Studia Antyczne I Mediewistyczne 15 (50):3-11 (2017)

Zbigniew Nerczuk
Nicolaus Copernicus University
The text was originally a conference speech. In principle, it was prepared for teachers of philosophy and people interested in philosophy, therefore it has the character of an essay and only to a small extent refers to the literature of the subject. However, I am deeply convinced of the validity of the thesis that I propose in it, even if they may seem only to a small extent supported by references to the state of research. Synthetical studies take a special place in the research on the history of ancient philosophy. They demonstrate the existing perspective by performing a selection and arrangement of the material, presenting the periodisation, accentuating and determining what is “philosophically significant.” This article points out that despite the great progress made in detailed research that has taken place over the last few decades, the general framework of development of philosophy, derived from Hegel’s thought, has remained unchanged for two centuries. Hegel’s perspective has instilled a certain pattern that encompasses a whole series of debatable solutions. These include (1) development of a certain understanding of what “philosophy” is and thus separating it from a wide spectrum of literature, rhetoric, medicine, and religion; (2) introduction of a dubious periodisation (e.g. the distinction between the Presocratic period and Socrates’ breakthrough in the form of a departure from the philosophy of nature and return to ethical considerations; (3) adoption of philosophy of Plato and Aristotle as the apex of thought. The author highlights the need to change the approach to the history of ancient philosophy and modify the existing paradigm. He calls for paying greater attention to the intertextual element and to the fact that the assessment of originality and relevance of preserved works is falsified due to the disappearance of comparative material. The proposal to establish a new reconstructive paradigm is based on the belief that during further research on ancient philosophy it would be advisable (1) to expand the research perspective and enrich it with the fields of education, medicine, the great sphere of literature, the spheres of fine arts and music, (2) to focus more on the issue of transmission and reception of texts thanks to which it is possible to deepen and extend the reconstructed context of philosophical discussions, (3) to come to the realisation that the abstract character of description, connected with all the syntheses of the philosophical thought in antiquity lead to its oversimplification and impoverishment by presenting it out of the context and depriving of what is individual and specific for a particular thinker.
Keywords Ancient Greek Philosophy  Periodization of Philosophy
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