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History of Philosophy I

From Heraclitus to the Sophists

Series:

Michal Zvarík

This coursebook addresses key presocratics from Heraclitus to the sophists, who stand at the origin of philosophy as cornerstone of European spirituality. Readers might find that already at this point we encounter timeless and actual questions concerning the human condition in the world, limits of our knowledge, or the problem of adequate articulation of reality. Later thinkers did not philosophised from scratch, but criticised or were inspired by their predecessors. The coursebook thus provides an introduction to presocratic thought as an important field of our spiritual history.

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Introduction More or Less Protreptic ............................................................................... 7 1. Heraclitus of Ephesus ........................................................................................................... 13 1.1 Logos and Unawakened ..................................................................................... 17 1.2 Harmony of Contrasts .......................................................................................... 21 1.3 Criticism of Cognitive Abilities .................................................................... 27 2. Parmenides and Zeno .......................................................................................................... 31 2.1 Prooimion and Ways of Knowledge ....................................................... 33 2.2 The Nature of Being ............................................................................................... 38 2.3 The Way of the Two-headed .......................................................................... 42 2.4 Zeno of Elea ................................................................................................................... 44 3. Empedocles .................................................................................................................................... 47 3.1 The Principles ............................................................................................................... 49 3.2 Cosmogony and Zoogony ............................................................................... 52 3.3 Perception and Knowledge ............................................................................ 54 3.4 The Purifi cations ......................................................................................................... 57 64. Anaxagoras ..................................................................................................................................... 59 4.1 Basic Principles ............................................................................................................ 60 4.2 Sensory Perception and Cognition ......................................................... 65 5. The Presocratic Atomists ................................................................................................... 67 5.1 Atoms and Void .......................................................................................................... 68 5.2 Knowledge and Cognition .............................................................................. 70 5.3 The Ethics of Democritus .................................................................................. 76 6. The Sophists .................................................................................................................................. 81 6.1 The Historical Context of Sophists .......................................................... 82 6.2 Protagoras of Abdera ............................................................................................ 84 6.3 Gorgias ................................................................................................................................ 89 6.3.1 Thesis I: “Nothing is“ ............................................................................... 91 6.3.2 Thesis II: “Even if it exists it is incomprehensible to man” ................................................................................................................ 92 6.3.3 Thesis III: “Even if it is comprehensible, it surely cannot be expressed or communicated to another” ...................................................................................................... 94 6.4 Physis and nomos ...................................................................................................... 95 List of Abbreviations ......................................................................................................................... 100 Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................. 101

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