By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a major presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest goal of its writer to universal acclaim because the most sensible historical past of philosophy in English. Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of huge erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the incorrect via writing an entire background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and person who provides full place to every philosopher, offering his inspiration in a beautifully rounded demeanour and exhibiting his links to those that went earlier than and to people who came after him.
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Extra info for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: Greece and Rome From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus
But what is the One-in-many? For Heraclitus, as for the Stoics of later times, who borrowed the notion from him, the essence of all things is Fire. Now, it might seem at first sight that Heraclitus is merely ringing the changes on the old Ionian theme—as 1 Frag. 50. » Frag. 80. * Numenius. Frag. 16, apud Chalcidium, c. 297 (D. 22 A 22). * Frag. 51. » Hegel, Hist. , vol. I. THE WORD OF HERACLITUS 41 though because Thales made Reality to be Water and Anaximenes Air, Heraclitus, simply in order to find something different from his predecessors, fixed on Fire.
32. » Frag. 96. * Frag. 118. • Frags. 77, 36. i44 PRE-SOCRATIC PHILOSOPHY Law, tends to produce a psychological attitude that is at variance with what would seem to be logically demanded by the theoretical identification of God with the cosmic unity.
The Pythagoreans are of interest to us, not only because of their musical and mathematical investigations; not only because of their character as a religious society; not only because through their doctrine of transmigration of souls and their mathematical metaphysic—at least in so far as they did not "materialise" 1 Cf. Arist. Physics, 303 a IO-IJ. • In Eukleiden, Friedlein, 65, 16-19. » Heath, art. cit. 4 Cf. the words of the Russian philosopher, Leo Chestov: " I t ha£ happened a. re than once that a truth has had to wait for recognition whole centuries after its discovery.