All volumes of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek philosophy have won their due acclaim. The most striking merits of Guthrie's work are his mastery of a tremendous range of ancient literature and modern scholarship, his fairness and balance of judgement and the lucidity and precision of his English prose. He has achieved clarity and comprehensiveness.
The third volume of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek thought, entitled The Fifth-Century Enlightenment, deals in two parts with the Sophists and Socrates, the key figures in the dramatic and fundamental shift of philosophical interest from the physical universe to man. Each of these parts is now available as a paperback with the text, bibliography and indexes amended where necessary so that each part is self-contained. The Sophists assesses the contribution of individuals like Protagoras, Gorgias and Hippias to the (...) extraordinary intellectual and moral fermant in fifth-century Athens. They questioned the bases of morality, religion and organized society itself and the nature of knowledge and language; they initiated a whole series of important and continuing debates, and they provoked Socrates and Plato to a major restatement and defence of traditional values. (shrink)
The third volume of Professor Guthrie's great history of Greek thought, entitled The Fifth-Century Enlightenment, deals in two parts with the Sophists and Socrates, the key figures in the dramatic and fundamental shift of philosophical interest from the physical universe to man. Each of the two parts is available as a paperback with the text, bibliography and indexes amended where necessary so that each part is self-contained. Socrates dominated the controversies of this period, as he has dominated the subsequent history (...) of western philosophy. He was the first to identify and grapple with some of the most intractable and persistent logical and philosophical problems; but he was also and has remained a highly controversial figure because of his extraordinary personal qualities and his remarkable career. Professor Guthrie offers a balanced and comprehensive picture of the man, his life, and his thought. (shrink)
Greek ways of thinking -- Matter and form: (ionians and pythagoreans) -- The problem of motion: (Heraclitus, Parmenides and the pluralists) -- The reaction towards humanism: (the Sophists and Socrates) -- Plato (I): the doctrine of ideas -- Plato (II): ethical and theological answers to the sophists -- Aristotle (I): the aristotelian universe -- Aristotle (II): human beings.
The work of Professor Jaeger on the Aristotelian metaphysics, and its modification by the late Hans von Arnim, have raised many new points of the greatest interest, and may, I hope, be considered as having opened up a large and fascinating new field for discussion rather than as having closed the matter. It is a subject which must be considered as a whole. There would be little profit in writing short notes on isolated points in the arguments of the two (...) scholars. Anyone who, possessed of some previous acquaintance with the Aristotelian corpus, reads their work is inevitably stimulated to return to Aristotle with his mind full of fresh ideas. If after a re-examination of the texts he feels he has a different story to tell, he must tell it for himself. That is my excuse for an account which must include much which was always known and much which has arisen out of the work of Jaeger and von Arnim. My conclusions are not the same as theirs, and the argument must stand or fall as a consistent whole. (shrink)