About this topic
Summary Pre-Socratic philosophy is the period of Greek philosophy up to the time of Socrates. It conventionally begins with the work of Thales (sixth century BC). Many discussions of the early period also consider the pre-philosophical background (religion, myth, epic poetry, popular ethical thought) and investigate the origins of philosophy and possible causes for its emergence in Greece at this time, as well as the question "what is philosophy?" and "Did they think of themselves as doing philosophy, and if so what kind?". The distinction between philosophy and science is an issue. All the texts are fragmentary (preserved mainly as quotations in later writers). Much of the literature is concerned with the task of reconstructing the lost views of these obscure philosophers from the fragments and using the third person testimonies of later writers. The Sophists (active around the time of Socrates) are generally included as Pre-Socratic in that their work is not influenced by Socrates.
Key works The standard edition of the Greek texts is known as Diels Kranz (DK) which refers to the edition by Hermann Diels (revised by W. Kranz) Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (sixth edition 1951). Fragments are cited by their numbers in that collection (which includes a German translation). But many of the texts have been revised and corrected in later collections, and there have also been some further discoveries and revisions to which fragments are widely accepted as genuine. The best recent editions are usually collections of just one author (see the bibliographies for individual Presocratics). Handy recent collections with all the latest material included, but conservative editing and interpretation, are  Die Vorsokratiker edited by Jaap Mansfeld and Oliver Primavesi (Greek and facing German with brief introductions, one small pocket volume) and Graham 2010 (Greek and facing English, with brief introductions, two substantial volumes). Recommended editions in English include  Barnes 2001 (which helpfully integrates the texts into their quoting authorities to show context of the fragment), Waterfield 2000 and Richard McKirahan's philosophy before Socrates. General introductions to the Presocratics include Osborne 2004 and James Warren Presocratics.
Related categories

3770 found
1 — 50 / 3770
Material to categorize
  1. Neoplatonic Demons and Angels.Luc Brisson, Seamus O'Neill & Andrei Timotin - 2018 - Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
    Neoplatonic Demons and Angels is a collection of studies which examine the place reserved for angels and demons not only by the main Neoplatonic philosophers, but also in Gnosticism, the Chaldaean Oracles and Christian Neoplatonism.
  2. Arquitetura do Tempo: O Torso Arcaico de Anaximandro (SIMPL. In Phys. 24.13–25).Luan Reborêdo Lemos - 2016 - Dissertation, UFRJ, Brazil
    Contra uma leitura disseminada segundo a qual os primeiros filósofos teriam se ocupado sobretudo do princípio material das coisas existentes, o trabalho defende que a cosmologia de Anaximandro é eminentemente processual e se caracteriza por ser uma minuciosa descrição acerca do modo como estados presentes decorrem de estados passados segundo um princípio de justiça que é regulado pela “disposição do tempo”. Sua cosmologia constitui a emergência de uma nova concepção de temporalidade que não explica o que é, foi e será (...)
  3. Philosophy and Commentary: Evaluating Simplicius on the Presocratics.Bethany Parsons - 2018 - In John F. Finamore & Danielle A. Layne (eds.), Platonic Pathways: Selected Papers from the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. Gloucestershire: The Prometheus Trust. pp. 227-242.
    No fully extant text of Presocratic philosophy has survived antiquity. Occasionally, there are significant new discoveries such as the Strasbourg papyrus of Empedocles, but, as Runia commented in 2008, “even the students of early Hellenistic philosophy are better off” when it comes to source material. The modern scholar of early Greek philosophy is reliant on source books published in the shadow of the Diels-Kranz that collect together fragments and testimonia from later sources. Much of what we know about the Presocratics (...)
  4. Moving, Moved and Will Be Moving: Zeno and Nāgārjuna on Motion From Mahāmudrā, Koan and Mathematical Physics Perspectives.Robert Alan Paul - 2017 - Comparative Philosophy 8 (2):65-89.
    Zeno’s Arrow and Nāgārjuna’s Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way Chapter 2 contain paradoxical, dialectic arguments thought to indicate that there is no valid explanation of motion, hence there is no physical or generic motion. There are, however, diverse interpretations of the latter text, and I argue they apply to Zeno’s Arrow as well. I also find that many of the interpretations are dependent on a mathematical analysis of material motion through space and time. However, with modern philosophy and physics (...)
  5. Greek Philosophy Before Plato. [REVIEW]Rupert Clendon Lodge & Robert Scoon - 1929 - Philosophical Review 38 (3):258.
  6. Aramaic Texts From North Saqq'ra with Some Fragments in PhoenicianAramaic Texts From North Saqqara with Some Fragments in Phoenician.Javier Teixidor & J. B. Segal - 1985 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 105 (4):731.
  7. Aetius Arabus: Die Vorsokratiker in Arabischer ÜberlieferungAetius Arabus: Die Vorsokratiker in Arabischer Uberlieferung.Everett K. Rowson & Hans Daiber - 1984 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 104 (2):387.
  8. Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers. A Complete Translation of the Fragments in Diels' Fragmente der Vorsokratiker.H. K. & Kathleen Freeman - 1949 - Journal of Philosophy 46 (22):717.
  9. The Pre-Socratics. A Collection of Critical EssaysAlexander P. D. Mourelatos.David E. Hahm - 1977 - Isis 68 (2):316-317.
  10. The Opposites.John Ferguson - 1969 - Apeiron 3 (1):1-17.
  11. Alkman's Cosmogony.John L. Penwill - 1974 - Apeiron 8 (2):13 - 39.
  12. /Cosmos-Sized Atoms in Demokritos.Peter Bicknell - 1981 - Apeiron 15 (2):138.
  13. On the New Fragments of Juvenal.J. P. Postgate - 1899 - The Classical Review 13 (4):206-208.
  14. The New Fragment of Juvenal.A. E. Housman, S. G. Owen & H. Jack - 1899 - The Classical Review 13 (5):266-268.
  15. More Fragments of Sappho.J. M. Edmonds - 1909 - The Classical Review 23 (5):156-158.
  16. The Beginning of Melissus' On Nature or On What-Is: A Reconstruction.Benjamin Harriman - 2015 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 135:19-34.
  17. Tabachnick and Koivukoski Eds. On Oligarchy: Ancient Lessons for Global Politics. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011. Pp. Xvii + 232. £19.99. 9781442609860. [REVIEW]Christopher Farrell - 2015 - Journal of Hellenic Studies 135:232-233.
  18. Material Evidence for Roman Slavery. M. George Roman Slavery and Roman Material Culture. Pp. VIII + 240, Pls. Toronto, Buffalo and London: University of Toronto Press, 2013. Cased. Isbn: 978-1-4426-4457-1. [REVIEW]John Bodel - forthcoming - The Classical Review:1-3.
  19. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women and Archaic Greece by Kirk Ormand.Jonathan S. Burgess - 2015 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 109 (1):127-128.
  20. Did Parmenides Hold a Theory of Perceiving and Knowing?D. Z. Andriopoulos - 2015 - Philosophical Inquiry 39 (1):135-145.
  21. Charles H. Kahn: The Verb 'Be' in Ancient Greek.G. B. Kerferd - 1976 - Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 58 (1).
  22. Greek Philosophy Before Plato. [REVIEW]B. A. G. Fuller - 1929 - Journal of Philosophy 26 (8):219-220.
  23. Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers. A Complete Translation of the Fragments in Diels' Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. [REVIEW]K. H. - 1949 - Journal of Philosophy 46 (22):717-718.
  24. Presocratics.Jacob Graham - 2015
    Presocratics Presocratic philosophers are the Western thinkers preceding Socrates but including some thinkers who were roughly contemporary with Socrates, such as Protagoras. The application of the term “philosophy” to the Presocratics is somewhat anachronistic, but is certainly different from how many people currently think of philosophy. The … Continue reading Presocratics →.
  25. Patterns in Plato's Thought Papers Arising Out of the 1971 West Coast Greek Philosophy Conference.J. M. E. Moravcsik & West Coast Greek Philosophy Conference - 1973
  26. Death by Philosophy the Biographical Tradition in the Life and Death of the Archaic Philosophers Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus.Ava Chitwood - 2004
  27. The First Philosophers of Greece, an Ed. And Tr. Of the Remaining Fragments of the Pre-Sokratic Philosophers, by A. Fairbanks. [REVIEW]Arthur Fairbanks - 1898
  28. Prospectus of a Course of Lectures, Historical and Biographical, on ... Philosophy From Thales and Pythagoras to the Present Times by S.T. Coleridge. [REVIEW]Samuel Taylor Coleridge - 1818
  29. Political Fragments of Archytas, Charondas, Zaleucus, and Other Ancient Pythagoreans, Preserved by Stobæs; and Also, Ethical Fragments of Hierocles, Preserved by the Same Author. Tr. By T. Taylor. [REVIEW]Thomas Archytas & Taylor - 1822
  30. A Critical Analysis of the Philosophical Fragments of Epicharmus.Eddie Leroy Miller - 1965 - Dissertation, University of Southern California
  31. KIRK, G. S., RAVEN, J. E. And SCHOFIELD, M.: "The Presocratic Philosophers". Second Edition. [REVIEW]Andrew Barker - 1985 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 36:465.
  32. Héraclite, "Fragments." Ed. Marcel Conche. [REVIEW]Jacques Brunschwig - 1989 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 27 (1):145.
  33. On Patricia Curd, "The Legacy of Parmenides". [REVIEW]Mitchell Miller - 1999 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 37 (1):157.
  34. Melissus of Samos: A Commentary on the Sources and Fragments.Brian Leon Merrill - 1998 - Dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin
    Until recently, Melissus of Samos has been undeservedly neglected by scholars, largely because of Aristotle's harsh criticism and because, as a result, Melissus has been perceived as a second-rate philosopher clinging to the coattail of Parmenides. In the last half-century, however, several scholars have been re-examining Melissus' arguments and his role in the development of ancient philosophy. They have discovered that Melissus' influence upon later thinkers such as Plato has been far greater than Aristotle's assessment would lead us to believe (...)
  35. The Comic Reason of Herman Kahn: Conceiving the Limits to Uncertainty in 1960.Sharon Mindel Helsel - 1993 - Dissertation, University of California, Santa Cruz
    The subject of the dissertation is the futurological problem of the containment and structure of uncertainty by means of systems analysis and related techniques in a book written by the nuclear strategist Herman Kahn entitled On Thermonuclear War published in 1960. The dissertation closely examines how Kahn articulated specific contents for fighting and and surviving a hypothetical and uncertain future war. Kahn considered his mode of systems analyses, scenarios, war-games, and analogies to comprise a scientific method which was both more (...)
  36. Diels, H.: Heracleitos von Ephesos.C. C. Waters - 1909 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 3:110-111.
  37. ALFIERI, Atomisti.D' Hadzsits - 1940 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 33 (18):209.
  38. 'Peri Phiseos': On Being and the World. The Development of Metaphysics From Thales to Parmenides.Diana Scesny Greene - 1975 - Dissertation, University of Colorado at Boulder
  39. Gow, A. S. F., and A. F. Scholfield, Edd., Nicander, The Poems and Poetical Fragments. [REVIEW]Costas Costas - 1953 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 47:6.
  40. "Hudson-Williams", T., Early Greek Elegy, The Elegiac Fragments of Callinus, Archilochus, Mimnermus, Tyrtaeus, Solon, Xenophanes, and Others, Edited, with Introduction, Text Critical Notes, and Commentary. [REVIEW]Maitland Maitland - 1929 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 23:91-92.
  41. Eleati, Testimonianze E Frammenti.B. C. Clough - 1940 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 34:176-177.
  42. Sixth Century Monastery at Beth-Shan.G. Downey - 1940 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 34:43-44.
  43. "De Groot", A. W., Die Anaptyxe Im Lateinischen. [REVIEW]Sturtevant Sturtevant - 1923 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 17:84-85.
  44. In Memoriam Walther Kranz.H. C. Schnur - 1961 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 55 (1):9.
  45. Bellinger, The Coins [Dura-Europos].Tom B. Jones - 1949 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 43:92.
  46. Light on an Ancient Papyrus.Robert C. Horn - 1935 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 29:86.
  47. "Lobel", E., "Sapphous Mele" [Greek] The Fragments of the Lyrical Poems of Sappho, Edited.Ernest Riedel - 1926 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 20:118.
  48. "Gissing", G., By the Ionian Sea: Notes of a Ramble in Southern Italy. [REVIEW]Knapp Knapp - 1926 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 20:91.
  49. The Origin of the Gods: A Psychoanalytic Study of Greek Theogonic Myth by Richard Caldwell. [REVIEW]Lois Parker - 1991 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 85:50-50.
  50. Lezioni Su Tacito E la Storiografia Imperiale.B. Riposati - 1986 - Classical World: A Quarterly Journal on Antiquity 80 (2):259.
1 — 50 / 3770