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Retrieving the Ancients: An Introduction to Greek Philosophy

ISBN: 978-1-4051-0862-1
248 pages
June 2004, Wiley-Blackwell
Retrieving the Ancients: An Introduction to Greek Philosophy (1405108622) cover image
Retrieving the Ancients tells the story of the first philosophers in the West.

  • A clear and engaging introduction to ancient Greek philosophy.
  • Tells the story of the first philosophers in the West, from Thales to Aristotle.
  • Has a strong sense of narrative drive.
  • Treats the history of ancient Greek philosophy dialectically, as a conversation in which each thinker responds to and moves beyond his predecessors.
  • Argues that the works of the ancients are as valuable today as ever.
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Introduction.

Two Reasons to Study Ancient Greek Philosophy.

The Organization and Strategy of This Book.

1: The Presocratics.

Preliminaries.

Before the Beginning: Hesiod.

The Ionian Philosophers of the Sixth Century.

a) The Beginning: Thales of Miletus.

b) The First Debate: Anaximander v. Anaximenes.

c) Sixth-Century Rationalism: Xenophanes and Pythagoras.

d) The Crisis of Sixth-Century Philosophy.

Heraclitus and Parmenides: Extreme Solutions.

a) Heraclitus: Lover of Flux.

b) Parmenides: Champion of Being.

Fifth-Century Elementalism.

a) Democritus: Atomic Theory.

b) Empedocles: Evolution.

c) Anaxagoras.

2: The Sophists and Socrates.

A New Beginning: The Sophists.

Protagoras.

Gorgias.

Socrates.

3: Plato.

Preliminaries.

Plato’s Critique of the Presocratics.

Plato’s Critique of the Sophists.

a) The “Self-Reference” Argument.

b) The Reductio ad Absurdum.

c) “What is it?”.

d) “The Old Quarrel:” Philosophy v. Sophistry.

Recollection.

a) The Phaedo.

b) The Meno.

The Divided Line and the Form of the Good.

a) The Divided Line.

b) The Form of the Good.

Eros.

The Political Implications of the Forms.

4: Aristotle.

Preliminaries.

Aristotle’s Conception of Nature.

a) “By Nature”.

b) Form and Matter.

c) The Four Causes.

Aristotle’s Psychology.

Teleological Ethics.

a) Moral Virtue.

b) Intellectual Virtue.

Natural Politics.

a) The Political Animal.

b) Best Life; Best City.

Conclusion.

References.

Index

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David Roochnik is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston University. His previous publications Of Art and Wisdom: Plato’s Understanding of Techne (1996) and Beautiful City: The Dialectical Character of Plato’s Republic (2003). In addition to his scholarly work in the field of ancient Greek philosophy, he has also published a short story and has recently completed a novel.
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  • A clear and engaging introduction to ancient Greek philosophy.
  • Tells the story of the first philosophers in the West, from Thales to Aristotle.
  • Has a strong sense of narrative drive.
  • Treats the history of ancient Greek philosophy dialectically, as a conversation in which each thinker responds to and moves beyond his predecessors.
  • Argues that the works of the ancients are as valuable today as ever.
See More
"David Roochnik offers a well-paced and highly accessible narrative of ancient Greek thought. Retrieving the Ancients is a much-needed primer for teaching undergraduates the value of early philosophy." Daryl McGowan Tress, Fordham University

"This is a jewel of a book... A must for everyone." Journal of Classics Teaching

"The best written and most lucidly argued single volume survey of ancient Greek philosophy... a book that manages to be bothe philosophically sophisticated yet accessible to undergraduates" Journal of Ancient Philosophy

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