Monday, November 03, 2014

Presocratics - Open questions

The two postings following this one are two tentative efforts to understand an ancient conundrum, the Presocratics of Greece.  Here is an introduction to the issues.


1.  What is the best overall term for this current: Presocratic, Preplatonic, or first philosophers?

2.  Was Thales truly the first?  What is the status of Hesiod and the Orphics in this regard?

3.  Was there (as the conventional view has it) a sharp break with the Near East and Egypt, or were there important elements of continuity?

4.  Did science, heralding its later development, start with the Ionians?  Or later with Democritus?

5.  Why was there so much focus on opposites, as seen in the famous table that Aristotle ascribes to the Pythagoreans?

6.  How many of the thinkers were involved in pederastic relationships?

7.  Did the philosophy of Being start with Parmenides?