Early Greek Philosophy (Penguin Classics)
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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.
According to some he left no writing behind; for the Nautical Astronomy ascribed to him is said to be by Phocus of Samos. But Callimachus knows him as the discoverer of the Little Bear and writes as follows in his lambi: And he is said to have measured out the little stars of the Wain by which the Phoenicians sail. According to others, he wrote just two works, On the Solstice and On the Equinox, *judging that everything else was unknowable*. He is thought by some to have been the first to study
not changeAlways he remains in the same state, changing not at aU, nor is it fiuing for him to move now here now there [8 26] - he means not that it rests in virtue of the stationariness which is opposed to change but in virtue of the rest which is distinct from change and from stationariness. According to Nicolaus of Damascus in his work On Gods, he says that the first principle is infinite and changeless, and according to Alexander he says that it is finite and spherical. But it is clear from
it were in pain it would not exist wholly; for a thing that is in pain cannot exist always, nor does it have equal power with what is healthy. Nor would it be homogeneous were it to suffer pain; for it would suffer pain by the loss or the addition of something, and it would no longer be homogeneous. Nor could what is healthy suffer pain; for the healllJ. that existed would perish and that which did not exist would come into being. As for suffering anguish, the same argument holds as for being in
say, malleable and ductile, why it is soft and yellow, why it dissolves in sulphuric acid, and so on. The chemist is looking for the 'fundamental properties' of gold, for its 'essence' - for its 'nature' or phusis. This indispensable scientific concept was first established by the Presocratics. Nature is a principle and origin of growth. The notions of principle and origin introduce us to a third Presocratic term: arche. The word, we are told, was first used by Anaximander. It is a difficult term
compressed stream. And then, as the air leaves, the water enters in proportion. Just so, when she holds the water in the depths of the bronze, the neck and channel being blocked by a mortal hand, the air ouLside eagerly keeps the moisture within at the gates ofthe harsh-sounding strainer, controlling the surface, until she releases her hand. Then again, the reverse of before, as the air enters, water runs out in proportion. Just so with the gentle blood pulsing through the limbswhenever it rushes