Introducing Greek Philosophy

Introducing Greek Philosophy

Introducing Greek Philosophy

Introducing Greek Philosophy

Synopsis

Aimed at students of classics and of philosophy who would like a taste of the subject before being committed to a full course and at those who have already started and need to find their bearings in what may seem at first a complex maze of names and schools, "Introducing Greek Philosophy" is a concise, lively, philosophically aware introduction to ancient Greek philosophy. The book begins with the Milesians in Asia Minor before moving over to the developments in the western Greek world, then focusing on Socrates, Plato and Aristotle in Athens, finishing with the Hellenistic schools and their arrival in Rome, where the main ideas are set out in the Latin poetry of Lucretius and the prose of Cicero.The book eschews the method of most histories of ancient philosophy of addressing one thinker after another through the centuries. Instead, after a basic mapping of the territory, it takes the great themes that the Greeks were engaged in from the earliest times, and looks at them individually, their development in argument and counter-argument, from the beginnings of recorded Greek history, through the various upheavals of tyrannies, democracies, oligarchies and kingships, to their introduction into Rome in the first century BC.

Excerpt

In the following pages we shall meet a remarkable group of thinkers who faced many of the main issues that concern humanity, and developed the discipline of philosophy as a way of clarifying and understanding them. Where only fragments and summaries survive, the conclusions are elusive, and discussions of the original views are still open-ended. On the other hand, even where there is a considerable body of original texts available, as is the case with Plato and Aristotle, although they have been subject to centuries of interpretation, analysis and commentary, their core meanings remain debatable. We can therefore join the Greeks in their exploration of perennial issues not in the spirit of reading history but more in the expectation of meeting ideas that are worth further investigation. These philosophers challenged their predecessors and competed with each other in the quest for solutions, and we too can, as it were, sit down with them and discuss the same problems. With Greek plays, successive generations have found ways of interpreting the tragedies that throw new light on their dramatic developments. Watching a modern-dress Oedipus, in an English translation, can be a gripping and emotional experience. Similarly with philosophy: despite the unfamiliar background and the language differences there can still be engagement with the issues involved. A serious study of Greek philosophy is in itself a philosophical exercise, demanding but rewarding.

Introducing Greek Philosophy starts with the necessary chronological outline of the main figures involved and their interconnections in . . .

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