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In the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. a new kind of thinker appeared in Greek city-states, dedicated to finding the origins of the world and everything in it, using observation and reason rather than tradition and myth. We call these thinkers Presocratic philosophers, and recognize them as the first philosophers of the Western tradition, as well as the originators of scientific thinking. New textual discoveries and new approaches make a reconsideration of the Presocratics at the beginning of the twenty-first century especially timely.
This handbook brings together leading international scholars to study the diverse figures, movements, and approaches that constitute Presocratic philosophy. More than a survey of scholarship, this study presents new interpretations and evaluations of the Presocratics' accomplishments, from Thales to the sophists, from theology to science, and from pre-philosophical background to their influence on later thinkers. Many positions presented here challenge accepted wisdom and offer alternative accounts of Presocratic theories.
This handbook includes chapters on the Milesians (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes), Xenophanes, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, the Pythagoreans, the atomists, and the sophists. Special studies are devoted to the sources of Presocratic philosophy, oriental influences, Hippocratic medicine, cosmology, explanation, epistemology, theology, and the reception of Presocratic thought in Aristotle and other ancient authors.
2. The Sources of Presocratic Philosophy
3. Prehistory of Presocratic Philosophy in an Orientalizing Context
4. Milesian Measures: Time, Space, and Matter
5. The Cloud-Astrophysics of Xenophanes and Ionian Material Monism
6. Heraclitus: Flux, Order, and Knowledge
7. Signs and Arguments in Parmenides B8
8. Anaxagroas and the Theory of Everything
9. Empedocles: Physical Divinity and Allegorical Myth
10. Two Problems in Pythagoreanism
11. Atomism's Eleatic Roots
12. Leuippus's Atomism
13. Speculating about Diogenes of Appolonia
14. The Sophists
15. The Role of Hippocratic Medicine in the Formation of Early Greek Thought
16. Presocratic Cosmologies
17. Reason, Cause, and Explanation in Presocratic Philosophy
18. The Secularizing of Knowledge in Presocratic Thought
19. Presocratic Theology
20. Aristotle's Account of the Origins of Philosophy
21. Classical Representations and Uses of the Presocratics