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Early Greek Philosophy (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

By Various (Author) & Jonathan Barnes (Translator)
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Item description for Early Greek Philosophy (Penguin Classics) by Various & Jonathan Barnes...

Examines early Greek philosophy, which relied on reasoning and forged the first scientific vocabulary, and includes discussion of such topics as Democritus' atomic theory of matter and Pythagorean insights into mathematics.

Publishers Description
This anthology presents the early sages of Western philosophy and science who paved the way for Plato and Aristotle and their successors. Democritus's atomic theory of matter, Zeno's dazzling "proofs" that motion is impossible, Pythagorean insights into mathematics, Heraclitus's haunting and enigmatic epigrams-all form part of a revolution in human thought that relied on reasoning, forged the first scientific vocabulary, and laid the foundations of Western philosophy. Jonathan Barnes has painstakingly brought together the surviving Presocratic fragments in their original contexts, utilizing the latest research and a newly discovered major papyrus of Empedocles.
This anthology presents the early sages of Western philosophy and science who paved the way for Plato and Aristotle and their successors. Democritus's atomic theory of matter, Zeno's dazzling "proofs" that motion is impossible, Pythagorean insights into mathematics, Heraclitus's haunting and enigmatic epigrams-all form part of a revolution in human thought that relied on reasoning, forged the first scientific vocabulary, and laid the foundations of Western philosophy. Jonathan Barnes has painstakingly brought together the surviving Presocratic fragments in their original contexts, utilizing the latest research and a newly discovered major papyrus of Empedocles.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Penguin Classics
Pages   282
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 26, 2002
Publisher   Penguin Classics
Age  18
ISBN  0140448152  
ISBN13  9780140448153  

Availability  16 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 11:12.
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More About Various & Jonathan Barnes

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Donald R. Gallo, a former junior high school English teacher, lives in Solon, Ohio.

Various has published or released items in the following series...
  1. I Can Read It All by Myself Beginner Books
  2. Little Golden Book Favorites
  3. Penguin Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Ancient > Ancient
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > Greece > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Greek & Roman
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > History & Surveys

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Reviews - What do customers think about Early Greek Philosophy (Penguin Classics)?

the definitive volume  Mar 2, 2008
There is not much existing material written by the Presocratic Greek philosophers, but most of it is here, presented in its proper context and without a lot of undue commentary. The book simply presents the material, you can decide what it means. If you are interested in the Presocratics, this is the essential volume. Just be prepared: 99% of what is known about these ancient figures comes from references penned by later Greeks or even Romans two or three centuries after the fact.
Throwing Light on the Landscape of the Orthodox  Apr 13, 2007
The orthodox position regarding the early Greek philosophers might be thought of as a view which likes to see Ancient Greece as a self-contained clearly demarcated autochthonous entity, and the Greeks as more or less like us in meaning by 'philosophy' what our orthodox professors such as Barnes mean by the term.

Over this orthodox landscape the American scholar Thomas McEvilley has arrived like a thunderbolt of Indra with a burst of brilliant light that enables us to see clearly for the first time things that without him we might never have seen.

As a classicist who is competent, not only in Greek and Latin but also in Sanskrit and several other languages, and who is conversant, not merely with the history and primary texts of an isolated and clearly demarcated 'Greece' (which never existed except in the minds of the orthodox), but with the larger Indian-Mesopotamian-Egyptian-Greek complex, he has devoted thirty years research to bringing before us a massive and comprehensive account of the philosophies that burgeoned and grew within that complex.

It was a complex in which an enormous amount of movement took place with innumerable people of various sorts engaged in travel by both land and sea - statesmen, ambassadors, emissaries, couriers, merchants, bankers, financial agents, healers, soldiers, sailors, scholars, students, priests, missionaries, religious mendicants, holy men, wonder workers, tourists, sightseers, etc.

It was also one in which people still retained their natural curiosity about others, their ways of life and beliefs, and would have been eager to listen to the wise and informed no matter what region of the earth they hailed from. This open-mindedness, naturally enough, led to a great deal of cross-fertilization of ideas which McEvilley, a man who happily is similarly open-minded, sets out before us in detail. What he shows us is that, while it is undoubtedly true that Indian thinkers learned certain things from the Greeks, it is equally true that the Greeks learned some very important things from the Indians.

By all means read Barnes and Guthrie and Kirk and Raven (though not in Schofield's corrupted version of the latter) and the rest of the tribe of the Orthodox, but be aware that - imprisoned as they are in the cave of wishful thinking with its ceaseless and seductive whisper - autochthonous ... autochthonous ... autochthonous - they are giving you only an incomplete and distorted picture of what ancient Greek thought was really about. For the bigger and truer picture you will most assuredly need McEvilley's truly magisterial study, a study which throws a dazzling and brilliant light over what has hitherto been the somewhat dim and distorted landscape of the orthodox.

Details of his study are as follows:

Thomas McEvilley, 'The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies.' New York: Allworth Press, 2002. ISBN 1581152035. Hardback, 731 pp. Illustrated with b/w plates, maps, and with a detailed bibliography and index.

The wonder of what is that it is   Nov 3, 2005
Philosophy begins in wonder ' at what is that it is'. The Pre-Socratics at the very beginning of the historical enterprise of philosophy( love of wisdom) contradict each other in presenting total visions of the world. For Parmenides all is one unchanging, and the Real is this Eternal Stasis. For Heraclitus " we step and do not step into the same river, we are and are not" All is change. In this way in these contradictions these philosophers set the stage for the questionings of Socrates and the synthesis of Plato and the explorations of Aristotle.
Not that great.  Jan 10, 2002
Let the publisher be your guide.

It's by Penguin Press -- it's for someone who's browses a half-price book store and gets the idea that some familiarity with pre-socratic philsophy is something they want to add to their lives.

It lacks the critical richness of other works (I enjoy Patricia Curd et. al's ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY) -- so if you want depth, you won't find it here.

I read this book as part of an ancient greek philosophy class and I hated virtually everything on the reading list. This book was part of said curs-ed list.

A good companion, but not the place to start  Jun 17, 2001
Our present knowledge of the Presocratic philosophers is all second-hand: it consists of attributions made in later classical literature by a wide variety of authors, from pagans, like Aristotle and Iamblichus, to Christians, like Clement and Hippolytus. This book gives the reader who has been tantalized by these fragmentary citations a chance to view these quotes surrounded by the contexts in which they are preserved. That is both the strength and the bane of this volume. For instance, it is interesting to note how often Heraclitus is referred to as "obscure", but then, how much of what is attributed to him was actually said by him, how much does the citation represent the quoter's bias or training, and in what context or order were the sayings originally delivered? We will never know. So, if you have a passing acquaintance with the sayings of Zeno, Pythagoras, Empedocles et al., this may be the book to draw you deeper into the mysteries. The beginner may be merely mystified by the Presocratic palimpsest.

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