Introduction to PresocraticsA Thematic Approach to Early Greek Philosophy with Key Readings
Introduction to Presocratics presents a succinct introduction to Greek thinkers of the 6th and 5th century BCE and a thematic exploration of the topics and enquiries opened by these first philosophers and scientists of the Western tradition. Offers a concise, thematically organized introduction to the Presocratics Includes a previously unpublished translation of the main fragments of the Presocratics by Classics scholar Rosemary Wright Covers key figures including Thales, Anaximander and Anaximenes of Miletus, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Parmenides and Zeno of Elea, Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus Supplemented with helpful features including a timeline, map of the ancient world, glossary of terms, and index of proper names
Preface viii Chronology xi Reference Guide to the Presocratics xii Map: The Eastern Mediterranean in the Sixth and Fifth Century bce xiv 1 Introduction 1 2 The Philosophers 9 3 Principles 19 4 Cosmos 31 5 Being 41 6 Soul 52 7 Knowledge 62 8 Ethics 71 9 Conclusion 80 Appendix A: Translation of the Main Fragments 82 Appendix B: The Presocratic Sources 116 Appendix C: The Presocratic Legacy 119 Glossary of Greek Terms 131 Glossary of Philosophical Terms 134 Bibliography 141 Index 151
"Anyone who has got his feet wet in the study of ancient philosophy knows that the later hilosophical period one works in, the greater the need is for intimate familiarity with its earlier stages. Since Presocratic philosophy is standardly considered the formative stage of ancient philosophy, Stamatellos’ Introduction to Presocratics offers the best kind of “happy marriage” in which his expertise, as the author of the aforementioned programmatic study of Presocratic presence in Plotinus’ thought, places him in the auspicious position of sharing his knowledge of the earliest and latest stages of ancient philosophy. In such introduction, the stakes are high and the book meets them." (The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition, 1 January 2013) “'...A very good introductory guide for the general public and an invaluable resource for philosophy lecturers struggling to enthuse their undergraduate students." (Classical Review, 1 April 2014) "Writing an introduction to any subject is a difficult task. Stamatellos does do an admirable job of lucidly explaining alien concepts to the novice. There were frequent moments in reading the book when I wished that I had first approached a topic as Stamatellos presents it." (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 1 December 2012)
Giannis Stamatellos is Post Doctoral Researcher at the Center for Neoplatonic Virtue Ethics at the University of Copenhagen. He is the author of Plotinus and the Presocratics (2007).
Despite what is commonly taught, Western philosophy did not begin with Socrates. The roots of Western philosophy and science, in fact, run much deeper than this watershed philosophical figure -- to a series of innovative Greek thinkers of the 6th and 5th century BCE. Introduction to Presocratics presents a succinct introduction to early Greek thought by following a thematic exposition of the topics and enquiries explored by the first philosophers of the Western tradition. Ionian figures such as Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Xenophanes, Heraclitus, and Pythagoras are covered; Eleatics such as Parmenides and Zeno; Pluralists or Neo-Ionians such as Empedocles, Anaxagoras and Democritus. Key areas of Presocratic philosophy are addressed, including principles, cosmos, being, soul, knowledge, and ethics. A brief account of the legacy and reception of the Presocratics in later philosophical traditions is also included. Also featured is an original translation of the main Presocratic fragments by renowned Classics Professor Rosemary Wright. Introduction to Presocratics offers illuminating insights into the true pioneers of philosophical thought in the Western tradition.
“The general public and scholars alike will find Introduction to Presocratics stimulating, engaging and exceptionally useful. Stamatellos’ intriguing and illuminating theme-based approach to this subject and his inclusion of a fresh translation of all the major fragments make this book a “must have” for anyone interested in Presocratic philosophy.” – Robert D. Luginbill, University of Louisville “An excellent introduction to early Greek philosophy - full of information, yet eminently readable and clearly organised. The thematic treatment brings new perspectives and fresh philosophical insights.” – Andrew Smith, University College Dublin “Surveying the key surviving texts theme by theme sooner than man by man, Stamatellos offers the beginner clear and comprehensive insight into the compelling inquiries of the early Greek thinkers.” – Susan Prince, University of Cincinnati “Giannis Stamatellos’ book is a very elegant and finely structured introduction to the fascinating beginnings of Western thought. He has succeeded in making a rather difficult and complex topic extremely accessible and stimulating.” – Mark Beck, University of South Carolina
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