Ancient Philosophy (A New History of Western Philosophy - by Anthony Kenny

By Anthony Kenny

Sir Anthony Kenny the following tells the attention-grabbing tale of the delivery of philosophy and its awesome flourishing within the old Mediterranean global. this is often the preliminary quantity of a four-book set during which Kenny will spread a magisterial new heritage of Western philosophy, the 1st significant single-author heritage of philosophy to seem in a long time. historical Philosophy spans over 1000 years and brings to existence the nice minds of the previous, from Thales, Pythagoras, and Parmenides, to Socrates, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Augustine. The book's nice advantage is that it's written through one of many world's best gurus at the topic. rather than an uncritical, common recitation of recognized facts--Plato and his cave of shadows, Aristotle's ethics, Augustine's urban of God--we see the foremost philosophers during the eyes of a guy who has spent an entire life considering their paintings. therefore we don't easily get an outline of Aristotle, for instance, yet a penetrating and insightful critique of his notion. Kenny bargains an illuminating account of a few of the faculties of inspiration, from the Pre-Socratics to the Epicureans. He examines the advance of good judgment and cause, historical rules approximately physics ("how issues happen"), metaphysics and ethics, and the earliest pondering the soul and god. Vividly written, yet severe and deep adequate to supply a real knowing of the good philosophers, Kenny's lucid and stimulating heritage becomes the definitive paintings for somebody attracted to the folks and concepts that formed the process Western idea.

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21), and secondly, that the Morning Star is the same as the Evening Star. 11 Parmenides had a pupil, Melissus, who came from Pythagoras’ island of Samos and who was said to have studied also with Heraclitus. He was active in politics, and rose to the rank of admiral of the Samos Xeet. L. 9. 4). Melissus expounded the philosophy of Parmenides’ poem in plain prose, arguing that the universe was unlimited, unchangeable, immovable, indivisible, and homogeneous. He was remembered for drawing two consequences from this monistic view: (1) pain was unreal, because it implied (impossibly) a deWciency of being; (2) there was no such thing as a vacuum, since it would have to be a piece of Unbeing.

Astronomy and harmony, they said, were sister sciences, one for the eyes and one for the ears (Plato, Rep. 530d). However, it was not until two millennia later that Galileo and his successors showed the sense in which it is true that the book of the universe is written in numbers. In the ancient world arithmetic was too entwined with number mysticism to promote scientiWc progress, and the genuine scientiWc advances of the period (such as Aristotle’s zoology or Galen’s medicine) were achieved without beneWt of mathematics.

On the one hand, he is revered as inaugurating the Wrst great era of philosophy, and therefore, in a sense, philosophy itself. In textbooks all previous thinkers are lumped together in textbooks as ‘Presocratics’, as if philosophy prior to his age was somehow prehistoric. On the other hand, Socrates left behind no writing, and there is hardly a single sentence ascribed to him that we can be sure was his own utterance rather than a literary creation of one of his admirers. Our Wrst-hand acquaintance with his philosophy is less 19 see Ch.

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