By Peter Adamson
Classical Philosophy is the 1st of a chain of books within which Peter Adamson goals finally to offer a whole historical past of philosophy, extra completely but in addition extra enjoyably than ever ahead of. in brief, energetic chapters, in response to the preferred History of Philosophy podcast, he bargains an available, funny, and unique 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 in addition much less more often than not mentioned themes just like the Hippocratic Corpus, the Platonic Academy, and the position of girls in historical philosophy. in the considered Plato and Aristotle, the reader will locate in-depth introductions to significant works, corresponding to the Republic and the Nicomachean Ethics, that are handled intimately that's strange in an advent to old philosophy. Adamson appears at attention-grabbing 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 historical discussions in all parts of philosophy, together with epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of technology, ethics and politics. awareness is additionally given to the ancient and literary context of classical philosophy, with exploration of ways early Greek cosmology spoke back to the poets Homer and Hesiod, how Socrates was once awarded by means of the comedian playwright Aristophanes and the historian Xenophon, and the way occasions in Greek background can have encouraged Plato's concept. it is a new type of historical past with a view to deliver philosophy to lifestyles for all readers, together with these coming to the topic for the 1st time.
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Extra info for A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Volume 1: Classical Philosophy
But he also has his own positive conception of God, which he thinks would be consistent with divinity and appropriately reverential. Xenophanes seems to have come up with this conception by reversing the approach of Homer and Hesiod. His God won’t be like humans; instead, he’ll be as much unlike humans as possible, and better in every way. Unlike us, God needs nothing, despite what the poets would have you believe. So you can stop sacrificing those animals. God doesn’t move at all—there’s nowhere he needs to go—and maybe he doesn’t even have a body.
And no wonder, says Xenophanes in another couple of fragments, because the conception we have of the gods is really a projection of human nature. The poets describe the gods as being born from parents, just like humans; they wear clothes; they talk. In fact, points out Xenophanes, it isn’t just the poets. The Ethiopians think that the gods have black skin, like people from Ethiopia, whereas the fair-haired people from Thrace think that the gods have, you guessed it, fair hair (§168). In what may be the first joke in the history of philosophy, albeit a joke with a serious message, Xenophanes sarcastically remarks that if cattle or horses could depict the gods, they would show them looking like cattle or horses (§169).
2 INFINITY AND BEYOND ANAXIMANDER AND ANAXIMENES Thales was not the only Pre-Socratic thinker to hail from Miletus. He was followed by two thinkers with wonderful, albeit confusingly similar, names: Anaximander and Anaximenes. We know a bit more about them than we do about Thales, but don’t get your hopes up too high: our evidence about them is pretty thin. I have already mentioned how amazing it is that information about these earliest Greek philosophers has reached us at all. Maybe it’s worth dwelling on this just a bit longer.
A History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps, Volume 1: Classical Philosophy by Peter Adamson