By Anthony Kenny
The following readers will locate not just an authoritative consultant to the heritage of philosophy, but in addition a compelling creation to each significant sector of philosophical inquiry. --from writer description
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Additional info for A New History of Western Philosophy Vol 1 Ancient Philosophy
Several of the Presocratics would be more than a match for Xenophon’s Socrates in scope, insight, and originality. The Socrates who has captured the imagination of succeeding generations of philosophers is the Socrates of Plato, and it is he with whom we shall henceforth be concerned. The Socrates of Plato It is, however, an oversimpliWcation to speak of a Platonic Socrates, because Plato’s dialogues do not assign a consistent role or personality to the character called Socrates. In some dialogues he is predominantly a critical inquirer, challenging the pretensions of other characters by a characteristic technique of question and answer—elenchus—which reduces them to incoherence.
Being is one and indivisible: it has no beginning and no end, and it is not subject to temporal change. When a kettle of water boils away, this may be, in Heraclitus’ words, the death of water and the birth of air; but for Parmenides it is not the death or birth of Being. Whatever changes may take place, they are not changes from being to nonbeing; they are all changes within Being. But for Parmenides there are not, in fact, any real changes at all. 10 The everyday world of apparent change is described in the second part of Parmenides’ poem, the Way of Seeming, which his goddess introduces thus: I bring to an end my trusty word and thought, The tale of Truth.
The middle-sized objects of everyday life are complexes of atoms thus united by random collisions, diVering in kind on the basis of the diVerences between their constituent atoms (Aristotle, Metaph. A 4. 985b4–20; KRS 556). Like Anaxagoras, Democritus believed in plural worlds. There are innumerable worlds, diVering in size. In some worlds there is no sun and moon; in others there is a larger sun and a larger moon; in others there is more than one of each. The distances between one world and the next are various.
A New History of Western Philosophy Vol 1 Ancient Philosophy by Anthony Kenny