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The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

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Item description for The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists (Oxford World's Classics) by Robin Waterfield...

Aristotle said that philosophy begins with wonder, and the first Western philosophers developed theories of the world which express simultaneously their sense of wonder and their intuition that the world should be comprehensible. But their enterprise was by no means limited to this proto-scientific task. Through, for instance, Heraclitus' enigmatic sayings, the poetry of Parmenides and Empedocles, and Zeno's paradoxes, the Western world was introduced to metaphysics, rationalist theology, ethics, and logic, by thinkers who often seem to be mystics or shamans as much as philosophers or scientists in the modern mould. And out of the Sophists' reflections on human beings and their place in the world arose and interest in language, and in political, moral, and social philosophy.

This volume contains a translation of all the most important fragments of the Presocratics and Sophists, and of the most informative testimonia from ancient sources, supplemented by lucid commentary.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   400
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.7" Width: 4.8" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 30, 2000
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0192824546  
ISBN13  9780192824547  

Availability  0 units.

More About Robin Waterfield

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Robin Waterfield is an independent scholar, living in southern Greece. In addition to more than 25 translations of works of Greek literature, he is the author of numerous books, most recently Dividing the Spoils: The War for Alexander the Great's Empire.

Robin Waterfield was born in 1952.

Robin Waterfield has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Ancient Warfare and Civilization
  2. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Greece > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Greece
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Greek & Roman

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Reviews - What do customers think about The First Philosophers: The Presocratics and Sophists (Oxford World's Classics)?

Very good for the budding scholar or the merely curious alike  Nov 18, 2009
There are few widely-available compendiums to choose from of the Pre-Socratics that include the Sophists, who are crucial for understanding Plato. Penguin has another that's not bad. This one is slightly better and more complete, hence if you want one and only one this is the way to go. Together they are complementary but in many ways redundant unless you want to compare translations.

This book provides a plethora of the available fragments from all the important figures of the age, though it is not entirely exhaustive. Together with fine standard view introductions which ably assist the reader in navigating these complex and diverse materials, one effectively cannot go wrong in purchasing this useful, tidy, and cheap but sturdy little book (in this way its a good example of the Oxford World Classics series, and again, on this front they have the edge on Penguin, who seems to prefer to save a buck in printing costs).

To get more of this material one must to go to the expensive dual-language Loeb series' and/or an Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, as well as many other secondaries. For a single, solid starting place, W.K.C. Guthrie's large, pricey, multi-volume history of Ancient Greek Philosophy is quite good and certainly the standard in handy reference works concerning this period - especially volumes I-III (III is mostly available now in the form of two books, simply called "Socrates" and "The Sophists".) His Plato books are fairly good, but mostly as starting points and reference guides to the dialogues, and the Aristotle volume is honestly not worth the money unless you can don't mind springing for a decent general, though not strictly light, intro or are consummately scouring secondary source material).

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