Embryological Analogies in Pre-Socratic Cosmogony

Classical Quarterly 26 (01):27- (1932)
The extent of the dependence of early Greek cosmogony on mythical conceptions has long been a prolific source of controversy. Views on the subject have varied from Professor Cornford's claim that ‘there is a real continuity between the earliest rational speculation and the religious representation that lay behind it’ to Professor Burnet's extreme statement, ‘it is quite wrong to look for the origins of Ionian science in mythological ideas of any kind.’ The solution of the problem that I wish to suggest is one which should satisfy those who insist on ‘the scientific character of the early Greek cosmology,’ while retaining a direct connection with pre-scientific beliefs—namely, that some, at least, of the earliest philosophers founded their doctrines of the beginning of the universe on a deliberate rationalization of earlier and contemporary mythical ideas. The appearance of notions like the ‘world-egg’ in a number of passages, too well known for quotation, shows that primitive cosmogony assumed an analogy between the generation of the world and the generation of animate creatures. I believe it can be proved that, so far from the ‘renunciation of sexual imagery’ which even Professor Cornford has recently attributed to Anaximander, he and other philosophers retained the habit of regarding cosmogony and anthropogony as parallel phenomena, only substituting for the mythical ‘world-egg’ a more scientific view of the embryo and its development. They looked at the world through the same spectacles as their predecessors, but after wiping from them the rose tint of mythological fancy
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1017/S0009838800002226
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,392
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Paul Elmer More (1931). Platonism. New York: Greenwood Press.
Amelie Oksenberg Rorty (2008). The Dramatic Sources of Philosophy. Philosophy and Literature 32 (1):pp. 11-30.
Allen G. Barone (1937). Cosmogony. Boston: Meador Publishing Company.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

12 ( #355,029 of 1,924,687 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #254,655 of 1,924,687 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.