Pre-Socratic Philosophy - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This encyclopedia article consists of approximately 20 pages of information about Pre-Socratic Philosophy.
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Nature of the Evidence

Before attempting to describe the pre-Socratic doctrines, it is necessary to emphasize the peculiar nature of our sources of knowledge. None of the pre-Socratics' works has survived independently. We have a few references in Plato, some more systematic discussion in Aristotle, and information from later compilers and commentators of which the greater part goes back to a history by Aristotle's pupil Theophrastus. Actual quotations occur and are in some cases extensive, as with the prose fragments of Heraclitus and the 450 surviving lines of Empedocles. Yet, from Aristotle onward, the men who passed on this information were not historians in the modern sense but wrote from a particular philosophical viewpoint (most often Peripatetic), searching the past for anticipations of their own ideas and selecting and arranging their material accordingly. The task of reconstruction and interpretation is thus very different from and more precarious than that...

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This section contains 5,731 words
(approx. 20 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Pre-Socratic Philosophy Encyclopedia Article
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Pre-Socratic Philosophy from Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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