Ralph Cudworth (1617-88) was one of the Cambridge Platonists. His major work, The True Intellectual System of the Universe, was completed in 1671, a year after Spinoza published (anonymously) the Tractatus Logico-philosophicus. It was published a few years later, in 1678. Cudworth offers a spirited attack against the materialism and mechanism of Thomas Hobbes. His work is couched as a search for truth among the ancient philosophers, and this paper examines his use of the Presocratics as a tool for discussing (...) the issues of his day. (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)
John Palmer, author of Plato’s Reception of Parmenides (Oxford, 1999), here essays a radically new interpretation of Parmenides and his relation to Presocratic predecessors and successors, challenging received Anglo-American views (Heidegger and his epigones are ignored) on numerous fronts. Palmer sees the prevailing narrative in the first two volumes of Guthrie’s History as modified by Owen, Barnes, and Kirk/Raven/Schofield, and means not to revise but to overturn it (although on his own account, especially of recent scholarship on the early (...) thinkers and their relations, it is not clear that this has not already substantially occurred). Moreover, he means us to abandon entirely the dominant belief that Parmenides .. (shrink)
This is the first comprehensive study for nearly 200 years of what remains of the writings of the Presocratic philosopher Philolaus of Croton (470-390 B.C.). Professor Huffman presents the fragments and testimonia with accompanying translations and introductory chapters and interpretive commentary. He produces further arguments for the authenticity of much that used to be neglected, and undertakes a critique of Aristotle's testimony, opening the way for a quite new reading of fifth-century Pythagoreanism in general and of Philolaus in particular.
A study of Hippolytus of Rome and his treatment of Presocratic Philosophy, used as a case study to argue against the use of collections of fragments and in favour of the idea of reading "embedded texts" with attention to the interpretation and interests of the quoting author. A study of methodology in early Greek Philosophy. Includes novel interpretations of Heraclitus and Empedocles, and an argument for the unity of Empedocles's poem.
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)
This is a book about the invention of Western philosophy, and the first thinkers to explore ideas about the nature of reality, time, and the origin of the universe. It begins with the finding of the new papyrus fragment of Empedocles' poem, and uses the story of its discovery and interpretation to highlight the way our understanding of early philosophers is marked by their presentation in later sources. -/- Generations of philosophers, both ancient and modern, have traced their inspiration back (...) to the presocratics, even though we have very few of their writings left. In this book, Catherine Osborne invites her readers to dip their toes into the fragmentary remains of thinkers from Thales to Pythagoras, Heraclitus to Protagoras, to try to fill in the bits of a jigsaw that has been rejigged many times and in many different ways. (shrink)