Cause and Explanation in Ancient Greek Thought

Synopsis

R. J. Hankinson traces the history of ancient Greek thinking about causation and explanation, from its earliest beginnings through more than a thousand years to the middle of the first millennium of the Christian era. The ancient Greeks were the first Western civilization to subject the ideas of cause and explanation to rigorous and detailed analysis, and to attempt to construct theories about them on the basis of logic and experience. Hankinson examines the ways in which they dealt with questions about how and why things happen as and when they do, about the basic constitution and structure of things, about function and purpose, laws of nature, chance, coincidence, and responsibility. Such diverse questions are unified by the fact that they are all demands for an account of the world that will render it amenable to prediction and control; they are therefore at the root of both philosophical and scientific enquiry. Hankinson offers a rich harvest of information and a fresh panoramic view of the origins and development of these kinds of enquiry.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1998