The essays presented here function as a companion volume to Hans-Georg Gadamer's The Beginning of Philosophy (Continuum, 1998). Together, they represent the only two extended publications on the pre-Socratics in Gadamer's entire corpus. As the word 'knowledge' (Wissen) in the title suggests, here Gadamer is interested not so much in the origins of philosophy per se as in those of knowledge in general-everything, that is, that we call 'science' and the Germans call 'Wissenschaft.' Whereas The Beginning of Philosophy dealt with the inception of philosophical inquiry by focusing on the history of the reception and interpretation of Parmenides' didactic poem, The Beginning of Knowledge, which brings together nearly all of Gadamer's previously published (but never before translated) essays on the Presocratics, casts a wider net. Beginning with two hermeneutical and philological investigations of the Heraclitus fragments that are similar in scope to the previous analyses of Parmenides ("On the Tradition of Heraclitus," from 1974, and "Heraclitus Studies," from 1990), he then moves on to one of his earliest pieces, a discussion of the Greek atomists ("Ancient Atomic Theory," 1935) and a more recent treatment of the Presocratic cosmologists ("Plato and Presocratic Cosmology," 1964). In the last two essays, Gadamer puts the previous chapters in perspective by elaborating on the profound debt that modern scientific thought owes to the Greek philosophical tradition ("Greek Philosophy and Modern Thought," 1978, and "Natural Science and the Concept of Nature," 1994/95).
About the Author
Hans-Georg Gadamer (1900-2002) was a celebrated and influential continental philosopher. He spent the majority of his teaching career at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, where he became emeritus professor in 1968. He is the author of The Beginning of Philosophy and Truth and Method.
Table of Contents
1. On the Tradition of Heraclitus
2. Hearaclitus Studies
3. Ancient Atomic Theory
4. Plato and Presocratic Cosmology
5. Greek Philosophy and Modern Thought
6. Natural Science and the Concept of Nature