to what we read from Aristotle, Anaxagoras removed the theory of “spermata” from Empedocles’ universe design. While Empedocles claimed that the universe consists of four elements, he said that these elements were divided into very small particles and arranged side by side. But he argued that these particles cannot be detected because of their smallness.

According to him, just as these particles form bodies, all changes in bodies take place through the union (love) and separation (hate) of these particles entering through tiny external holes. These particles were material as well as divine (they were equally spiritual, because they were joined and separated by a spiritual impulse like love and hate). These floating idealists described this theory of Empedocles as “psychophysical atomism”.


According to Anaxagoras, everything in the universe consists of an infinite number of small germs, or spermata in Greek. What is called change is nothing but the coming together and dissociation of this infinite number of spermata.

All visible things in the universe are made up of a certain number of spermatozoa combined in some way. Even though a single spermata has a pure and simple structure when considered on its own, nothing is found in a simple form in nature; because these simple spermata always come together to a certain extent in nature and separate from each other.


Every structure made up of many parts is doomed to fall apart; because the pieces can be dispersed again in the way they come together and return to their former state. However, since each of the spermatozoa is of a simple structure, they never disappear. Thus, spermata are not only infinite in number but also structurally immortal. They always have been and always will be.

Thus, they are eternal, but the things they create by coming together can of course fall apart. In this respect, nothing in nature is immortal. Only each of their basic elements, spermata, is immortal one by one.


All natural objects are impure and composite. But there is only one exception to this. There is a structure called nous in the universe, which is pure and simple just like spermata. Because of this feature, it never disappears. Then it would not be wrong to say that the universe consists of an infinite number of spermata and nous.

According to Anaxagoras, everything in the universe consists of the merger and separation of an infinite number of spermatozoa. Although spermata form all compound structures, they are not themselves compound and therefore do not disappear.

What Anaxagoras is trying to do with this painting is to try to overcome the distinction made between appearance and reality. Because the elements that make up the visible universe are at the same time immortal, eternal and eternal like the existence of Parmenides. In this case, the visible things that keep changing are formed by a reality that remains unchanged, and this reality in a way becomes the basis of the changing appearance.

All change in the universe consists of the coming together and separation of these basic elements, namely seeds. But what is the source, the main driver of this movement? Undoubtedly, this is nous. Nous regulates and moves the changes, mergers and dissociations of all these spermatids in the universe.

Anaxagoras is the pioneering philosopher of the concept of nous.

It has often been asked what the nous consists of. Presumably, Anaxagoras foresaw very pure, much clearer and more refined seeds besides spermata, and thought that the nous consisted of such seeds.

It is clear that nous, which Anaxagoras sees as a principle of action, represents the power of will and reason in Ancient Greek thought. It also seems largely clear that Anaxagoras attributed a kind of divinity to nous, and it is understood that he followed in the footsteps of some thinkers before him.

For example, before him, Heraclitus had argued that there was a purpose and order in the universe and that it was the logos that drove this order. Xenophanes also prioritized Anaxagoras, in a sense, by saying that God moves everything, and that he does this with the power of reason.

So Nous;

It is a moving force.
It also plans the universe in certain places.

Nous, as a simple structure like spermata, is both immortal and directs the change in the universe and implements a purposeful design in the universe.

The fact that Anaxagoras ascribed both a moving and a planning power to Nous made him one of the first teleological (purposeful) thinkers. In other words, the universe has a purpose because it was consciously planned by a purposeful mind and moved according to this plan. The purpose of man, then, is to understand this purpose.


The seeds of Anaxagoras are also a kind of atom. go to Anaxagoras