A History of Philosophy

A History of Philosophy

A History of Philosophy

A History of Philosophy

Excerpt

Philosophy originated in the ancient world among the Greek people. Unquestionably they were far superior to other ancient races in those intellectual traits which philosophical reflection presupposes--curiosity, free imagination, freshness of outlook upon life, intellectual ambition, and broad and comprehensive vision. After two centuries of remarkable development, their philosophy reached its highest points in the fourth century. And long after the states of Greece had lost their political independence--first to the Macedonian empire and later to the empire of Rome--Greek philosophical "wisdom" dominated the thought of the Mediterranean world. Ancient philosophy becomes, therefore, almost synonymous with Greek philosophy.

Plato (427-347 B.C.) is the earliest Greek philosopher whose extensive writings have been preserved down to our own day in anything even approximating their entirety. But Plato's thought was shaped and informed by a philosophical tradition which reached back two centuries. From these pre-Platonic centuries very scant literary records remain. More or less extensive quotations from the earlier philosophers have been preserved by later writers. The interpretation of these fragments will probably always remain uncertain in many details. But from these fragments, together with the second-hand accounts given of their authors by writers of a later age, critical scholarship can reconstruct with a fair degree of accuracy, it seems, the main outlines of philosophical history during those two centuries of original and important speculation, the fifth and sixth centuries.

In approaching the study of Greek philosophy, one needs to bear in mind two facts: (1) that the ancient Greek world was not restricted . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.