By Peter Adamson
Classical Philosophy is the 1st of a chain of books within which Peter Adamson goals finally to offer a whole background of philosophy, extra completely but in addition extra enjoyably than ever earlier than. in brief, full of life chapters, according to the preferred History of Philosophy podcast, he bargains an available, funny, and specific examine the emergence of philosophy with the Presocratics, the probing questions of Socrates, and the 1st complete flowering of philosophy with the dialogues of Plato and the treatises of Aristotle. the tale is instructed "without any gaps," discussing not just such significant figures but additionally much less often mentioned subject matters just like the Hippocratic Corpus, the Platonic Academy, and the function of girls in historical philosophy. in the considered Plato and Aristotle, the reader will locate in-depth introductions to significant works, similar to the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics, that are handled intimately that's strange in an advent to old philosophy. Adamson seems to be at interesting yet much less often learn Platonic dialogues just like the Charmides and Cratylus, and Aristotle's rules in zoology and poetics. This complete assurance permits him to take on old discussions in all components of philosophy, together with epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of technology, ethics and politics. recognition is usually given to the old and literary context of classical philosophy, with exploration of the way early Greek cosmology answered to the poets Homer and Hesiod, how Socrates used to be awarded through the comedian playwright Aristophanes and the historian Xenophon, and the way occasions in Greek background can have stimulated Plato's idea. it is a new form of heritage as a way to deliver philosophy to lifestyles for all readers, together with these coming to the topic for the 1st time.
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Additional info for A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Volume 1: Classical Philosophy
First, the sources suggest that Anaximenes was impressed by the fluidity of air. So perhaps he selected air as his principle because he wanted to emphasize the dynamism of the natural world, like Anaximander with his constantly opposed forces. Second, a related point: just like Anaximander’s apeiron, Anaximenes’ air is that from which other things are separated out. The nice thing about air, at least on his theory, is that you can either thin it out and make fire, or thicken it and make cold things like water and earth.
This takes us to a rather exciting moment, which is the opportunity to quote the first substantial surviving fragment from Pre-Socratic philosophy. It was reported by Theophrastus, and then preserved by Simplicius, the aforementioned commentator on Aristotle. Here it is: things come to be and are destroyed, Anaximander said, “according to necessity. For they mete out penalty and retribution to one another for injustice, according to the ordering of time” (§§101, 110). After citing this, Simplicius adds that Anaximander was expressing himself rather poetically, even though he was writing in prose and not verse.
Of course in Hesiod’s story the cosmic principles are gods, but still, he’s giving you a cosmology. But there are some big differences between Hesiod and the early philosophers of Miletus. Like the Pre-Socratics, Hesiod is trying to explain things. But the things he tries to explain tend to be rather different. For instance, he tells a story in which Prometheus tricks Zeus into taking the bones and skin of an animal rather than the meat. This is supposed to explain why the Greeks sacrifice animals to the gods, but are allowed to eat the meat rather than offering up the whole animal.
A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Volume 1: Classical Philosophy by Peter Adamson