Illustrated To Think Like God: Pythagoras and Parmenides, The Origins of Philosophy

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Fascinating illustrations contribute to this illuminating and award-winning account of how and why philosophy emerged and make it a must-read for any inquisitive thinker unsatisfied with prevailing assumptions on this timely and highly relevant subject.

By taking the reader back to the Greek colonies of Southern Italy more than 500 years B.C., the author, with unparalleled insight, tells the story of the Pythagorean quest for otherwordly konwledge — a tale of cultism, political conspiracies, and bloody uprisings that eventually culminate in tragic failure. The emerging hero is Parmenides, who introduces for the first time a technique for testing the truth of a statement that was not based on physical evidence or mortal sense-perception, but instead relied exclusively on the faculty we humans share with the gods: the ability to reason.

"Figures from Anaximander to Zeno, the ruins where they lived and thought, and the paradoxes and thought-experiments they proposed are depicted among the [many] well-chosen color illustrations. The results read like an introductory textbook, but one that has been lovingly written, lavishly laid-out and crisply printed— making it engaging enough to draw in readers to whom it has not been assigned." - Publishers Weekly

"To Think Like God is a highly ambitious book . . . Hermann's approach deserves to be taken seriously as an alternative to standard interpretations." - Richard D. McKirahan, Jr., Edwin Clarence Norton Professor of Classics and Professor of Philosophy, Pomona College

"Arnold Hermann brings fresh life into the specialists' debates . . . a blow of wind that dissipates much fog." - Walter Burkert, Professor Emeritus of Classical Philology, University of Zurich

ARNOLD HERMANN is pursuing independent research on the origins of philosophy and methods of thinking. He specialices on subjects connected with Parmenides and Plato's Parmenides.

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Editorial Reviews

New Age Retailer
Arnold Hermann has produced a magnificent reply to those who wonder to what value does one espouse Philosophy as a way of understanding. This book uses over 300 illustrations to provide a living, vibrant context for seeing Philosophy as an underlying, legitimatizing foundation for clear reasoning about not simply the world we sense, but about the process of thought itself. Hermann's gift to the reader is a concise re-examination of the role of reasoning and how the ingredients of that process led to the scientific method which has brought the planet such incredible breakthroughs in medicine, engineering, energy, and communications. Think: viral vaccines, elegant suspension bridges, hydrogen vehicles, computer chips. Without some of the principles of logic that Parmenides advanced, steps such as verification, testing, elimination, and other key principles of consistency would not allow for scientific replication in the material world. Even many legal rules that we rely upon today, such as evidentiary proofs, come not from the oft-credited Magna Carta, but from his formulations for his native city of Elea. . . . This beautifully illustrated book, measuring 10" x 8" is a reader's delight because it is so carefully laid-out to balance text with photos and reproductions. . . The book can be marketed at our checkout counter easily because of its abundant color and enticing title. It also belongs in Law, Ancient History, and of course, Philosophy.
Publishers Weekly
This book attempts three very difficult feats: humanizing fifth-century B.C. philosophers of the Greek colonies in southern Italy; making the relatively unknown, post-Pythagorean thinker Parmenides into a central philosophical figure for nonexperts; and revising a scholarly work to create a book for lay readers. Hermann has spent nearly 20 years thinking and writing about Parmenides, and argues that it is the latter's method of determining a statement's truth that set philosophy on the logic-based course on which it remains. Hermann takes readers through some grueling philosophical territory, avoiding jargon but (drawing on the scholarly version, released earlier this year by the same publisher) tracking original arguments and interpretations nearly point for point. (He also includes the entirety of Parmenides's only known text, a poem.) Figures from Anaximander to Zeno, the ruins where they lived and thought, and the paradoxes and thought-experiments they proposed are depicted among the 225 well-chosen color illustrations. The results read like an introductory textbook, but one that has been lovingly written, lavishly laid-out and crisply printed-making it engaging enough to draw in readers to whom it has not been assigned. (Dec.) Forecast: The publisher obviously has a firm belief in Hermann's attempted shifting of the philosophical hierarchy and has backed it up with a first run of 10,000. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781930972179
  • Publisher: Parmenides Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,559,180
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

ARNOLD HERMANN has spent the last fifteen years doing independent research in Europe and the United States on the origins of philosophy and methods of thinking.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2008


    Beautiful book. Superb style. Captivating content. A one of a kind book that can be enjoyed by everyone! I am an avid reader of ancient Greek and Roman history, my passion living on past my University days. I can honestly say that it has been quite a while since I have enjoyed a book on philosophy as much as I did this one. The combination of ancient philosophy and ancient history is in near perfect form throughout this book. I tend to tire of pure philosophy texts quickly, if not immediately, but To Think Like God held my attention the entire way through. It's a brilliant departure from a pretentious philosophy essay or a mind-numbing history text, both of which can be found in abundance these days. I think that many have forgotten the importance of weaving history into philosophy. This breaks that boring trend and provides the reader with insights to early philosophy, relevant historical information, even some rarely known, intriguing history bits are sewn in Not to mention the vivid illustrations that, page after page, bring an unheard of vibrancy to philosophy and history alike. I must commend the author on his writing style, for I seldom find myself immersed in a book so fluid. His language and structure are married beautifully. A pure joy to read! I keep this book on my coffee table and have yet to find a person who neglects to take a peek at it when visiting. It's interesting and exceptional no matter the situation I'd recommend this to anyone with a valid brain wave.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2005

    A Misleading Account

    This book was an attempt at writing a persuasive paper designed to minimalize the works of Pythagoras and his followers in order to lift up Parmenides onto a pedestal. The author treats the Pythagoreans as having flawed ideas so that he can then claim that Parmenides came and had the correct or proper way of defining philosophy. Reasons behind this could stem from the fact that both Pythagoras and Parmenides lived during the same time period, and he needed to degrade Pythagoras in order to show that Parmenides made the greatest contribution to the start of philosophy as being the 'better' pre-Socratic thinker. The funny truth of the matter is that Pythagoras is probably more widely known for his and his group's accomplishments than Parmenides, and it is a shame the author felt as though he had to exclude a brilliant philosopher in order to champion another. I have considered myself to be a practical philosopher, a person who can take ideas and test them towards real world goals. This way of operating makes philosophy a tool one can use to navigate through life's unpredictable outcomes. Pythagoras had a series of precepts that he taught his students and his followers continued this regimen in order to not just think, but to do. The author is scared to admit this, to recognize this philosophy, because then it would jeopardize the perceived achievements of his idol Paremides. One of the limitations I see with current academic philosophy is that it is stuck within the very mindset that the author has, which is that philosophy is just about thinking for the sake of thought and thought alone. Other academic professors share his view. This is a very narrow view, and it does not help the field of philosophy to hold such a view. Philosophy is a large umbrella full of ideas which have sprouted just about all the major fields of study taught in universities today. Philosophy needs to find the connections it made long ago and claim credit for the broad body of knowledge that has been a neccesary part of the functionality of societies both past, present, and into the forseeable future. Trying to create a niche in philosophy in order to make it stand out will just turn away those students and practitioners who know that there are a panorama of philosophies both practiced and taught and that it is this trait which makes philosophy so special.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2009

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