A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: Greece and Rome From the by Frederick Copleston

By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a major presentation of  the improvement of philosophy for Catholic  seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume  A historical past Of Philosophy has  journeyed a long way past the modest function of its writer to  universal acclaim because the most sensible heritage of  philosophy in English. Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit  of large erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J.  Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God  and the potential for metaphysics, knew that  seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet  of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity  with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be reduced  to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to  redress the inaccurate by way of writing a whole historical past of  Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and  intellectual pleasure -- and one who provides full  place to every philosopher, featuring his suggestion in a  beautifully rounded demeanour and displaying his links  to those that went prior to and to those that came  after him.

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This thought is of course the Word of Heraclitus. There is, then, one immanent law and Reason in the universe, of which human laws should be the embodiment, though at best they can be but its imperfect and relative embodiment. B y stressing universal law and man's participation in Reason, Heraclitus helped to pave the way for the universalist ideals of Stoicism. This conception of universal, all-ordering Reason appears in the system of the Stoics, who borrowed their cosmology from Heraclitus. But we are not entitled to suppose that Heraclitus regarded the One, Fire, as a personal God, any more than Thales °r Anaximenes regarded Water or Air as a personal God: Herac itus was a pantheist, just as the Stoics in later times were pantheists.

1 Moreover, although the Greeks certainly had their ideal of moderation, they were constantly being lured away from it by the will to power. The constant fighting of the Greek cities among themselves, even at the heyday of Greek culture, and even when it was to their obvious interest to unite together against a common foe, the constant uprisings within the cities, whether led by an ambitious oligarch or a democratic demagogue, the venality of so many public men in Greek political life—even when the safety and honour of their city was at stake—all manifest the will to power which was so strong in the Greek.

Anaximander Another philosopher of Miletus was Anaximander. He was apparently a younger man than Thales, for he is described by TTieophrastus as an "associate" of Thales. 4 Like him, Anaximander busied himself with practical scientific pursuits, and is credited with having constructed a map—probably for the Milesian sailors on the Black Sea. Participating in political life, as so many other Greek philosophers, he led a colony to Apollonia. Anaximander composed a prose-work on his philosophical theories.

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