Item description for The Illustrated To Think Like God: Pythagoras and Parmenides, The Origins of Philosophy by Arnold Hermann...
Fascinating illustrations contribute to this illuminating and award-winning account of how and why philosophy emerged and make it a must-read for any inquisitive thinker unsatisfied with prevailing assumptions on this timely and highly relevant subject.
By taking the reader back to the Greek colonies of Southern Italy more than 500 years B.C., the author, with unparalleled insight, tells the story of the Pythagorean quest for otherwordly konwledge -- a tale of cultism, political conspiracies, and bloody uprisings that eventually culminate in tragic failure. The emerging hero is Parmenides, who introduces for the first time a technique for testing the truth of a statement that was not based on physical evidence or mortal sense-perception, but instead relied exclusively on the faculty we humans share with the gods: the ability to reason.
"Figures from Anaximander to Zeno, the ruins where they lived and thought, and the paradoxes and thought-experiments they proposed are depicted among the [many] well-chosen color illustrations. The results read like an introductory textbook, but one that has been lovingly written, lavishly laid-out and crisply printed-- making it engaging enough to draw in readers to whom it has not been assigned." - Publishers Weekly
"To Think Like God is a highly ambitious book . . . Hermann's approach deserves to be taken seriously as an alternative to standard interpretations." - Richard D. McKirahan, Jr., Edwin Clarence Norton Professor of Classics and Professor of Philosophy, Pomona College
"Arnold Hermann brings fresh life into the specialists' debates . . . a blow of wind that dissipates much fog." - Walter Burkert, Professor Emeritus of Classical Philology, University of Zurich
ARNOLD HERMANN is pursuing independent research on the origins of philosophy and methods of thinking. He specialices on subjects connected with Parmenides and Plato's Parmenides.
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Illustrated To Think Like God: Pythagoras and Parmenides, The Origins of Philosophy?
Vibrant Work! Mar 13, 2008
Beautiful book. Superb style. Captivating content. A one of a kind book that can be enjoyed by everyone! I am an avid reader of ancient Greek and Roman history, my passion living on past my University days. I can honestly say that it has been quite a while since I have enjoyed a book on philosophy as much as I did this one. The combination of ancient philosophy and ancient history is in near perfect form throughout this book. I tend to tire of pure philosophy texts quickly, if not immediately, but To Think Like God held my attention the entire way through. It's a brilliant departure from a pretentious philosophy essay or a mind-numbing history text, both of which can be found in abundance these days. I think that many have forgotten the importance of weaving history into philosophy. This breaks that boring trend and provides the reader with insights to early philosophy, relevant historical information, even some rarely known, intriguing history bits are sewn in; Not to mention the vivid illustrations that, page after page, bring an unheard of vibrancy to philosophy and history alike.
I must commend the author on his writing style, for I seldom find myself immersed in a book so fluid. His language and structure are married beautifully. A pure joy to read! I keep this book on my coffee table and have yet to find a person who neglects to take a peek at it when visiting. It's interesting and exceptional no matter the situation; I'd recommend this to anyone with a valid brain wave.
2005 Writers Notes Book Award Winner Jul 11, 2005
Hermann illuminates lesser-known Greek figure Parmenides in this carefully constructed treatise on the early years of philosophy. Beginning with his more famous contemporary, Pythagoras, the book delves into the curious sides of Pythagoreanism, exposing the vulnerabilities of this calculating thinker. Clearly, the author prefers the less exacting measures of Parmenides, who sought to include more than he eliminated. Side by side, the two philosophers make an interesting comparison, like pairing a physicist with a politician. Hermann attempts to personalize these historical figures whenever possible. Sharp illustrations bolster the narrative, carrying it beyond the dry prose often found in other texts.
A Misleading Account Feb 14, 2005
This book was an attempt at writing a persuasive paper designed to minimalize the works of Pythagoras and his followers in order to lift up Parmenides onto a pedestal. The author treats the Pythagoreans as having flawed ideas so that he can then claim that Parmenides came and had the correct or proper way of defining philosophy.
Reasons behind this could stem from the fact that both Pythagoras and Parmenides lived during the same time period, and he needed to degrade Pythagoras in order to show that Parmenides made the greatest contribution to the start of philosophy as being the "better" pre-Socratic thinker.
The funny truth of the matter is that Pythagoras is probably more widely known for his and his group's accomplishments than Parmenides, and it is a shame the author felt as though he had to exclude a brilliant philosopher in order to champion another.
I have considered myself to be a practical philosopher, a person who can take ideas and test them towards real world goals. This way of operating makes philosophy a tool one can use to navigate through life's unpredictable outcomes. Pythagoras had a series of precepts that he taught his students and his followers continued this regimen in order to not just think, but to do. The author is scared to admit this, to recognize this philosophy, because then it would jeopardize the perceived achievements of his idol Paremides.
One of the limitations I see with current academic philosophy is that it is stuck within the very mindset that the author has, which is that philosophy is just about thinking for the sake of thought and thought alone. Other academic professors share his view. This is a very narrow view, and it does not help the field of philosophy to hold such a view. Philosophy is a large umbrella full of ideas which have sprouted just about all the major fields of study taught in universities today. Philosophy needs to find the connections it made long ago and claim credit for the broad body of knowledge that has been a neccesary part of the functionality of societies both past, present, and into the forseeable future. Trying to create a niche in philosophy in order to make it stand out will just turn away those students and practitioners who know that there are a panorama of philosophies both practiced and taught and that it is this trait which makes philosophy so special.