The World of Parmenides is a unique collection of essays that not only explores the complexity of ancient Greek thought, but also reveals Popper's engagement with Presocratic philosophy and the enlightenment he experienced in reading Parmenides. It includes writings on Greek science, philosophy and history and demonstrates Popper's life-long fascination with the presocratic philosophers, in particular Parmenides, Xenophanes and Heraclitus.
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. (shrink)
Beginning with a long and extensively rewritten introduction surveying the predecessors of the Presocratics, this book traces the intellectual revolution initiated by Thales in the sixth century B.C. to its culmination in the metaphysics of Parmenides and the complex physical theories of Anaxagoras and the Atomists in the fifth century it is based on a selection of some six hundred texts, in Greek and a close English translation which in this edition is given more prominence. These provide the basis for (...) a detailed critical study of the principal individual thinkers of the time. Besides serving as an essential text for undergraduate and graduate courses in Greek philosophy and in the history of science, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers with interests in philosophy, theology, the history of ideas and of the ancient world, and indeed to anyone who wants an authoritative account of the Presocratics. (shrink)
John Palmer develops and defends a modal interpretation of Parmenides, according to which he was the first philosopher to distinguish in a rigorous manner the fundamental modalities of necessary being, necessary non-being or impossibility, and non-necessary or contingent being. This book accordingly reconsiders his place in the historical development of Presocratic philosophy in light of this new interpretation. Careful treatment of Parmenides' specification of the ways of inquiry that define his metaphysical and epistemological outlook paves the way for detailed analyses (...) of his arguments demonstrating the temporal and spatial attributes of what is and cannot not be. Since the existence of this necessary being does not preclude the existence of other entities that are but need not be, Parmenides' cosmology can straightforwardly be taken as his account of the origin and operation of the world's mutable entities. Later chapters reassess the major Presocratics' relation to Parmenides in light of the modal interpretation, focusing particularly on Zeno, Melissus, Anaxagoras, and Empedocles. In the end, Parmenides' distinction among the principal modes of being, and his arguments regarding what what must be must be like, simply in virtue of its mode of being, entitle him to be seen as the founder of metaphysics or ontology as a domain of inquiry distinct from natural philosophy and theology. An appendix presents a Greek text of the fragments of Parmenides' poem with English translation and textual notes. (shrink)
Part I : cosmologists and ontologists. The sixth century BC ; The fifth century BC -- Part II : Sophists. Protagoras (Prt) ; Gorgias (Grg) ; Antiphon (Ant) ; Prodicus (Prd) ; Anonymous texts -- Appendix. Pythagoras (Pth).
This book studies Wallace Stevens and pre-Socratic poetic philosophy, showing how concepts that animate Stevens’ poetry parallel concepts found in the works of Parmenides, Heraclitus, Empedocles, and Xenophanes.
Hui Shi (370-310B.C.E.?) is a unique one among the pre-Qin scholars. The object and orientation of his scholarship emphasized on “chasing after the materials” or the research for objective knowledge of natural things. He shows a tendency of tolerating and advocating diversity and variety, and intentionally pursuing new and unusual ideas. In certain degree he judges the value of knowledge by its truthfulness rather than its usefulness. As pointed out by Wing-tsit Chan, Hui shi represents a “tendency in ancient China (...) toward intellectualism for its own sake”. (shrink)
Physicists who work on canonical quantum gravity will sometimes remark that the general covariance of general relativity is responsible for many of the thorniest technical and conceptual problems in their field.1 In particular, it is sometimes alleged that one can trace to this single source a variety of deep puzzles about the nature of time in quantum gravity, deep disagreements surrounding the notion of ‘observable’ in classical and quantum gravity, and deep questions about the nature of the existence of spacetime (...) in general relativity. Philosophers who think about these things are sometimes skeptical about such claims. We have all learned that Kretschmann was quite correct to urge against Einstein that the “General Theory of Relativity” was no such thing, since any theory could be cast in a generally covariant form, and hence the general covariance of general relativity could not have any physical content, let alone bear the kind of weight that Einstein expected it to.2 Friedman’s assessment is widely accepted: “As Kretschmann first pointed out in 1917, the principle of general covariance has no physical content whatever: it specifies no particular physical theory; rather, it merely expresses our commitment to a certain style of formulating physical theories” (1984, p. 44). Such considerations suggest that general covariance, as a technically crucial but physically contentless feature of general relativity, simply cannot be the source of any significant conceptual or physical problems.3 Physicists are, of course, conscious of the weight of Kretschmann’s points against Einstein. Yet they are considerably more ambivalent than their philosophical colleagues. Consider Kuchaˇr’s conclusion at the end of a discussion of this topic. (shrink)
Physicists who work on canonical quantum gravity will sometimes remark that the general covariance of general relativity is responsible for many of the thorniest technical and conceptual problems in their ﬁeld.1 In particular, it is sometimes alleged that one can trace to this single source a variety of deep puzzles about the nature of time in quantum gravity, deep disagreements surrounding the notion of ‘observable’ in classical and quantum gravity, and deep questions about the nature of the existence of spacetime (...) in general relativity. (shrink)
With the aim of guiding readers along, in Hegel’s words, “the long process of education towards genuine philosophy,” this introduction emphasizes the importance of striking up a conversation with the past. Only by looking to past masters and their works, it holds, can old memories and prior thought be brought fully to bear on the present. This living past invigorates contemporary practice, enriching today’s study and discoveries. In this book, groundbreaking philosopher and author Donald Verene addresses two themes: why should (...) one study the historically “great” texts and, if such a study is necessary, how can one undertake it? Acting out against the rejection of the idea that there is a philosophical canon, he centers his argument on the “tetralogy” of Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel. From his opening look at the rhetorical tradition, he brings those core ideals forward to classical Roman and medieval philosophers and then on into Renaissance and modern philosophy, including contemporary thinkers such as Derrida and Foucault. This vital chronological outline is supplemented by Verene’s contextualizing commentary. In ensuing sections, he offers guidance on reading philosophical works with “intellectual empathy,” suggests 100 essential works to establish a canon, illustrates the role of philosophers in history and society, and examines the nature of history itself. Ultimately, Verene concludes that history may be essential to philosophy, but philosophy is more than just its history. (shrink)
This collection introduces readers to some of the most respected Pre-Socratic scholarship of the twentieth century. It includes translations of important works from European scholars that were previously unavailable in English and incorporates the major topics and approaches of contemporary scholarship. Here is an essential book for students and scholars alike. "Students of the Pre-Socratics must be grateful to Mourelatos and his publishers for making these essays available to a wider public."--T. H. Irwin, American Journal of Philology "Mourelatos is (...) a superb editor, and teaching Pre-Socratics in the future with this collection on the reading list will not only be easier but also better."--Jorgen Mejer, The Classical World "The editor has done his work judiciously. It would be difficult to devise a better balance between different parts of the subject."--Edward Hussey, Archives internationales d'histoire des sciences "[This book] will undoubtedly become an indispensable aid for beginning and advanced students of the Pre-Socratics."--David E. Hahm, Isis. (shrink)
Pre-Socratics, physiologists, sages and sophists -- Platonists, Cyrenaics, Aristotelians and cynics -- Sceptics, stoics and epicureans -- Classical Chinese philosophers -- Romans (serious and ridiculous) and neoplatonists -- The deaths of Christian saints -- Medieval philosophers: Christian, Islamic, and Judaic -- Philosophy in the Latin Middle Ages -- Renaissance, Reformation and scientific revolution -- Rationalists (material and immaterial), empiricists and religious dissenters -- Philosophes, materialists and sentimentalists -- Many Germans and some non-Germans -- The masters of suspicion and (...) some unsuspicious Americans -- The long twentieth century I: philosophy in wartime -- The long twentieth century II: analytics, continentals, a few moribunds and a near-death experience. (shrink)
Introduction -- The pre-socraticphilosophers -- Sixth and fifth centuries B.C.E. -- Thales -- Anaximander -- Anaximenes -- Pythagoras -- Heraclitus -- Parmenides -- Zeno -- Empedocles -- Anaxagoras -- Leucippus and Democritus -- The Athenian period -- Fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. -- The Sophists -- Protagoras -- Gorgias -- Thrasymachus -- Callicles and Critias -- Socrates -- Plato -- Aristotle -- The Hellenistic and Roman periods -- Fourth century B.C.E. through fourth century C.E. -- Epicureanism -- (...) Stoicism -- Neoplatonism -- Medieval and Renaissance philosophy -- Fifth through fifteenth centuries -- Saint Augustine -- The encyclopediasts -- John Scotus Eriugena -- Saint Anselm -- Muslim and Jewish philosophies -- Averroës -- Maimonides -- The problem of faith and reason -- The problem of the universals -- Saint Thomas Aquinas -- William of Ockham -- Renaissance philosophers -- Continental rationalism and British empiricism -- The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries -- Descartes -- Hobbes -- Spinoza -- Leibniz -- Locke -- Berkeley -- Hume -- Kant -- Post-kantian British and continental philosophy -- The nineteenth century -- Hegel -- Schopenhauer -- Kierkegaard -- Marx -- Nietzsche -- Utilitarianism -- Bentham -- Frege -- Pragmatism, the analytic tradition, and the phenomenological tradition and its aftermath -- The twentieth century -- Pragmatism -- James -- Dewey -- The analytic tradition -- Moore -- Russell -- Logical positivism -- Wittgenstein -- Quine -- The phenomenological tradition and its aftermath -- Husserl -- Heidegger -- Sartre -- Structuralism and poststructuralism -- Saussure -- Lévi-Strauss -- Lacan -- Derrida -- Irigaray. (shrink)
A picture of the world as chiefly one of discrete objects, distributed in space and time, has sometimes seemed compelling. It is however one of two main targets of this work; for it is seriously incomplete. The picture leaves no space for stuff like air and water. With discrete objects, we may always ask "how many?," but with stuff the question has to be "how much?" Within philosophy, stuff of certain basic kinds is central to the ancient pre-Socratic world-view; (...) but it also constitutes the field of modern chemistry and is a major factor in ecology. Philosophers these days are unlikely to deny that stuff exists. But they are very likely to deny that it is ("ultimately") to be contrasted with things, and it is on this account that logic and semantics figure largely in the framework of the book. Elementary logic is a logic which takes values for its variables; and these values are precisely distinct individuals or things. Existence is then symbolized in just such terms; and this, it is proposed, creates a pressure for "reducing" stuff to things. Non-singular expressions, which include words for stuff, "mass" nouns, and also plural nouns, are "explicated" as semantically singular. Here then is the second target of the work, only the first chapter of which is here included. The posit that both mass and plural nouns name special categories of objects (set-theoretical "collections" of objects in the one case, mereological "parcels" or "portions" of stuff in the other) represents the imposition of an alien logic upon both the many and the much. (shrink)
Platonic myth meets American noir in this haunting series of philosophical images, from gigantic ferris wheels to offshore drilling rigs. It has been said that Plato, Nietzsche, and Giordano Bruno gave us the three great mythical presentations of serious philosophy in the West. They have spawned few imitators, as philosophers have generally drifted toward a dry, scholarly tone that has become the yardstick of professional respectability. In this book, Graham Harman tries to restore myth to its central place in (...) the discipline. In Chapter One, the narrator considers the motion of a Ferris wheel of many miles in diameter, which generates disasters and other events in its endless revolutions. In Chapter Two, he moves from the Chesapeake Bay to the depths of Hell, where he observes the show trial of pre-Socratic thinkers. In Chapter Three, the narrator encounters a battered steam calliope in India that may summon tsunamis, solar flares, and other catastrophic forces. In Chapter Four, he tries to explain reports of a ghostly boat in Japanese waters. In Chapter Five, he discusses causation on an offshore drilling platform. And in Chapter Six, amidst a deadly Paris hailstorm, he proposes a theory of objects without relations. (shrink)