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by Jonathan Barnes

ePub The Presocratic Philosophers (Arguments of the Philosophers) download
Author:
Jonathan Barnes
ISBN13:
978-0415050791
ISBN:
0415050790
Language:
Publisher:
Routledge; 1 edition (November 25, 1983)
Category:
Subcategory:
Humanities
ePub file:
1754 kb
Fb2 file:
1749 kb
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Rating:
4.6
Votes:
332

The presocratic philosophers.

The presocratic philosophers. The Presocratics were the founding fathers of the Western philosophical tradition, and the first masters of rational thought. This volume provides a comprehensive and precise exposition of their arguments and offers a rigorous assessment of their contribution to philosophical thought. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form or. by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission.

Writing a fairly comprehensive history and analysis of Presocratic philosophy is a big job, and Barnes doesn't shrink from the task. First off, as a writer, Barnes is extremely skillful and readable. His prose dances with acerbic wit and the confidence of a man who knows how to turn a phrase.

Pre-Socratic philosophy is ancient Greek philosophy before Socrates and schools contemporary to Socrates that were not influenced by him. In Classical antiquity, the pre-Socratic philosophers were called physiologoi (Greek: φυσιολόγοι; in English, p. . In Classical antiquity, the pre-Socratic philosophers were called physiologoi (Greek: φυσιολόγοι; in English, physical or natural philosophers). Their inquiries spanned the workings of the natural world as well as human society, ethics, and religion, seeking explanations based on natural principles rather than the actions of supernatural gods

The Presocratic Philosophers book. This volume provides a comprehensive and precise exposition of their arguments, and offers a rigorous assessment of their contribution to philosophical thought.

The Presocratic Philosophers book.

The Presocratic Philosophers (Arguments of the Philosophers). 籍. The Presocratic Philosophers (Arguments of the Philosophers).

It is those latter questions with which my book is primarily concerned

The surviving fish from the Presocratic shoal, fortuitously angled from Time’s vast ocean, have been gutted, anatomized, and painstakingly described by generations of scholars; and it might reasonably be supposed that further dissection would be a vain and unprofitable exercise. It is those latter questions with which my book is primarily concerned. My main thesis is that the Presocratics were the first masters of rational thought; and my main aim is the exposition and assessment of their various ratiocinations.

While previous books have concentrated on historical and philological issues, The Presocratic Philosophers focuses on the philosophical content of Presocratic ideas and arguments, offering a rigorous assessment of their contribution to philosophical thought

While previous books have concentrated on historical and philological issues, The Presocratic Philosophers focuses on the philosophical content of Presocratic ideas and arguments, offering a rigorous assessment of their contribution to philosophical thought. The book considers all the main thinkers from Thales to the Sophists and pays particular attention to Parmenides, Zeno, Anaxagoras and Democritus. Categories: Other Social Sciences\Philosophy.

'The Arguments of the Philosophers' Series. Pp. xiv + 378; x + 353. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979. 10 each vo. two-vol. set ?18. Jonathan Barnes's analysis of the Presocratic philosophers coincides with the appearance of the paperback version of the first two volumes of . Guthrie's History of Greek Philosophy.

has carried out his large enterprise with scholarly skill, philosophical acuteness, and a degree of brilliant, disciplined imagination that will amaze and delight those of us who were inclined to be skeptical.

The Presocratics were the founding fathers of the Western philosophical tradition, and the first masters of rational thought.

The Presocratics were the founding fathers of the Western philosophical tradition, and the first masters of rational thought. This volume provides a comprehensive and precise exposition of their arguments, and offers a rigorous assessment of their contribution to philosophical thought.
  • It's a highly competent job by an analytic philosopher. The arguments of the Presocratics are reconstructed, sometimes with guesswork: they are presented analytically and indeed sometimes with the help of the apparatus of mathematical logic (to the good, if you ask me: it makes things spellbindingly clear). The negative is that there is nothing, repeat nothing, concerning the inspiration of the Presocratics. Their tremendous insight was that Nature is somehow infiltrated with Reason, that is, with Mind. Look at Socrates' reminiscence of Anaxagoras in Plato's Phaedo for an exact statement of this inspiration: there is none more important for the history the West. But Barnes says nothing about it. The book is simply a catalogue of technical arguments. Barnes might defend himself by saying, "That's all I meant to produce." In which case one has to reply, "You succeeded in that--but you perfectly well could have added a few pages or a chapter on the Presocratics' guiding inspiration."

  • A more detailed work on Presocratic Philosophers.

  • To begin with, disclosure: I've read large parts of this book, but not all. So, in fairness to Barnes, there may be gems in here that I missed.

    All in all, Barnes offers us a wealth of texts and a great deal of commentary. Writing a fairly comprehensive history and analysis of Presocratic philosophy is a big job, and Barnes doesn't shrink from the task.

    First off, as a writer, Barnes is extremely skillful and readable. His prose dances with acerbic wit and the confidence of a man who knows how to turn a phrase. This is no dull-as-dishwater academic writing, and there is mercifully little jargon for the sake of jargon.

    In terms of translation and interpretation, I find Barnes to be inconsistent. He is certainly a competent translator of Greek--and he occasionally produces a beautiful rendering where others stumble. However, his way of interpreting these translations leads to problems, as he seems unaware of any ambiguity in the material he has translated. To give just one example, he renders Heraclitus B50 as, "Listening not to me but to my account it is wise to agree that everything is one." This is taken by Barnes to be an explicit assertion of monism, which, for Barnes, is material monism: "In some fashion the diversity of appearances is underpinned or colligated by some single thing or stuff (Barnes, 60)." Well...*maybe* this is the meaning of B50. Unfortunately, this isn't as clear or unproblematic as Barnes seems to think--this might be a material monism, or it might not. But Barnes assumes it is without further ado, and so when he begins his interpretation of Heraclitean fire, it is immediately deemed "the prime stuff of the world" in line with his reading of B50--a reading which was never fully justified to begin with. But if the oneness in B50 is NOT indicative of material monism, but some other thing, then perhaps the fire in the other fragments is not a "stuff" at all, but something else--I've been told that Klaus Held's phenomenological reading of Heraclitus suggests that the elements be understood as "domains of appearing," to offer just one alternative. Thus I find Barnes' interpretive methodology and practice highly questionable.

    His overall philosophical approach and outlook on the ancients will appeal to some, but it left me cold.

    First, Barnes loosely follows what might be called an "evolutionary" model of ancient philosophy, with one philosopher formulating his philosophy in response to a predecessor's challenge. Frankly, I can't buy it. I'm not alone--no less a scholar than M.L. West savages this approach for his own reasons (in an appropriately polite, witty, British way) in Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient. But for me, anyhow, this view of ancient philosophy assumes WAY too much about what those early wise men were up to. Barnes seems to think of the ancient Mediterranean as some kind of Oxbridge debating society or modern academic conference. It wasn't.

    Second, Barnes seems to have swallowed Aristotle's reading of the Presocratics hook, line, and sinker. Of course, he may pay lip service to the importance of a properly critical reading of ancient doxographies, and that's fine, but I'm talking about the big picture. Aristotle's basic attitude towards the Presocratics was to say: Thanks for playing; now I'll do to perfection what you merely tried to do in a bumbling, amateurish way. And Barnes seems to buy into this. He talks about the Presocratics searching out the waters over which "the stately galleon" of Aristotle's own philosophy would one day sail. He tells us that the Presocratics drank "the heady potation" from "the springs of reason" and explains that we should excuse the "trembling delirium in their brains" and "their precocious intoxication" because "their tipsy gait taught us to walk more steadily." And so here we are. Gone is any sense that the Presocratics might have understood more than Aristotle. Gone is any inkling that Aristotle himself, blinded by his own sense of superiority, might not have had such a perfect understanding of his philosophical forebears after all. Gone, in short, is any trace of caution and humility. Barnes sums up his own point of view quite well: "Few Presocratic opinions are true; fewer still are well grounded." (Barnes, 3-5)

    This, as I see it, is what lies at the bottom of Barnes' truly objectionable approach. For this book is, most fundamentally, seven hundred pages of an above-average scholar putting the words of the Presocratics (which he, like Aristotle, may or may not have understood) into modern logical notation--so that he can refute them. This is where I come to the end, both of my patience with Barnes and of my review. If this sort of thing is your cup of tea and doesn't trouble you...then buy the book, you'll enjoy it. If you, like me, have serious problems with this mentality and approach--look elsewhere. There are more sensitive and perceptive scholars out there than Barnes: Dilcher (Studies in Heraclitus (Spudasmata: Studien Zur Klassichen Philologie Und Ihren Grenzgebieten)), Guthrie (History of Greek Philosophy (Volume 1)), Kahn (The Art and Thought of Heraclitus: An Edition of the Fragments with Translation and Commentary), Kingsley (Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition,Reality), and West (Early Greek Philosophy and the Orient (Oxford Scholarly Classics)) come to mind. You'll have to buy more than a single book, but if you're interested in the Presocratics as lovers of wisdom and not as target practice for a middling analytic philosopher, it'll be worth it.

  • For my money this is the best book for serious students of Presocratic philosophy. It is tremendously learned, challenging, and requires a slow, careful reading. Not for beginners, but would be an ideal choice for a graduate seminar on the subject. Some knowledge of symbolic logic would definitely be helpful here to fully appreciate Professor Barnes's rigorous analysis. At well over 600 pp., perhaps only Guthrie's 1,000 p. tome (the first two volumes of his magnificent History of Greek Philosophy) eclipses Barnes for comprehensiveness. But while Guthrie is unsurpassed in historical detail, Barnes is certainly the winner when viewed from the perspective of logical argumentation. This is analytical philosophy of the highest order.

    It is my considered opinion that Professor Barnes, now retired after teaching at the best universities in Europe, is the most outstanding scholar of ancient philosophy in the last 50 years. All of his work is of course worthy of my highest recommendation.