A question about (a minor point of) philosophy Plutarch's Pericles

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donhamiltontx
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A question about (a minor point of) philosophy Plutarch's Pericles

Post by donhamiltontx » Tue May 14, 2019 5:26 pm

The following passage from Plutarch's Pericles left me with a question:

(4) οἱ δὲ τῆς αἰτίας τὴν εὕρεσιν ἀναίρεσιν εἶναι λέγοντες τοῦ σημείου οὐκ ἐπινοοῦσιν ἅμα τοῖς θείοις καὶ τὰ τεχνητὰ τῶν συμβόλων ἀθετοῦντες, ψόφους τε δίσκων καὶ φῶτα πυρσῶν καὶ γνωμόνων ἀποσκιασμούς · ὧν ἕκαστον αἰτίᾳ τινὶ καὶ κατασκευῇ σημεῖον εἶναί τινος πεποίηται. ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἴσως ἑτέρας ἐστὶ πραγματείας.

Pericles 6.4, the Perseus version.

After just discussing the root cause of Pericles' squill-shaped head, Plutarch drifts off into that short and puzzling discussion about a philosophical point.

Do we know which philosopher made these claims? Plutarch has been relating the influence of Anaxagoras on Pericles, so maybe Anaxagoras is the guilty one. The translations I have access to shed no light on this matter: Robin Waterfield's Oxford World Classics translation,
Bernadotte Perrin's translation on Perseus, nor the translation by Philip Remacle (?) here: http://mercure.fltr.ucl.ac.be/Hodoi/con ... ture/3.htm, accessed 14 May 2019

This is Perrin's version:
[4] And those who declare that the discovery of the cause, in any phenomenon, does away with the meaning, do not perceive that they are doing away not only with divine portents, but also with artificial tokens, such as the ringing of gongs, the language of fire-signals, and the shadows of the pointers on sundials. Each of these has been made, through some causal adaptation, to have some meaning. However, perhaps this is matter for a different treatise.
Perseus, http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... ection%3D4, accessed 14 May 2019

Can anyone shed any light on this?
ἐς Τροίαν πειρώμενοι ἦνθον ᾿Αχαιοί,
καλλίστα παίδων: πείρᾳ θην πάντα τελεῖται.
Theocritus, Idyll 15

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