Early Greek Philosophy

Early Greek Philosophy

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Translated by:

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140448153
  • 336 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


The works collected in this volume form the true foundation of Western philosophy—the base upon which Plato and Aristotle and their successors would eventually build. Yet the importance of the Pre-Socratics thinkers lies less in their influence—great though that was—than in their astonishing intellectual ambition and imaginative reach. Zeno’s dizzying ‘proofs’ that motion is impossible; the extraordinary atomic theories of Democritus; the haunting and enigmatic epigrams of Heraclitus; and the maxims of Alcmaeon: fragmentary as they often are, the thoughts of these philosophers seem strikingly modern in their concern to forge a truly scientific vocabulary and way of reasoning.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Table of Contents

Early Greek PhilosophyMap
Preface to the Second Edition
Note to the Reader
Part I
1. Precursors
2. Thales
3. Anaximander
4. Anaximenes
5. Pythagoras
6. Alcmaeon
7. Xenophanes
8. Heraclitus

Part II
9. Parmenides
10. Melissus
11. Zeno

Part III
12. Empedocles
13. Fifth-century Pythagoreanism
14. Hippasus
15. Philolaus
16. Ion of Chios
17. Hippo
18. Anaxagoras
19. Archelaus
20. Leucippus
21. Democritus
22. Diogenes of Apollonia

Appendix: The Sources
Further Reading
Subject Index
Index of Quoted Texts
Index to Diels-Kranz B-Texts