Philosophy Before Socrates: An Introduction with Texts and Commentary

Philosophy Before Socrates: An Introduction with Texts and Commentary

Richard D. McKirahan

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 1603841822

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Since its publication in 1994, Richard McKirahan's Philosophy Before Socrates has become the standard sourcebook in Presocratic philosophy. It provides a wide survey of Greek science, metaphysics, and moral and political philosophy, from their roots in myth to the philosophers and Sophists of the fifth century. A comprehensive selection of fragments and testimonia, translated by the author, is presented in the context of a thorough and accessible discussion. An introductory chapter deals with the sources of Presocratic and Sophistic texts and the special problems of interpretation they present.

In its second edition, this work has been updated and expanded to reflect important new discoveries and the most recent scholarship. Changes and additions have been made throughout, the most significant of which are found in the chapters on the Pythagoreans, Parmenides, Zeno, Anaxagoras, and Empedocles, and the new chapter on Philolaus. The translations of some passages have been revised, as have some interpretations and discussions. A new Appendix provides translations of three Hippocratic writings and the Derveni papyrus.


















required. Zeus destroyed the Silver Race for refusing to worship the gods, and he will destroy the Iron Race because of its moral degeneracy. 2.6 Zeus will destroy this race too of humans endowed with speech,   (180) when they come to have gray hair at birth. A father will not be like his children nor will they be at all like him, nor will a guest be friendly to his host or comrade with comrade or brother with brother as before. They will quickly come to dishonor their parents as they grow

stirring, but that they must be held together in the compound in the appropriate way.62 This is further evidence for the view that Empedocles’ compounds are more like chemical compounds than mixtures or solutions. The role of Love in extant compounds thus corresponds to the modern notion of chemical bonding. Another question is whether there are “atoms”—smallest bits of fire, air, water, and earth. Such a view is compatible with “gin and tonic” mixtures and with the blending of pigments, as well

to be nor perish is violated. And the Atomists, echoing Eleatic sentiments, insist that compounds are not true unities in this sense: “it is quite foolish that two or more things could ever come to be one” ( 16.3), “a plurality could not come to be from what is in reality one, nor one from what is really many” ( 16.5). But if atoms cannot come into contact, the doctrine that atomic motion is due to the collision of atoms needs to be radically revised, and all the talk about striking

11.20 Plutarch Against Colotes 8, 1110F–1111A    16.33 Pericles 6    13.24 Lysander 12    13.32 The Principle of Cold 7, 947F    6.3 Table Talk 781E    18.21 pseudo–Plutarch Stromata 2   5.3, 5.6 5.11 5.18 3    6.7 4   7.9, 7.20 12    17.10 Porphyry Life of Pythagoras 19    9.10 Protagoras For fragments of Protagoras, see Concordance with Diels-Kranz, entries beginning 80B Scholium on Gregory Nazianzus Patrologia Graeca vol. 36, col. 911    13.26 Sextus Empiricus Against

soul, which 9.13 places after the Trojan War.16 Some of the discrepancies may stem from the fact that 9.12 claims to be giving an account not of Pythagorean beliefs but of Egyptian ones (although the Egyptians, who had an elaborate doctrine of the afterlife, did not believe in transmigration). The Greeks referred to allegedly borrowed beliefs from the Egyptians, but there is no guarantee that they did not alter them. In any case, neither passage proves that the Pythagorean belief in

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