Athens I

Wallace Matson

in Grand Theories and Everyday Beliefs

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199812691
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919420 | DOI:
Athens I

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The intensely human culture of newly literate Ionia spread into every field of intellectual endeavor. Though it was obviously anti-religious, serious opposition to it took nearly a century to develop. Ionian thought came to Athens later than to Italy. It was introduced by Anaxagoras of Clazomenae and by members of a new “profession,” the Sophists –itinerant lecturers and tutors. The most famous of these was Protagoras, the first Relativist and explicit agnostic. Socrates, a native Athenian, started out as a friend of the scientific side of Pythagoreanism. As such he was caricatured by the comic poet Aristophanes; and as such he was condemned and put to death for “impiety.” But by that time he had undergone a conversion from science to the moral and religious interests also associated with the Brotherhood.

Keywords: Anaxagoras; sophist; Protagoras; relativism; agnostic; Socrates; Pythagoreanism; Aristophanes; impiety

Chapter.  1853 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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