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Classical Philosophy

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Classical Philosophy

A Contemporary Introduction

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Classical Philosophy: A Contemporary Introduction by Christopher Shields
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The origins of Western Philosophy can be found in sixth century BC Greece. There it was that philosophy developed into a discipline that considered such fundamental questions as the nature of human existence, our place in the universe and our attitudes towards an interactive politicised society. Every development in philosophy indeed stems from the thinkers of this enlightened time. Classical Philosophy is a comprehensive examination of early philosophy from the pre-Socratics through to Aristotle. The aim of the book is to provide an explanation and analysis of the ideas that flourished at this time and considers their relevance both to the historical development of philosophy and to contemporary philosophy today. From these ideas we can see the roots of arguments in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and political philosophy. The book is arranged in four parts by thinker and covers: The Presocratics Socrates Plato Aristotle Christopher Shields' style is inviting, refreshing and ideal for anyone coming to the subject for the first time. He provides a balanced account of the central topics and ideas that emerged from the period and includes helpful further reading and chapter overviews.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Acknowledgements. Part One: Philosophy Before Socrates. 1.1 Thales and the earliest natural philosophers. 1.2 Xenophanes. 1.3 Heracleitus. 1.4 Parmenides and other Eleatics. 1.5 Democritus and Fifth-Century Atomism. 1.6 Protagoras and the Sophistic Movements. 1.7 Challenges from the Pre-Socratics and Sophists. Part Two: Socrates. 2.1 The Socratic Elenchus. 2.2 The Failures of Meno and Euthyphro. 2.3 Socratic Ignorance and Socratic Irony. 2.4 Socratic Conviction and the Socratic Paradoxes. 2.5 Socrates on Trial and in Prison. 2.6 Conclusions. Part Three: Plato. 3.1 From Socrates to Plato. 3.2 Meno's Paradox of Inquiry: Plato's Response. 3.3 Two Functions of Plato's Theory of Forms. 3.4 Plato to Aristotle. 3.5 Three Arguments for Forms. 3.6 Plato's General Characterizations of Forms. 3.7 Platonic Analysis: A Case Study. 3.8 The Special Role of the Form of the Good. 3.9 Problems about Forms. 3.10 Conclusions. Part Four: Aristotle. 4.1 Plato's Rejection of Relativism 4.2 Aristotle's Introduction of Category Theory. 4.3 The Four Causes Introduced. 4.4 The Four Causes Defended. 4.5 The Four Causes Applied I: Soul and Body. 4.6 The Four Causes Applied II: Happiness and the Human Function. 4.7 Aristotle on Philosophical Analysis. 4.8 Conclusions. Suggestions for Further Reading.
Release date NZ
May 29th, 2003
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
1 black & white tables
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