A Companion to Ancient Philosophy by Mary Louise Gill, Pierre Pellegrin

By Mary Louise Gill, Pierre Pellegrin

A spouse to historic Philosophy presents a accomplished and present review of the historical past of old Greek and Roman philosophy from its origins till overdue antiquity.Comprises an intensive number of unique essays, that includes contributions from either emerging stars and senior students of old philosophyIntegrates analytic and continental traditionsExplores the advance of varied disciplines, similar to arithmetic, good judgment, grammar, physics, and medication, on the subject of historical philosophyIncludes an illuminating creation, bibliography, chronology, maps and an index

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A Companion to Ancient Philosophy

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The argument is partly linguistic: before Plato, the word “philosophy” and its derived verb (philosophia, philosophein) are rarely attested and have no specialized sense. Nor are there any other words that are obviously used to designate the new approach to cosmology and its practitioners as something separate and distinct. In parallel to these linguistic points, it can be pointed out that in the surviving remarks of the “pre-Socratic philosophers,” we find them comparing themselves with, and attacking or praising, not only others of the same narrow group but also a whole range of poets and sages.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press. xxx ACTA01 30 20/03/2006, 03:56PM introduction in the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of biology trace various versions of the theory back to Aristotle. Modern virtue ethics owes its inspiration to him. In turn, contemporary epistemologists look to Sextus Empiricus’ account of Pyrrhonism for an early version of skepticism. This is not the history of philosophy, but the use of earlier views in the service of contemporary philosophical concerns. The ancients, too, regularly made philosophical use of their predecessors in arguing for their own agenda, as our previous example of Aristotle shows (and see Sharples, the problem of sources, for examples from the Hellenistic era).

It is clear that this sort of general and abstract claim is not the kind of thing that one meets with, either expressed or latent, in Homer or Hesiod. It is characteristic of a theoretical enterprise. , Met. 4, 1000a9–19; Meteor. 1, 353a34–b5) contrasts with scientific explanations the explanations of those he calls “writers about gods” (theologoi), those who speak “in myths” (muthikOs), implying that they are incomplete, unsatisfactory and not worth wasting time on. Whether or not we accept the Aristotelian account, it is important at least to understand what it does and what it does not imply.

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