David Sedley

in Creationism and Its Critics in Antiquity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253643
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520934368 | DOI:

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The earliest western philosophers were the bright original Greek thinkers traditionally known as the Presocratics—a line-up which included such heterogeneous figures as Thales, Anaximander, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Zeno of Elea, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Democritus, and Protagoras. Presocratics assumes that Socrates, who lived in the late fifth century b.c., initiated a new direction in philosophical thought sufficiently radical to mark off his predecessors and many of his contemporaries as jointly constituting a distinct group. Anaxagoras was the truly revolutionary thinker. He was recognized by Plato as the first overt champion of a creative cosmic intelligence and even in Plato found his actual use of that concept to be in the event disappointing. Anaxagoras' most decisive philosophical innovation is his dualism of mind and matter. He was never reported as distinguishing mind or intelligence form body as the “incorporeal” from the corporeal, and he betrayed just the opposite assumption when he calls nous the finest and purest of all things.

Keywords: Presocratics; Thales; Anaxagoras; Heraclitus; incorporeal

Chapter.  13815 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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