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Introduction to Presocratics: A Thematic Approach to Early Greek Philosophy with Key Readings

Introduction to Presocratics: A Thematic Approach to Early Greek Philosophy with Key Readings

Giannis Stamatellos

ISBN: 978-0-470-65503-0

Apr 2012, Wiley-Blackwell

176 pages

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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  • Includes a previously unpublished translation of the main fragments of the Presocratics by Classics scholar Rosemary Wright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

“'...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)

"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, tamatellos’ 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)

"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)