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After Parmenides
Idealism, Realism, and Epistemic Constructivism
Tom Rockmore
University of Chicago Press, 2021
Engages with one of the oldest philosophical problems—the relationship between thought and being—and offers a fresh perspective with which to approach the long history of this puzzle.

In After Parmenides, Tom Rockmore takes us all the way back to the beginning of Western philosophy, when Parmenides asserted that thought and being are the same. This idea created a division between what the mind constructs as knowable entities and the idea that there is also a mind-independent real, which we can know or fail to know. Rockmore argues that we need to give up on the idea of knowing the real as it is, and instead focus on the objects of cognition that our mind constructs. Though we cannot know mind-independent objects as they “really” are, we can and do know objects as they appear to us.

After Parmenides charts the continual engagement with these ideas of the real and the knowable throughout philosophical history from Plato and Aristotle to Descartes, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, and others. This ambitious book shows how new connections can be made in the history of philosophy when it is reread through a new lens.
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Against the Jews and the Gentiles
Books I–IV
Giannozzo Manetti
Harvard University Press, 2017
Giannozzo Manetti (1396–1459) was a celebrated humanist orator, historian, philosopher, and scholar of the early Renaissance. Son of a wealthy Florentine merchant, he participated actively in the public life of the Florentine republic and embraced the new humanist scholarship of the quattrocento, oriented to the service of the state and the reform of religion. Mastering not only classical Latin but also Greek and Hebrew, he gained access to a whole library of sources previously unknown in the Latin West. Among the fruits of his studies is his treatise Against the Jews and the Gentiles, an apologia for Christianity in ten books that redefines religion in terms of “true piety,” and relates the historical development of the pagan and Jewish religions to the life of Jesus. The present volume includes the first critical edition of Books I–IV, together with the first translation of those books into any modern language.
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Anaximander
Carlo Rovelli
Westholme Publishing, 2011

THIS BOOK IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

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Antisthenes of Athens
Texts, Translations, and Commentary
Susan H. Prince
University of Michigan Press, 2015
Antisthenes of Athens (c. 445-365 BCE) was a famous ancient disciple of Socrates, senior to Plato by fifteen years and inspirational to Xenophon. He is relevant to two of the greatest turning points in ancient intellectual history, from pre-Socraticism to Socraticism, and from classical Athens to the Hellenistic period. A better understanding of Antisthenes leads to a better understanding of the intellectual culture of Athens that shaped Plato and laid the foundations for Hellenistic philosophy and literature as well. Antisthenes wrote prolifically, but little of this text remains today. Susan Prince has collected all the surviving passages that pertain most closely to Antisthenes’ ancient reputation and literary production, translates them into English for the first time, and sets out the parameters for their interpretation, with close attention to the role Antisthenes likely played in the literary agenda of each ancient author who cited him.

This is the first translation of Antisthenes’ remains into English. Chapters present the ancient source, the original Greek passage, and necessary critical apparatus. The author then adds the modern English translation and notes on the context of the preservation, the significance of the testimonium, and on the Greek. Several new readings are proposed.

Antisthenes of Athens will be of interest to anyone seeking to understand Antisthenes and his intellectual context, as well as his contributions to ancient literary criticism, views on discourse, and ethics.

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The Argument of the Action
Essays on Greek Poetry and Philosophy
Seth Benardete
University of Chicago Press, 2000

This volume brings together Seth Benardete’s studies of Hesiod, Homer, and Greek tragedy, eleven Platonic dialogues, and Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

The Argument of the Action spans four decades of Seth Benardete’s work, documenting its impressive range. Benardete’s philosophic reading of the poets and his poetic reading of the philosophers share a common ground, guided by the key he found in the Platonic dialogue: probing the meaning of speeches embedded in deeds, he uncovers the unifying intention of the work by tracing the way it unfolds through a movement of its own. Benardete’s original interpretations of the classics are the fruit of this discovery of the “argument of the action.”

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Aristotle's "Art of Rhetoric"
Aristotle
University of Chicago Press, 2019
For more than two thousand years. Aristotle’s “Art of Rhetoric” has shaped thought on the theory and practice of rhetoric, the art of persuasive speech. In three sections, Aristotle discusses what rhetoric is, as well as the three kinds of rhetoric (deliberative, judicial, and epideictic), the three rhetorical modes of persuasion, and the diction, style, and necessary parts of a successful speech. Throughout, Aristotle defends rhetoric as an art and a crucial tool for deliberative politics while also recognizing its capacity to be misused by unscrupulous politicians to mislead or illegitimately persuade others.

Here Robert C. Bartlett offers a literal, yet easily readable, new translation of Aristotle’s “Art of Rhetoric,” one that takes into account important alternatives in the manuscript and is fully annotated to explain historical, literary, and other allusions. Bartlett’s translation is also accompanied by an outline of the argument of each book; copious indexes, including subjects, proper names, and literary citations; a glossary of key terms; and a substantial interpretive essay.
 
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Christianity and Philosophical Culture in the Fifth Century
The controversy about the Human Soul in the West
Ernest Fortin
St. Augustine's Press, 2019

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A Companion to Ancient Philosophy
Edited and with an introduction by Sean D. Kirkland and Eric Sanday
Northwestern University Press, 2018
A Companion to Ancient Philosophy is a collection of essays on a broad range of themes and figures spanning the entire period extending from the Pre-Socratics to Plato, Aristotle, and the Hellenistic thinkers. 

Rather than offering synoptic and summary treatments of preestablished positions and themes, these essays engage with the ancient texts directly, focusing attention on concepts that emerge as urgent in the readings themselves and then clarifying those concepts interpretively. Indeed, this is a companion volume that takes a very serious and considered approach to its designated task—accompanying readers as they move through the most crucial passages of the infinitely rich and compelling texts of the ancients. Each essay provides a tutorial in close reading and careful interpretation. 

Because it offers foundational treatments of the most important works of ancient philosophy and because it, precisely by doing so, arrives at numerous original interpretive insights and suggests new directions for research in ancient philosophy, this volume should be of great value both to students just starting off reading the ancients and to established scholars still fascinated by philosophy's deepest abiding questions.
 
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The Complete Works
Handbook, Discourses, and Fragments
Epictetus
University of Chicago Press, 2022
The complete surviving works of Epictetus, the most influential Stoic philosopher from antiquity.

“Some things are up to us and some are not.”
 
Epictetus was born into slavery around the year 50 CE, and, upon being granted his freedom, he set himself up as a philosophy teacher. After being expelled from Rome, he spent the rest of his life living and teaching in Greece. He is now considered the most important exponent of Stoicism, and his surviving work comprises a series of impassioned discourses, delivered live and recorded by his student Arrian, and the Handbook, Arrian’s own take on the heart of Epictetus’s teaching.
 
In Discourses, Epictetus argues that happiness depends on knowing what is in our power to affect and what is not. Our internal states and our responses to events are up to us, but the events themselves are assigned to us by the benevolent deity, and we should treat them—along with our bodies, possessions, and families—as matters of indifference, simply making the best use of them we can. Together, the Discourses and Handbook constitute a practical guide to moral self-improvement, as Epictetus explains the work and exercises aspirants need to do to enrich and deepen their lives. Edited and translated by renowned scholar Robin Waterfield, this book collects the complete works of Epictetus, bringing to modern readers his insights on how to cope with death, exile, the people around us, the whims of the emperor, fear, illness, and much more.

CUSTOMER NOTE: THE HARDCOVER IS FOR LIBRARIES AND HAS NO JACKET.

 
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The Confessions of Odysseus
Nalin Ranasinghe
St. Augustine's Press, 2021
Nalin Ranasinghe undertakes the monumentally brash assignment of accusing man and then offering his defense, precisely as Homer does of Odysseus in the Iliad. Odysseus is portrayed as a human being deserving of both. For this reason and Homer’s perceptive descriptions, Ranasinghe claims Homer’s epic is the cornerstone of Western civilization. The central insights herein compel Ranasinghe to admit the necessity of heeding its lessons today, of minding its characters and seeing them in action off the page and in our own world.

Predrag Cicovacki in his indispensable preface to the book, elucidates: “In Ranasinghe’s view, Odysseus is both the first recognizable human being and a model of curious and concupiscent human rationality that constantly strives toward the virtues of self-knowledge and moderation. Homer leads us to believe that the cosmos leans toward virtue, although its fundamental truths may be inherently unspeakable. This is the line of thought that Ranasinghe believes was further developed by Socrates, Plato, and Jesus, while being obscured by Aristotle, Augustine, and their followers. Homer’s later epic and his central insights are, according to Ranasinghe, the most fertile soil on which a humane civilization can grow and flourish.” 

Yet Ranasinghe ultimately says it best. “Homer must be read as the wisest Greeks did, not for fantastic tales of the Olympians but because his myths reveal eternal constants of the human state: the soul’s ruling passions and the possibility of knowing and educating these false gods. Wrestled with thus the Iliad becomes a cautionary tale, not one urging literal reading or mindless mimesis. It may always be that for the few who grasp Homer, many more will obey his gods or imitate his antiheroes; but the Odyssey hints that while its poet sees this potential for misuse, he is willing to take a noble risk and hope that eros can listen to and educate thumos. This faith is implicit in his tale of Achilles and the Trojan War. It is vital today that we see how the West’s end resembles its angry origins, as depicted in the Iliad. This is why Homer is said to be as fresh as the morning newspaper. His wisdom may outlive our literacy.” 
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Dante and the Greeks
Jan M. Ziolkowski
Harvard University Press
Although Dante never traveled to Greek-speaking lands in the eastern Mediterranean and his exposure to the Greek language was limited, he displays a keen interest in the cultures of Greece, both ancient and medieval, pagan and Christian. Bringing together cartography, history, philosophy, philology, reception studies, religious studies, and other disciplines, these essays tap into knowledge and skills from specialists in the medieval West, Byzantium, and Dante. The twelve contributors discuss the presence of ancient Greek poetry, philosophy, and science (astrology, cosmography, geography) in Dante’s writings, as well as the Greek characters who populate his works. Some of these individuals were drawn indirectly from ancient mythography, Homeric epic, and other such sources, while others were historically attested personages, down to Dante’s own era. Greek was not only a language and civilization of the past, but also a present (and often rival) religious and political entity. To each layer—ancient pagan, early Christian, and contemporary Byzantine—Latins related differently. Doctrinal, political, linguistic, cultural, and educational matters all played important roles in shaping the attitudes that form the focal point for this volume, which sets the stage for further engagement with Dante’s corpus in its cultural settings.
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Death by Philosophy
The Biographical Tradition in the Life and Death of the Archaic Philosophers Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus
Ava Chitwood
University of Michigan Press, 2004

How does one die by philosophy? In Diogenes Laertius, philosophers jump into volcanoes, bury themselves in dung, get eaten by dogs, hang themselves, drown, and vanish into thin air -- sometimes all in a single lifetime. But what happens when we look beyond the fantastic and absurd to examine the particular ways that the philosophers' lives and deaths are recounted?
Ava Chitwood's reexamination of Diogenes Laertius's philosophical biographies opens a new window on the intellectual culture and context in which the work of philosophers like Empedocles, Heraclitus, and Democritus was read, received, and transmitted. Chitwood's analysis also suggests a methodology for understanding the interplay between biography and philosophy and for evaluating biographical sources.
While Chitwood's approach combines the disciplines of classical philology and philosophy, Death by Philosophy is not intended solely for the specialist. This investigation offers the modern reader a fascinating, fresh, and entertaining view of the ancient literary and philosophical world.
Ava Chitwood is Assistant Professor of Classics, at the University of South Florida.
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"Discourse and Truth" and "Parresia"
Michel Foucault
University of Chicago Press, 2019
This volume collects a series of lectures given by the renowned French thinker Michel Foucault late in his career. The book is composed of two parts: a talk, Parrēsia, delivered at the University of Grenoble in 1982, and a series of lectures entitled “Discourse and Truth,” given at the University of California, Berkeley in 1983, which appears here for the first time in its full and correct form. Together, they provide an unprecedented account of Foucault’s reading of the Greek concept of parrēsia, often translated as “truth-telling” or “frank speech.” The lectures trace the transformation of this concept across Greek, Roman, and early Christian thought, from its origins in pre-Socratic Greece to its role as a central element of the relationship between teacher and student. In mapping the concept’s history, Foucault’s concern is not to advocate for free speech; rather, his aim is to explore the moral and political position one must occupy in order to take the risk to speak truthfully.

These lectures—carefully edited and including notes and introductory material to fully illuminate Foucault’s insights—are a major addition to Foucault’s English language corpus.
 
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Early Greek Philosophy
Joe McCoy
Catholic University of America Press, 2013
The philosophy of the Presocratics still governs scholarly discussion today. This important volume grapples with a host of philosophical issues and philological and historical problems inherent in interpreting Presocratic philosophers.
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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume I
Introductory and Reference Materials
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume II
Beginnings and Early Ionian Thinkers, Part 1
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume III
Early Ionian Thinkers, Part 2
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume IV
Western Greek Thinkers, Part 1
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume IX
Sophists, Part 2
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume V
Western Greek Thinkers, Part 2
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume VI
Later Ionian and Athenian Thinkers, Part 1
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume VII
Later Ionian and Athenian Thinkers, Part 2
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Early Greek Philosophy, Volume VIII
Sophists, Part 1
André Laks and Glenn W. Most
Harvard University Press, 2016

The fragments and testimonia of the early Greek philosophers (often labeled the Presocratics) have always been not only a fundamental source for understanding archaic Greek culture and ancient philosophy but also a perennially fresh resource that has stimulated Western thought until the present day. This new systematic conception and presentation of the evidence differs in three ways from Hermann Diels’s groundbreaking work, as well as from later editions: it renders explicit the material’s thematic organization; it includes a selection from such related bodies of evidence as archaic poetry, classical drama, and the Hippocratic corpus; and it presents an overview of the reception of these thinkers until the end of antiquity.

Volume I contains introductory and reference materials essential for using all other parts of the edition. Volumes II–III include chapters on ancient doxography, background, and the Ionians from Pherecydes to Heraclitus. Volumes IV–V present western Greek thinkers from the Pythagoreans to Hippo. Volumes VI–VII comprise later philosophical systems and their aftermath in the fifth and early fourth centuries. Volumes VIII–IX present fifth-century reflections on language, rhetoric, ethics, and politics (the so-called sophists and Socrates) and conclude with an appendix on philosophy and philosophers in Greek drama.

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Encounters and Reflections
Conversations with Seth Benardete
Seth Benardete
University of Chicago Press, 2002
By turns wickedly funny and profoundly illuminating, Encounters and Reflections presents a captivating and unconventional portrait of the life and works of Seth Benardete. One of the leading scholars of ancient thought, Benardete here reflects on both the people he knew and the topics that fascinated him throughout his career in a series of candid, freewheeling conversations with Robert Berman, Ronna Burger, and Michael Davis.
The first part of the book discloses vignettes about fellow students, colleagues, and acquaintances of Benardete's who later became major figures in the academic and intellectual life of twentieth-century America. We glimpse the student days of Allan Bloom, Stanley Rosen, George Steiner, and we discover the life of the mind as lived by well-known scholars such as David Grene, Jacob Klein, and Benardete's mentor Leo Strauss. We also encounter a number of other learned, devoted, and sometimes eccentric luminaries, including T.S. Eliot, James Baldwin, Werner Jaeger, John Davidson Beazley, and Willard Quine. In the book's second part, Benardete reflects on his own intellectual growth and on his ever-evolving understanding of the texts and ideas he spent a lifetime studying. Revisiting some of his recurrent themes—among them eros and the beautiful, the city and the law, and the gods and the human soul—Benardete shares his views on thinkers such as Plato, Homer, and Heidegger, as well as the relations between philosophy and science and between Christianity and ancient Roman thought.

Engaging and informative, Encounters and Reflections brings Benardete's thought to life to enlighten and inspire a new generation of thinkers.
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The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss
Laurence Lampert
University of Chicago Press, 2013
The Enduring Importance of Leo Strauss takes on the crucial task of separating what is truly important in the work of Leo Strauss from the ephemeral politics associated with his school. Laurence Lampert focuses on exotericism: the use of artful rhetoric to simultaneously communicate a socially responsible message to the public at large and a more radical message of philosophic truth to a smaller, more intellectually inclined audience. Largely forgotten after the Enlightenment, exotericism, he shows, deeply informed Strauss both as a reader and as a philosophic writer—indeed, Lampert argues, Strauss learned from the finest practitioners of exoteric writing how to become one himself.

Examining some of Strauss’s most important books and essays through this exoteric lens, Lampert reevaluates not only Strauss but the philosophers—from Plato to Halevi to Nietzsche—with whom Strauss most deeply engaged. Ultimately Lampert shows that Strauss’s famous distinction between ancient and modern thinkers is primarily rhetorical, one of the great examples of Strauss’s exoteric craft. Celebrating Strauss’s achievements while recognizing one main shortcoming—unlike Nietzsche, he failed to appreciate the ramifications of modern natural science for philosophy and its public presentation—Lampert illuminates Strauss as having even greater philosophic importance than we have thought before. 
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Essays in Ancient Philosophy
Michael Frede
University of Minnesota Press, 1987

Essays in Ancient Philosophy was first published in 1987. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

To understand ancient philosophy "in its concrete, complex detail," Michael Frede says, "one has also to look at all the other histories to which it is tied by an intricate web of casual connections which run both ways." Frede's distinctive approach to the history of ancient philosophy is closely tied to his specific interests within the field - the Hellenistic philosophers and those of late antiquity, who are the primary subjects of this book. Long ignored or even maligned, the Stoics and Skeptics, medical philosophers, and grammarians are extremely interesting once their actual views are reconstructed and it is possible to recognize their ties to earlier and later philosophical thought. Refusing to study them as paradigms of achievement, or to seek purely philosophical explanations for their views, Frede draws instead upon those "other histories"—of religion, social structure, law and politics—to illuminate their work and to show how it was interpreted and transformed by succeeding generations.

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Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo
Plato
Harvard University Press, 2017

The fundamental tetralogy on Socrates’ final days.

Plato of Athens, who laid the foundations of the Western philosophical tradition and in range and depth ranks among its greatest practitioners, was born to a prosperous and politically active family circa 427 BC. In early life an admirer of Socrates, Plato later founded the first institution of higher learning in the West, the Academy, among whose many notable alumni was Aristotle. Traditionally ascribed to Plato are thirty-five dialogues developing Socrates’ dialectic method and composed with great stylistic virtuosity, together with the Apology and thirteen letters.

The four works in this volume recount the circumstances of Socrates’ trial and execution in 399 BC. In Euthyphro, set in the weeks before the trial, Socrates and Euthyphro attempt to define holiness. In Apology, Socrates answers his accusers at trial and unapologetically defends his philosophical career. In Crito, a discussion of justice and injustice explains Socrates’ refusal of Crito’s offer to finance his escape from prison. And in Phaedo, Socrates discusses the concept of an afterlife and offers arguments for the immortality of the soul. This edition, which replaces the original Loeb edition by Harold North Fowler, offers text, translation, and annotation that are fully current with modern scholarship.

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Foucault's Askesis
An Introduction to the Philosophical Life
Edward McGushin
Northwestern University Press, 2007
In his renowned courses at the Collège de France from 1982 to 1984, Michel Foucault devoted his lectures to meticulous readings and interpretations of the works of Plato, Epictetus, Seneca, and Marcus Aurelius, among others. In this his aim was not, Edward F. McGushin contends, to develop a new knowledge of the history of philosophy; rather, it was to let himself be transformed by the very activity of thinking. Thus, this work shows us Foucault in the last phase of his life in the act of becoming a philosopher. Here we see how his encounter with ancient philosophy allowed him to experience the practice of philosophy as, to paraphrase Nietzsche, a way of becoming who one is: the work of self-formation that the Greeks called askēsis.

Through a detailed study of Foucault's last courses, McGushin demonstrates that this new way of practicing philosophical askēsis evokes Foucault's ethical resistance to modern relations of power and knowledge. In order to understand Foucault's later project, then, it is necessary to see it within the context of his earlier work. If his earlier projects represented an attempt to bring to light the relations of power and knowledge that narrowed and limited freedom, then this last project represents his effort to take back that freedom by redefining it in terms of care of the self. Foucault always stressed that modern power functions by producing individual subjects. This book shows how his excavation of ancient philosophical practices gave him the tools to counter this function-with a practice of self-formation, an askēsis.
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God of Many Names
Play, Poetry and Power in Hellenic Thought, From Homer to Aristotle
Mihai I. Spariosu
Duke University Press, 1991
Tracing the interrelationship among play, poetic imitation, and power to the Hellenic world, Mihai I. Spariosu provides a revisionist model of cultural change in Greek antiquity. Challenging the traditional and static distinction made between archaic and later Greek culture, Spariosu’s perspective is grounded in a dialectical understanding of values whose dominance depends on cultural emphasis and which shifts through time.
Building upon the scholarship of an earlier volume, Dionysus Reborn, Spariosu her continues to draw on Dionysus—the “God of many names,” of both poetic play and sacred power—as a mythical embodiment of the two sides of the classical Greek mentality. Combining philosophical reflection with close textual analysis, the author examines the divided nature of the Hellenic mentality in such primary canonic texts as the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Theogony, Works and Days, the most well-known of the Presocratic fragments, Euripides’ Bacchae, Aristophanes’ The Frogs, Plato’s Republic and Laws, and Aristotle’s Poetics and Politics.
Spariosu’s model illuminates the many of the most enduring questions in contemporary humanistic study and addresses modern questions about the nature of the interrelation of poetry, ethics, and politics.
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Greek Models of Mind and Self
A. A. Long
Harvard University Press, 2014

This lively book offers a wide-ranging study of Greek notions of mind and human selfhood from Homer through Plotinus. A. A. Long anchors his discussion in questions of recurrent and universal interest. What happens to us when we die? How is the mind or soul related to the body? Are we responsible for our own happiness? Can we achieve autonomy? Long asks when and how these questions emerged in ancient Greece, and shows that Greek thinkers’ modeling of the mind gave us metaphors that we still live by, such as the rule of reason or enslavement to passion. He also interrogates the less familiar Greek notion of the intellect’s divinity, and asks what that might mean for us.

Because Plato’s dialogues articulate these themes more sharply and influentially than works by any other Greek thinker, Plato receives the most sustained treatment in this account. But at the same time, Long asks whether Plato’s explanation of the mind and human behavior is more convincing for modern readers than that contained in the older Homeric poems. Turning to later ancient philosophy, especially Stoicism, Long concludes with an exploration of Epictetus’s injunction to live life by making correct use of one’s mental impressions.

An authoritative treatment of Greek modes of self-understanding, Greek Models of Mind and Self demonstrates how ancient thinkers grappled with what is closest to us and yet still most mysterious—our own essence as singular human selves—and how the study of Greek thought can enlarge and enrich our experience.

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The Greeks and Us
Essays in Honor of Arthur W. H. Adkins
Edited by Robert B. Louden and Paul Schollmeier
University of Chicago Press, 1996
Arthur W. H. Adkins's writings have sparked debates among a wide range of scholars over the nature of ancient Greek ethics and its relevance to modern times. Demonstrating the breadth of his influence, the essays in this volume reveal how leading classicists, philosophers, legal theorists, and scholars of religion have incorporated Adkins's thought into their own diverse research.

The timely subjects addressed by the contributors include the relation between literature and moral understanding, moral and nonmoral values, and the contemporary meaning of ancient Greek ethics. The volume also includes an essay from the late Adkins himself illustrating his methodology in an analysis of the "Speech of Lysias" in Plato's Phaedrus.

The Greeks and Us will interest all those concerned with how ancient moral values do or do not differ from our own.

Contributors include Arthur W. H. Adkins, Stephanie Nelson, Martha C. Nussbaum, Paul Schollmeier, James Boyd White, Bernard Williams, and Lee Yearley.

Commentaries by Wendy Doniger, Charles M. Gray, David Grene, Robert B. Louden, Richard Posner, and Candace Vogler.
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How Philosophy Became Socratic
A Study of Plato's "Protagoras," "Charmides," and "Republic"
Laurence Lampert
University of Chicago Press, 2010
Plato’s dialogues show Socrates at different ages, beginning when he was about nineteen and already deeply immersed in philosophy and ending with his execution five decades later. By presenting his model philosopher across a fifty-year span of his life, Plato leads his readers to wonder: does that time period correspond to the development of Socrates’ thought? In this magisterial investigation of the evolution of Socrates’ philosophy, Laurence Lampert answers in the affirmative.

The chronological route that Plato maps for us, Lampert argues, reveals the enduring record of philosophy as it gradually took the form that came to dominate the life of the mind in the West. The reader accompanies Socrates as he breaks with the century-old tradition of philosophy, turns to his own path, gradually enters into a deeper understanding of nature and human nature, and discovers the successful way to transmit his wisdom to the wider world. Focusing on the final and most prominent step in that process and offering detailed textual analysis of Plato’s Protagoras, Charmides, and Republic, How Philosophy Became Socratic charts Socrates’ gradual discovery of a proper politics to shelter and advance philosophy.
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Inventing Superstition
Dale B. Martin
Harvard University Press, 2004

The Roman author Pliny the Younger characterizes Christianity as “contagious superstition”; two centuries later the Christian writer Eusebius vigorously denounces Greek and Roman religions as vain and impotent “superstitions.” The term of abuse is the same, yet the two writers suggest entirely different things by “superstition.”

Dale Martin provides the first detailed genealogy of the idea of superstition, its history over eight centuries, from classical Greece to the Christianized Roman Empire of the fourth century C.E. With illuminating reference to the writings of philosophers, historians, and medical teachers he demonstrates that the concept of superstition was invented by Greek intellectuals to condemn popular religious practices and beliefs, especially the belief that gods or other superhuman beings would harm people or cause disease. Tracing the social, political, and cultural influences that informed classical thinking about piety and superstition, nature and the divine, Inventing Superstition exposes the manipulation of the label of superstition in arguments between Greek and Roman intellectuals on the one hand and Christians on the other, and the purposeful alteration of the idea by Neoplatonic philosophers and Christian apologists in late antiquity.

Inventing Superstition weaves a powerfully coherent argument that will transform our understanding of religion in Greek and Roman culture and the wider ancient Mediterranean world.

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Isonomia and the Origins of Philosophy
Kojin Karatani
Duke University Press, 2017
In Isonomia and the Origins of Philosophy—published originally in Japanese and now available in four languages—Kōjin Karatani questions the idealization of ancient Athens as the source of philosophy and democracy by placing the origins instead in Ionia, a set of Greek colonies located in present-day Turkey. Contrasting Athenian democracy with Ionian isonomia—a system based on non-rule and a lack of social divisions whereby equality is realized through the freedom to immigrate—Karatani shows how early Greek thinkers from Heraclitus to Pythagoras were inseparably linked to the isonomia of their Ionian origins, not democracy. He finds in isonomia a model for how an egalitarian society not driven by class antagonism might be put into practice, and resituates Socrates's work and that of his intellectual heirs as the last philosophical attempts to practice isonomia's utopic potentials. Karatani subtly interrogates the democratic commitments of Western philosophy from within and argues that the key to transcending their contradictions lies not in Athenian democracy, with its echoes of imperialism, slavery, and exclusion, but in the openness of isonomia.
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Leo Strauss on Plato’s "Protagoras"
Leo Strauss
University of Chicago Press, 2022
A transcript of Leo Strauss’s key seminars on Plato’s Protagoras.
 
This book offers a transcript of Strauss’s seminar on Plato’s Protagoras taught at the University of Chicago in the spring quarter of 1965, edited and introduced by renowned scholar Robert C. Bartlett. These lectures have several important features. Unlike his published writings, they are less dense and more conversational.  Additionally, while Strauss regarded himself as a Platonist and published some work on Plato, he published little on individual dialogues. In these lectures Strauss treats many of the great Platonic and Straussian themes: the difference between the Socratic political science or art and the Sophistic political science or art of Protagoras; the character and teachability of virtue, its relation to knowledge, and the relations among the virtues, courage, justice, moderation, and wisdom; the good and the pleasant; frankness and concealment; the role of myth; and the relation between freedom of thought and freedom of speech.
 
In these lectures, Strauss examines Protagoras and the sophists, providing a detailed discussion of Protagoras as it relates to Plato’s other dialogues and the work of modern thinkers. This book should be of special interest to students both of Plato and of Strauss.
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The Lucretian Renaissance
Philology and the Afterlife of Tradition
Gerard Passannante
University of Chicago Press, 2011
With The Lucretian Renaissance, Gerard Passannante offers a radical rethinking of a familiar narrative: the rise of materialism in early modern Europe. Passannante begins by taking up the ancient philosophical notion that the world is composed of two fundamental opposites: atoms, as the philosopher Epicurus theorized, intrinsically unchangeable and moving about the void; and the void itself, or nothingness. Passannante considers the fact that this strain of ancient Greek philosophy survived and was transmitted to the Renaissance primarily by means of a poem that had seemingly been lost—a poem insisting that the letters of the alphabet are like the atoms that make up the universe.
 
By tracing this elemental analogy through the fortunes of Lucretius’s On the Nature of Things, Passannante argues that, long before it took on its familiar shape during the Scientific Revolution, the philosophy of atoms and the void reemerged in the Renaissance as a story about reading and letters—a story that materialized in texts, in their physical recomposition, and in their scattering.
 
From the works of Virgil and Macrobius to those of Petrarch, Poliziano, Lambin, Montaigne, Bacon, Spenser, Gassendi, Henry More, and Newton, The Lucretian Renaissance recovers a forgotten history of materialism in humanist thought and scholarly practice and asks us to reconsider one of the most enduring questions of the period: what does it mean for a text, a poem, and philosophy to be “reborn”?
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Lysis. Symposium. Phaedrus
Plato
Harvard University Press, 2022

Platonic forms of love.

Plato of Athens, who laid the foundations of the Western philosophical tradition and in range and depth ranks among its greatest practitioners, was born to a prosperous and politically active family circa 427 BC. In early life an admirer of Socrates, Plato later founded the first institution of higher learning in the West, the Academy, among whose many notable alumni was Aristotle. Traditionally ascribed to Plato are thirty-five dialogues developing Socrates’ dialectic method and composed with great stylistic virtuosity, together with the Apology and thirteen letters.

The three works in this volume, though written at different stages of Plato’s career, are set toward the end of Socrates’ life (from 416) and explore the relationship between two people known as love (erōs) or friendship (philia). In Lysis, Socrates meets two young men exercising in a wrestling school during a religious festival. In Symposium, Socrates attends a drinking party along with several accomplished friends to celebrate the young tragedian Agathon’s victory in the Lenaia festival of 416: the topic of conversation is love. And in Phaedrus, Socrates and his eponymous interlocutor escape the midsummer heat of the city to the banks of the river Ilissus, where speeches by both on the subject of love lead to a critical discussion of the current state of the theory and practice of rhetoric.

This edition, which replaces the original Loeb editions by Sir Walter R. M. Lamb and by Harold North Fowler, offers text, translation, and annotation that are fully current with modern scholarship.

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Memorabilia. Oeconomicus. Symposium. Apology
Xenophon
Harvard University Press

Socrates without Plato.

Xenophon (ca. 430 to ca. 354 BC), a member of a wealthy but politically quietist Athenian family and an admirer of Socrates, left Athens in 401 BC to serve as a mercenary commander for Cyrus the Younger of Persia, then joined the staff of King Agesilaus II of Sparta before settling in Elis and, in the aftermath of the battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, retiring to Corinth. His historical and biographical works, Socratic dialogues and reminiscences, and short treatises on hunting, horsemanship, economics, and the Spartan constitution are richly informative about his own life and times.

This volume collects Xenophon’s portrayals of his associate, Socrates. In Memorabilia (or Memoirs of Socrates) and in Oeconomicus, a dialogue about household management, we see the philosopher through Xenophon’s eyes. Here, as in the accompanying Symposium, we also obtain insight on life in Athens. The volume concludes with Xenophon’s Apology, an interesting complement to Plato’s account of Socrates’ defense at his trial.

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The Mirror of the Self
Sexuality, Self-Knowledge, and the Gaze in the Early Roman Empire
Shadi Bartsch
University of Chicago Press, 2006
People in the ancient world thought of vision as both an ethical tool and a tactile sense, akin to touch. Gazing upon someone—or oneself—was treated as a path to philosophical self-knowledge, but the question of tactility introduced an erotic element as well.  In The Mirror of the Self, Shadi Bartsch asserts that these links among vision, sexuality, and self-knowledge are key to the classical understanding of the self. 

Weaving together literary theory, philosophy, and social history, Bartsch traces this complex notion of self from Plato’s Greece to Seneca’s Rome. She starts by showing how ancient authors envisioned the mirror as both a tool for ethical self-improvement and, paradoxically, a sign of erotic self-indulgence. Her reading of the Phaedrus, for example, demonstrates that the mirroring gaze in Plato, because of its sexual possibilities, could not be adopted by Roman philosophers and their students. Bartsch goes on to examine the Roman treatment of the ethical and sexual gaze, and she traces how self-knowledge, the philosopher’s body, and the performance of virtue all played a role in shaping the Roman understanding of the nature of selfhood. Culminating in a profoundly original reading of Medea, The Mirror of the Self illustrates how Seneca, in his Stoic quest for self-knowledge, embodies the Roman view, marking a new point in human thought about self-perception.

Bartsch leads readers on a journey that unveils divided selves, moral hypocrisy, and lustful Stoics—and offers fresh insights about seminal works. At once sexy and philosophical, The Mirror of the Self will be required reading for classicists, philosophers, and anthropologists alike.
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The Nature of Political Philosophy
And Other Studies and Commentaries
James V. Schall
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
In his final collection of essays, Father Schall explores the life of faith across a dazzling array of subjects, from Martin Luther to bioethics. With his characteristic patience, brilliance, and careful tenacity, Father Schall interrogates profoundly what it means to try to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God in the city of Man. Never shying away from controversy, across 14 articles and 4 book reviews Father Schall investigates the critical themes of his life and scholarship: reason and revelation; the nature of modernity; literature and salvation; metaphysics and politics; and much more. Whether the reader is new to Father Schall or a longtime student, this posthumously-published collection of essays offers a profound meditation on the nature of political philosophy, and particularly what it would mean for Catholicism to offer a political philosophy. From such fundamental considerations, Schall explores ethical, literary and legal themes, displaying his typical breadth and depth of engagement with all that is real. Ultimately, Father Schall leads one on a Socratic enterprise, an education whereby one comes to question for oneself basic assumptions, and to dig deeper into the first principles as they are recalled in the orders of knowledge and being. While Father Schall has passed on to his reward, this collection of essays helps ensure that his lessons continue to guide, challenge and enrich students for generations to come.
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Necessity or Contingency
The Master Argument
Jules Vuillemin
CSLI, 1996
The Master Argument, recorded by Epictetus, indicates that Diodorus had deduced a contradiction from the conjoint assertion of three propositions. The Argument, which has to do with necessity and contingency and therefore with freedom, has attracted the attention of logicians above all. There have been many attempts at reconstructing it in logical terms, without excessive worry about historical plausibility and with the foregone conclusion that it was sophistic since it directly imperilled our common sense notion of freedom. This text takes exception to recent tradition, translating the propositions into logical terms. The propositions figuring in The Master Argument are interpreted in terms of temporal modal logic where both the modalities and the statements they govern have chronological indices. This means that the force of the argument comes not from purely logical or modal considerations, but from our experience of time.
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Oikonomia
Ancient Greek Philosophers on the Meaning of Economic Life
Étienne Helmer
University of Chicago Press, 2024
A detailed analysis of oikonomia, an underexplored branch of knowledge in ancient Greek philosophy.
 
In this book, Étienne Helmer offers a comprehensive analysis of oikonomia in ancient Greek philosophy. Despite its similarity to the word “economy,” for the ancients, oikonomia named a branch of knowledge—the science of management—that was aimed at studying the practices we engage in to satisfy our needs. This began with the domestic sphere, but it radiated outward from the oikos (house) to encompass broader issues in the polis (city) as well. Helmer explores topics such as gender roles and marriage, property and the household, the acquisition and preservation of material goods, and how Greek philosophers addressed the issue of slavery in the ancient world. Even if we are not likely to share many of ancient thinkers’ beliefs today, Helmer shows that there was once a way of thinking of “economic life” that went beyond the mere accumulation of wealth, representing a key point of departure for understanding how to inhabit the world with others.
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On the Nature of Things
Lucretius
Harvard University Press, 1975

Atomic atheism in verse.

Lucretius (Titus Lucretius Carus) lived ca. 99–ca. 55 BC, but the details of his career are unknown. He is the author of the great didactic poem in hexameters, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things). In six books compounded of solid reasoning, brilliant imagination, and noble poetry, he expounds the scientific theories of the Greek philosopher Epicurus, with the aim of dispelling fear of the gods and fear of death and so enabling man to attain peace of mind and happiness.

In Book 1 he establishes the general principles of the atomic system, refutes the views of rival physicists, and proves the infinity of the universe and of its two ultimate constituents, matter and void. In Book 2 he explains atomic movement, the variety of atomic shapes, and argues that the atoms lack color, sensation, and other secondary qualities. In Book 3 he expounds the nature and composition of mind and spirit, proves their mortality, and argues that there is nothing to fear in death. Book 4 explains the nature of sensation and thought, and ends with an impressive account of sexual love. Book 5 describes the nature and formation of our world, astronomical phenomena, the beginnings of life on earth, and the development of civilization. In Book 6 the poet explains various atmospheric and terrestrial phenomena, including thunder, lightning, earthquakes, volcanoes, the magnet, and plagues.

The work is distinguished by the fervor and poetry of the author.

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Our Divine Double
Charles M. Stang
Harvard University Press, 2016

What if you were to discover that you were not entirely you, but rather one half of a whole, that you had, in other words, a divine double? In the second and third centuries CE, this idea gripped the religious imagination of the Eastern Mediterranean, providing a distinctive understanding of the self that has survived in various forms throughout the centuries, down to the present. Our Divine Double traces the rise of this ancient idea that each person has a divine counterpart, twin, or alter-ego, and the eventual eclipse of this idea with the rise of Christian conciliar orthodoxy.

Charles Stang marshals an array of ancient sources: from early Christianity, especially texts associated with the apostle Thomas “the twin”; from Manichaeism, a missionary religion based on the teachings of the “apostle of light” that had spread from Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean; and from Neoplatonism, a name given to the renaissance of Platonism associated with the third-century philosopher Plotinus. Each of these traditions offers an understanding of the self as an irreducible unity-in-duality. To encounter one’s divine double is to embark on a path of deification that closes the gap between image and archetype, human and divine.

While the figure of the divine double receded from the history of Christianity with the rise of conciliar orthodoxy, it survives in two important discourses from late antiquity: theodicy, or the problem of evil; and Christology, the exploration of how the Incarnate Christ is both human and divine.

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Philodemus in Italy
The Books from Herculaneum
Marcello Gigante
University of Michigan Press, 2002
A lively and concise survey of current scholarship on difficult but fascinating texts by this Epicurean poet and philosopher
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Philosophical Orations, Volume I
Maximus of Tyre
Harvard University Press, 2023

A Platonic evangelist’s lectures on the good life.

Maximus of Tyre, active probably in the latter half of the second century AD, was a devoted Platonist whose only surviving work consists of forty-one brief addresses on various topics of ethical, philosophical, and theological import including the nature of divinity, the immortality of the soul, the sources of good and evil, the injustice of vengeance, the tyranny of pleasures and desires, the contribution of the liberal arts, and the pursuit of happiness, among many others. These addresses are conveniently labeled orations, but their fluid and hybrid style resists precise generic categorization, so that they could also be called discourses, speeches, lectures, talks, inquiries, essays, or even sermons.

In his orations Maximus strove to elucidate the philosophical life of virtue, especially as exemplified in the career of Socrates and in the writings of Plato, inviting his audience, sometimes addressed as young men, to share in his knowledge, to appreciate his fresh presentation of philosophical topics, and perhaps even to join him in pursuing philosophy. Drawing on the Hellenic cultural tradition from Homer to the death of Alexander the Great, Maximus offers a rich collection of the famous philosophical, literary, and historical figures, events, ideas, successes, and failures that constituted Greek paideia in the so-called Second Sophistic era.

This edition of Maximus’ Philosophical Orations offers a fresh translation, ample annotation, and a text fully informed by current scholarship.

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Philosophical Orations, Volume II
Maximus of Tyre
Harvard University Press, 2023

A Platonic evangelist’s lectures on the good life.

Maximus of Tyre, active probably in the latter half of the second century AD, was a devoted Platonist whose only surviving work consists of forty-one brief addresses on various topics of ethical, philosophical, and theological import including the nature of divinity, the immortality of the soul, the sources of good and evil, the injustice of vengeance, the tyranny of pleasures and desires, the contribution of the liberal arts, and the pursuit of happiness, among many others. These addresses are conveniently labeled orations, but their fluid and hybrid style resists precise generic categorization, so that they could also be called discourses, speeches, lectures, talks, inquiries, essays, or even sermons.

In his orations Maximus strove to elucidate the philosophical life of virtue, especially as exemplified in the career of Socrates and in the writings of Plato, inviting his audience, sometimes addressed as young men, to share in his knowledge, to appreciate his fresh presentation of philosophical topics, and perhaps even to join him in pursuing philosophy. Drawing on the Hellenic cultural tradition from Homer to the death of Alexander the Great, Maximus offers a rich collection of the famous philosophical, literary, and historical figures, events, ideas, successes, and failures that constituted Greek paideia in the so-called Second Sophistic era.

This edition of Maximus’ Philosophical Orations offers a fresh translation, ample annotation, and a text fully informed by current scholarship.

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Placita
Aetius
Harvard University Press, 2023

An ancient compendium of ancient philosophy.

Placita (Tenets), generally attributed to an author named Aëtius and dating from the late first or early second century AD, was a compendium setting out in summary fashion the principal doctrines and opinions of philosophers and philosophical schools in response to questions and topics in the domain of natural philosophy. Now lost, Placita can be largely reconstructed from the work of three authors working in the period from the second to the fifth century (Pseudo-Plutarch, Stobaeus, and Theodoret) who quote from it extensively.

Placita is organized into five books: First Principles; Cosmology; Meteorology and the Earth; Psychology; and Physiology. Each chapter contains a list of short opinions or tenets, which are ascribed to an individual philosopher and/or school and usually arranged in sections that stress the variety and contrast of the teachings concerned.

Designed as a multi-purpose resource, Placita long served as a manual of neatly packaged doxographic material on a wide variety of topics, to be used for study, as an aide-mémoire, for displays of erudition, for persuasion in rhetorical or apologetic contexts, and for personal enlightenment, and it remains a valuable source for our knowledge of Presocratic and Hellenistic philosophy.

This edition of Aëtius’ Placita offers a fresh translation, ample annotation, and a text fully informed by the latest scholarship.

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Plotinus Ennead I.5
On Whether Well-Being Increases with Time: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
Danielle A. Layne
Parmenides Publishing, 2023
In Ennead I.5 Plotinus attempts to navigate a well-trodden path of inquiry by directly responding to a wide spectrum of popular theories on human flourishing, and insisting emphatically that well-being belongs to the present moment. Indeed, Aristotle—with his insistence that well-being be measured by “a complete life” (Nicomachean Ethics 1098a16–20) or a life measured by virtue, a modus vivendi sustained via the development of appropriate habits (hexis) and the avoidance of misfortunes—is one of Plotinus’ central targets. Nevertheless, it is also obvious that the Hellenistic schools, with their almost evangelical insistence that happiness is available to practitioners in the immediacy of the “now,” take pride of place in Plotinus’ short treatise on the subject. Layne analyzes in depth Plotinus’ unique conception of the value of the present moment by highlighting his dialogue with Aristotle and Hellenistic conceptions of the soul, pleasure and pain, time and eternity, and so forth.
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Plotinus Ennead II.4
On Matter: Translation with an Introduction and Commentary
A.A. Long
Parmenides Publishing, 2022
In Ennead II.4 Plotinus investigates the question of what underlies the forms that constitute the contents of our minds and senses. Aristotle had called this substrate “matter,” and Stoic philosophers followed suit. With a critical review of their notions, and reference to Plato’s so-called Receptacle, Plotinus develops an account of matter that makes it a supremely negative entity. How he describes the indescribable, and how he justifies incorporeal matter’s indispensability to bodies, are highlights of this tenaciously argued essay.
 
A. A. Long translates and interprets Plotinus’ treatise on the matter that underlies all physical and intelligible beings. With a wide-ranging introduction and probing analysis of details, he explains the intricate structure of the text. The book will appeal to everyone interested in the history of Platonism and ancient Greek theories of the world’s ultimate principles.
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Plotinus
Myth, Metaphor, and Philosophical Practice
Stephen R. L. Clark
University of Chicago Press, 2016
Plotinus, the Roman philosopher (c. 204-270 CE) who is widely regarded as the founder of Neoplatonism, was also the creator of numerous myths, images, and metaphors. They have influenced both secular philosophers and Christian and Muslim theologians, but have frequently been dismissed by modern scholars as merely ornamental. In this book, distinguished philosopher Stephen R. L. Clark shows that they form a vital set of spiritual exercises by which individuals can achieve one of Plotinus’s most important goals: self-transformation through contemplation.
           
Clark examines a variety of Plotinus’s myths and metaphors within the cultural and philosophical context of his time, asking probing questions about their contemplative effects. What is it, for example, to “think away the spatiality” of material things? What state of mind is Plotinus recommending when he speaks of love, or drunkenness, or nakedness? What star-like consciousness is intended when he declares that we were once stars or are stars eternally? What does it mean to say that the soul goes around God? And how are we supposed to “bring the god in us back to the god in all”? Through these rich images and structures, Clark casts Plotinus as a philosopher deeply concerned with philosophy as a way of life. 
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The Pocket Stoic
John Sellars
University of Chicago Press, 2020
To counter the daily anxieties, stress, and emotional swings caused by the barrage of stimuli that plagues modern life, many people have been finding unexpected solace in a philosophy from a very different and distant time: Stoicism. Today, more than 100,000 people are members of online communities for modern Stoics, and there are annual conferences, meet-ups, and workshops for those aspiring to walk the Stoic path. But what is Stoicism, and what makes it resonate so powerfully today?
 
As John Sellars shows in The Pocket Stoic, the popular image of the isolated and unfeeling Stoic hardly does justice to the rich vein of thought that we find in the work of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius, the three great Roman Stoics. Their works are recognized classics, and for good reason—they speak to some of the perennial issues that face anyone trying to navigate their way through life. These writings, fundamentally, are about how to live—how to understand your place in the world, how to cope when things don’t go well, how to manage your emotions, how to behave toward others, and finally, how to live a good life. To be a Stoic is to recognize that much of the suffering in your life is due to the way you think about things, and that you have the ability to train your mind to look at the world in a new way—to recognize what you can and cannot control and to turn adversity into opportunity.
 
Concise and accessible, The Pocket Stoic provides a welcome introduction to the lives and thought of the key Stoics. It is also a perfect guide to help you start incorporating the practice of Stoicism into your everyday approach to life.
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Poetic Justice
Rereading Plato's "Republic"
Jill Frank
University of Chicago Press, 2018
When Plato set his dialogs, written texts were disseminated primarily by performance and recitation. He wrote them, however, when literacy was expanding. Jill Frank argues that there are unique insights to be gained from appreciating Plato’s dialogs as written texts to be read and reread. At the center of these insights are two distinct ways of learning to read in the dialogs. One approach that appears in the Statesman, Sophist, and Protagoras, treats learning to read as a top-down affair, in which authoritative teachers lead students to true beliefs. Another, recommended by Socrates, encourages trial and error and the formation of beliefs based on students’ own fallible experiences. In all of these dialogs, learning to read is likened to coming to know or understand something. Given Plato’s repeated presentation of the analogy between reading and coming to know, what can these two approaches tell us about his dialogs’ representations of philosophy and politics?           

With Poetic Justice, Jill Frank overturns the conventional view that the Republic endorses a hierarchical ascent to knowledge and the authoritarian politics associated with that philosophy. When learning to read is understood as the passive absorption of a teacher’s beliefs, this reflects the account of Platonic philosophy as authoritative knowledge wielded by philosopher kings who ruled the ideal city. When we learn to read by way of the method Socrates introduces in the Republic, Frank argues, we are offered an education in ethical and political self-governance, one that prompts citizens to challenge all claims to authority, including those of philosophy.
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Prefaces To Unwritten Works
Friedrich Nietzsche
St. Augustine's Press, 2005

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Retracing the Platonic Text
John Russon and John Sallis
Northwestern University Press, 1999
Written from a Continental perspective, Retracing the Platonic Text reveals dimensions of the dialogues that are not addressed by traditional philosophy. These essays by prominent scholars focus on the texts' literary elements, in particular challenges to contemporary interpretations of the Platonic dialogue as a whole. The result illustrates the depth of Platonic thought and the debt of all philosophy to it. Retracing the Platonic Text is a pioneering effort in demonstrating how Continental philosophy both reflects and expands upon Greek philosophy.
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Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw
Animals, Language, Sensation
Debra Hawhee
University of Chicago Press, 2017
We tend to think of rhetoric as a solely human art. After all, only humans can use language artfully to make a point, the very definition of rhetoric.

Yet when you look at ancient and early modern treatises on rhetoric, what you find is surprising: they’re crawling with animals. With Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw, Debra Hawhee explores this unexpected aspect of early thinking about rhetoric, going on from there to examine the enduring presence of nonhuman animals in rhetorical theory and education. In doing so, she not only offers a counter-history of rhetoric but also brings rhetorical studies into dialogue with animal studies, one of the most vibrant areas of interest in humanities today. By removing humanity and human reason from the center of our study of argument, Hawhee frees up space to study and emphasize other crucial components of communication, like energy, bodies, and sensation.

Drawing on thinkers from Aristotle to Erasmus, Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw tells a new story of the discipline’s history and development, one animated by the energy, force, liveliness, and diversity of our relationships with our “partners in feeling,” other animals.
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The Rhetoric of Plato's Republic
Democracy and the Philosophical Problem of Persuasion
James L. Kastely
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Plato isn’t exactly thought of as a champion of democracy, and perhaps even less as an important rhetorical theorist. In this book, James L. Kastely recasts Plato in just these lights, offering a vivid new reading of one of Plato’s most important works: the Republic. At heart, Kastely demonstrates, the Republic is a democratic epic poem and pioneering work in rhetorical theory. Examining issues of justice, communication, persuasion, and audience, he uncovers a seedbed of theoretical ideas that resonate all the way up to our contemporary democratic practices.  
           
As Kastely shows, the Republic begins with two interrelated crises: one rhetorical, one philosophical. In the first, democracy is defended by a discourse of justice, but no one can take this discourse seriously because no one can see—in a world where the powerful dominate the weak—how justice is a value in itself. That value must be found philosophically, but philosophy, as Plato and Socrates understand it, can reach only the very few. In order to reach its larger political audience, it must become rhetoric; it must become a persuasive part of the larger culture—which, at that time, meant epic poetry. Tracing how Plato and Socrates formulate this transformation in the Republic, Kastely isolates a crucial theory of persuasion that is central to how we talk together about justice and organize ourselves according to democratic principles. 
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Rome as a Guide to the Good Life
A Philosophical Grand Tour
Scott Samuelson
University of Chicago Press, 2023
A unique, portable guidebook that sketches Rome’s great philosophical tradition while also providing an engaging travel companion to the city.
 
This is a guidebook to Rome for those interested in both la dolce vita and what the ancient Romans called the vita beata—the good life. Philosopher Scott Samuelson offers a thinker’s tour of the Eternal City, rooting ideas from this philosophical tradition within the geography of the city itself. As he introduces the city’s great works of art and its most famous sites—the Colosseum, the Forum, the Campo de’ Fiori—Samuelson also gets to the heart of the knotty ethical and emotional questions they pose. Practicing philosophy in place, Rome as a Guide to the Good Life tackles the profound questions that most tours of Rome only bracket. What does all this history tell us about who we are?

In addition to being a thoughtful philosophical companion, Samuelson is also a memorable tour guide, taking us on plenty of detours and pausing to linger over an afternoon Negroni, sample four classic Roman pastas, or explore the city’s best hidden gems. With Samuelson’s help, we understand why Rome has inspired philosophers such as Lucretius and Seneca, poets and artists such as Horace and Caravaggio, filmmakers like Fellini, and adventurers like Rosa Bathurst. This eclectic guidebook to Roman philosophy is for intrepid wanderers and armchair travelers alike—anyone who wants not just a change of scenery, but a change of soul.
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The Science of Man in Ancient Greece
Maria Michela Sassi
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Although the ancient Greeks did not have an anthropology as we know it, they did have an acute interest in human nature, especially questions of difference. What makes men different from women, slaves different from free men, barbarians different from Greeks? Are these differences visible in the body? How can they be classified and explained?

Maria Michela Sassi reconstructs Greek attempts to answer such questions from Homer's day to late antiquity, ranging across physiognomy, ethnography, geography, medicine, and astrology. Sassi demonstrates that in the Greek science of man, empirical observations were inextricably bound up with a prejudiced view of the free Greek male as superior to all others. Thus, because women were assumed to have pale skin from staying indoors too much, Greek biology and medicine sought to explain this feature as an indication of the "cold" nature of women, as opposed to the "hot" constitution of men.

For this English translation, Sassi has rewritten the introduction and updated the text and references throughout, and Sir Geoffrey Lloyd has provided a new foreword.
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The Second Alcibiades
A Platonist Dialogue on Prayer and on Ignorance
Harold Tarrant
Parmenides Publishing, 2023
Providing a challenging new interpretation of the Second Alcibiades from the Platonic corpus, this treatment sees the dialogue not only as a work of philosophic ethics, but also as one steeped in ancient literature, particularly Euripidean tragedy. The dialogue’s philosophy is underpinned by an epistemology paying special attention to one’s personal viewpoint, as its language shows. Dramatically, it presents a Socrates who falls into a similar trap from the one he steers Alcibiades away from, facing the dangers of a tragic character thanks to their mutual attraction. Understood in this way the dialogue, here retranslated to bring out such features, is revealed as the work of an author with linguistic and literary gifts who is deeply conscious of the human condition. While reminiscent of the Academic Skeptic picture of Plato, it is the work of somebody still moving cautiously in that direction.
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Seeming and Being in Plato’s Rhetorical Theory
Robin Reames
University of Chicago Press, 2018
The widespread understanding of language in the West is that it represents the world. This view, however, has not always been commonplace. In fact, it is a theory of language conceived by Plato, culminating in The Sophist. In that dialogue Plato introduced the idea of statements as being either true or false, where the distinction between falsity and truth rests on a deeper discrepancy between appearance and reality, or seeming and being. 

Robin Reames’s Seeming & Being in Plato’s Rhetorical Theory marks a shift in Plato scholarship. Reames argues that an appropriate understanding of rhetorical theory in Plato’s dialogues illuminates how he developed the technical vocabulary needed to construct the very distinctions between seeming and being that separate true from false speech. By engaging with three key movements of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Plato scholarship—the rise and subsequent marginalization of “orality and literacy theory,” Heidegger’s controversial critique of Platonist metaphysics, and the influence of literary or dramatic readings of the dialogues—Reames demonstrates how the development of Plato’s rhetorical theory across several of his dialogues (Gorgias, Phaedrus, Protagoras, Theaetetus, Cratylus, Republic, and Sophist) has been both neglected and misunderstood.
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Socrates among Strangers
Joseph P. Lawrence
Northwestern University Press, 2015

In Socrates among Strangers, Joseph P. Lawrence reclaims the enigmatic sage from those who have seen him either as a prophet of science, seeking the security of knowledge, or as a wily actor who shed light on the dangerous world of politics while maintaining a prudent distance from it. The Socrates Lawrence seeks is the imprudent one, the man who knew how to die.

The institutionalization of philosophy in the modern world has come at the cost of its most vital concern: the achievement of life wisdom. Those who have ceased to grow (those who think they know) close their ears to the wisdom of strangers—and Socrates, who stood face to face with death, is the archetypal stranger. His avowal of ignorance, Lawrence suggests, is more needed than ever in an age defined by technical mastery and expert knowledge.

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Socrates and the Jews
Hellenism and Hebraism from Moses Mendelssohn to Sigmund Freud
Miriam Leonard
University of Chicago Press, 2012

"What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Asked by the early Christian Tertullian, the question was vigorously debated in the nineteenth century. While classics dominated the intellectual life of Europe, Christianity still prevailed and conflicts raged between the religious and the secular. Taking on the question of how the glories of the classical world could be reconciled with the Bible, Socrates and the Jews explains how Judaism played a vital role in defining modern philhellenism.

Exploring the tension between Hebraism and Hellenism, Miriam Leonard gracefully probes the philosophical tradition behind the development of classical philology and considers how the conflict became a preoccupation for the leading thinkers of modernity, including Matthew Arnold, Moses Mendelssohn, Kant, Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. For each, she shows how the contrast between classical and biblical traditions is central to writings about rationalism, political subjectivity, and progress. Illustrating how the encounter between Athens and Jerusalem became a lightning rod for intellectual concerns, this book is a sophisticated addition to the history of ideas.
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Socrates' Children
Ancient: The 100 Greatest Philosophers
Peter Kreeft
St. Augustine's Press, 2019

This is the first of a four-volume history of philosophy . . . on ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy. After the fourth volume is produced in paper, a one-volume clothbound edition, containing all four paperbound editions, will be published.

Kreeft focuses on the “big ideas” that have influenced present people and present times, and includes relevant biographical data, proportionate to its importance for each thinker. Moreover, the aim of the work is to stimulate philosophizing, controversy, and argument. It uses ordinary language and logic, not jargon and symbolic logic, and it is commonsensical (like Aristotle) and existential in the sense that it sees philosophy as something to be lived and experienced in life. Philosophy, after all, is not about philosophy but reality . . . about wisdom, life and death, good and evil, and God.

Kreeft seeks to be simple and direct and clear. But it is not dumbed down and patronizing. It will stretch the reader, but it is meant for beginners, not just scholars. It can be used for college classes or do-it-yourselfers. It emphasizes surprises; remember, “philosophy begins in wonder.” And it includes visual aids: charts, cartoons, line drawings, and drawings of each philosopher.

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The Socratic Paradox and Its Enemies
Roslyn Weiss
University of Chicago Press, 2006
In The Socratic Paradox and Its Enemies, Roslyn Weiss argues that the Socratic paradoxes—no one does wrong willingly, virtue is knowledge, and all the virtues are one—are best understood as Socrates’ way of combating sophistic views: that no one is willingly just, those who are just and temperate are ignorant fools, and only some virtues (courage and wisdom) but not others (justice, temperance, and piety) are marks of true excellence.  
         
In Weiss’s view, the paradoxes express Socrates’ belief that wrongdoing fails to yield the happiness that all people want; it is therefore the unjust and immoderate who are the fools. The paradoxes thus emerge as Socrates’ means of championing the cause of justice in the face of those who would impugn it. Her fresh approach—ranging over six of Plato’s dialogues—is sure to spark debate in philosophy, classics, and political theory.
           
 “Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with Weiss, it would be hard not to admire her extraordinarily penetrating analysis of the many overlapping and interweaving arguments running through the dialogues.”—Daniel B. Gallagher, Classical Outlook
 
“Many scholars of Socratic philosophy . . . will wish they had written Weiss's book, or at least will wish that they had long ago read it.”—Douglas V. Henry, Review of Politics
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The Socratic Way of Life
Xenophon’s “Memorabilia”
Thomas L. Pangle
University of Chicago Press, 2018
The Socratic Way of Life is the first English-language book-length study of the philosopher Xenophon’s masterwork. In it, Thomas L. Pangle shows that Xenophon depicts more authentically than does Plato the true teachings and way of life of the citizen philosopher Socrates, founder of political philosophy.
In the first part of the book, Pangle analyzes Xenophon’s defense of Socrates against the two charges of injustice upon which he was convicted by democratic Athens: impiety and corruption of the youth. In the second part, Pangle analyzes Xenophon’s account of how Socrates’s life as a whole was just, in the sense of helping through his teaching a wide range of people. Socrates taught by never ceasing to raise, and to progress in answering, the fundamental and enduring civic questions: what is pious and impious, noble and ignoble, just and unjust, genuine statesmanship and genuine citizenship. Inspired by Hegel’s and Nietzsche’s assessments of Xenophon as the true voice of Socrates, The Socratic Way of Life establishes the Memorabilia as the groundwork of all subsequent political philosophy.
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Sophistry and Political Philosophy
Protagoras' Challenge to Socrates
Robert C. Bartlett
University of Chicago Press, 2016
One of the central challenges to contemporary political philosophy is the apparent impossibility of arriving at any commonly agreed upon “truths.” As Nietzsche observed in his Will to Power, the currents of relativism that have come to characterize modern thought can be said to have been born with ancient sophistry. If we seek to understand the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary radical relativism, we must therefore look first to the sophists of antiquity—the most famous and challenging of whom is Protagoras.

With Sophistry and Political Philosophy, Robert C. Bartlett provides the first close reading of Plato’s two-part presentation of Protagoras. In the “Protagoras,” Plato sets out the sophist’s moral and political teachings, while the “Theaetetus,” offers a distillation of his theoretical and epistemological arguments. Taken together, the two dialogues demonstrate that Protagoras is attracted to one aspect of conventional morality—the nobility of courage, which in turn is connected to piety. This insight leads Bartlett to a consideration of the similarities and differences in the relationship of political philosophy and sophistry to pious faith. Bartlett’s superb exegesis offers a significant tool for understanding the history of philosophy, but, in tracing Socrates’s response to Protagoras’ teachings, Bartlett also builds toward a richer understanding of both ancient sophistry and what Socrates meant by “political philosophy.”
 
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The Soul of the Greeks
An Inquiry
Michael Davis
University of Chicago Press, 2011

The understanding of the soul in the West has been profoundly shaped by Christianity, and its influence can be seen in certain assumptions often made about the soul: that, for example, if it does exist, it is separable from the body, free, immortal, and potentially pure. The ancient Greeks, however, conceived of the soul quite differently. In this ambitious new work, Michael Davis analyzes works by Homer, Herodotus, Euripides, Plato, and Aristotle to reveal how the ancient Greeks portrayed and understood what he calls “the fully human soul.”


Beginning with Homer’s Iliad, Davis lays out the tension within the soul of Achilles between immortality and life. He then turns to Aristotle’s De Anima and Nicomachean Ethics to explore the consequences of the problem of Achilles across the whole range of the soul’s activity. Moving to Herodotus and Euripides, Davis considers the former’s portrayal of the two extremes of culture—one rooted in stability and tradition, the other in freedom and motion—and explores how they mark the limits of character. Davis then shows how Helen and Iphigeneia among the Taurians serve to provide dramatic examples of Herodotus’s extreme cultures and their consequences for the soul. The book returns to philosophy in the final part, plumbing several Platonic dialogues—the Republic, Cleitophon, Hipparchus, Phaedrus, Euthyphro, and Symposium—to understand the soul’s imperfection in relation to law, justice, tyranny, eros, the gods, and philosophy itself. Davis concludes with Plato’s presentation of the soul of Socrates as self-aware and nontragic, even if it is necessarily alienated and divided against itself.


The Soul of the Greeks thus begins with the imperfect soul as it is manifested in Achilles’ heroic, but tragic, longing and concludes with its nontragic and fuller philosophic expression in the soul of Socrates. But, far from being a historical survey, it is instead a brilliant meditation on what lies at the heart of being human.

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The Theology of Arithmetic
Number Symbolism in Platonism and Early Christianity
Joel Kalvesmaki
Harvard University Press, 2013
In the second century, Valentinians and other gnosticizing Christians used numerical structures and symbols to describe God, interpret the Bible, and frame the universe. In this study of the controversy that resulted, Joel Kalvesmaki shows how earlier neo-Pythagorean and Platonist number symbolism provided the impetus for this theology of arithmetic, and describes the ways in which gnosticizing groups attempted to engage both the Platonist and Christian traditions. He explores the rich variety of number symbolism then in use, among both gnosticizing groups and their orthodox critics, demonstrating how those critics developed an alternative approach to number symbolism that would set the pattern for centuries to come. Arguing that the early dispute influenced the very tradition that inspired it, Kalvesmaki explains how, in the late third and early fourth centuries, numbers became increasingly important to Platonists, who engaged in arithmological constructions and disputes that mirrored the earlier Christian ones.
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The Thinker As Artist
From Homer To Plato and Aristotle
George Anastaplo
Ohio University Press, 1997
In an attempt to subject representative texts of a dozen ancient authors to a more or less Socratic inquiry, the noted scholar George Anastaplo suggests in The Thinker as Artist how one might usefully read as well as enjoy such texts, which illustrate the thinking done by the greatest artists and how they “talk” among themselves across the centuries. In doing so, he does not presume to repeat the many fine things said about these and like authors, but rather he discusses what he himself has noticed about them, text by text. Drawing upon a series of classical authors ranging from Homer and Sappho to Plato and Aristotle, Anastaplo examines issues relating to chance, art, nature, and divinity present in the artful works of philosophers and other thinkers. As he has done in his earlier work, Anastaplo mines the great texts to help us discover who we are and what we should be. Some of the works used are familiar, while others were once better known than they are now. The approach to all of them is fresh and provocative, demonstrating the value of such texts in showing the reader what to look for and how to talk about matters that have always engaged thoughtful human beings. These imaginative yet disciplined discussions of important texts of ancient Greek thought and of Raphael’s The School of Athens should appeal to both the specialist and the general reader.
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Thomas Aquinas and His Predecessors
The Philosophers and the Church Fathers
Leo J. Elders
Catholic University of America Press, 2018
Thomas Aquinas and His Predecessors takes us on a voyage through the history of philosophical thought as present in the works of Thomas Aquinas. It is a synthetic presentation of the works and thought of the great predecessors of Aquinas, as he kne
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Time, Creation and the Continuum
Theories in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages
Richard Sorabji
University of Chicago Press, 2006
Richard Sorabji here takes time as his central theme, exploring fundamental questions about its nature: Is it real or an aspect of consciousness? Did it begin along with the universe? Can anything escape from it? Does it come in atomic chunks? In addressing these and myriad other issues, Sorabji engages in an illuminating discussion of early thought about time, ranging from Plato and Aristotle to Islamic, Christian, and Jewish medieval thinkers. Sorabji argues that the thought of these often negelected philosophers about the subject is, in many cases, more complete than that of their more recent counterparts.

“Splendid. . . . The canvas is vast, the picture animated, the painter nonpareil. . . . Sorabji’s work will encourage more adventurers to follow him to this fascinating new-found land.”—Jonathan Barnes, Times Literary Supplement

“One of the most important works in the history of metaphysics to appear in English for a considerable time. No one concerned with the problems with which it deals either as a historian of ideas or as a philosopher can afford to neglect it.”—Donald MacKinnon, Scottish Journal of Theology
 
“Unusually readable for such scholarly content, the book provides in rich and cogent terms a lively and well-balanced discussion of matters of concern to a wide academic audience.”—Choice

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Tools and the Organism
Technology and the Body in Ancient Greek and Roman Medicine
Colin Webster
University of Chicago Press, 2023
The first book to show how the concept of bodily organs emerged and how ancient tools influenced conceptualizations of human anatomy and its operations.
 
Medicine is itself a type of technology, involving therapeutic tools and substances, and so one can write the history of medicine as the application of different technologies to the human body. In Tools and the Organism, Colin Webster argues that, throughout antiquity, these tools were crucial to broader theoretical shifts. Notions changed about what type of object a body is, what substances constitute its essential nature, and how its parts interact. By following these changes and taking the question of technology into the heart of Greek and Roman medicine, Webster reveals how the body was first conceptualized as an “organism”—a functional object whose inner parts were tools, or organa, that each completed certain vital tasks. He also shows how different medical tools created different bodies.
 
Webster’s approach provides both an overarching survey of the ways that technologies impacted notions of corporeality and corporeal behaviors and, at the same time, stays attentive to the specific material details of ancient tools and how they informed assumptions about somatic structures, substances, and inner processes. For example, by turning to developments in water-delivery technologies and pneumatic tools, we see how these changing material realities altered theories of the vascular system and respiration across Classical antiquity. Tools and the Organism makes the compelling case for why telling the history of ancient Greco-Roman medical theories, from the Hippocratics to Galen, should pay close attention to the question of technology.
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Virtues of Thought
Aryeh Kosman
Harvard University Press, 2014

Virtues of Thought is an excursion through interconnecting philosophical topics in Plato and Aristotle, under the expert guidance of Aryeh Kosman. Exploring what these two foundational figures have to say about the nature of human awareness and understanding, Kosman concludes that ultimately the virtues of thought are to be found in the joys and satisfactions that come from thinking philosophically, whether we engage in it ourselves or witness others’ participation.

Kosman examines Aristotle’s complex understanding of the role that reason plays in practical choice and moral deliberation, and the specific forms of thinking that are involved in explaining the world and making it intelligible to ourselves and others. Critical issues of consciousness and the connection between thinking and acting in Aristotle’s philosophical psychology lead to a discussion of the importance of emotion in his theory of virtue. Theories of perception and cognition are highlighted in works such as Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics. When his focus turns to Plato, Kosman gives original accounts of several dialogues concerning Plato’s treatment of love, self-knowledge, justice, and the complex virtue known as sophrosyne in such texts as Charmides and the Republic.

Bringing together in a single volume previously unpublished essays along with classics in the field, Virtues of Thought makes a significant contribution to our study of ancient Greek philosophy.

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What Is Ancient Philosophy?
Pierre Hadot
Harvard University Press, 2002

A magisterial mappa mundi of the terrain that Pierre Hadot has so productively worked for decades, this ambitious work revises our view of ancient philosophy—and in doing so, proposes that we change the way we see philosophy itself. Hadot takes ancient philosophy out of its customary realm of names, dates, and arid abstractions and plants it squarely in the thick of life. Through a meticulous historical reading, he shows how the various schools, trends, and ideas of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy all tended toward one goal: to provide a means for achieving happiness in this life, by transforming the individual’s mode of perceiving and being in the world.

Most pressing for Hadot is the question of how the ancients conceived of philosophy. He argues in great detail, systematically covering the ideas of the earliest Greek thinkers, Hellenistic philosophy, and late antiquity, that ancient philosophers were concerned not just to develop philosophical theories, but to practice philosophy as a way of life—a way of life to be suggested, illuminated, and justified by their philosophical “discourse.” For the ancients, philosophical theory and the philosophical way of life were inseparably linked.

What Is Ancient Philosophy? also explains why this connection broke down, most conspicuously in the case of academic, professional philosophers, especially under the influence of Christianity. Finally, Hadot turns to the question of whether and how this connection might be reestablished. Even as it brings ancient thoughts and thinkers to life, this invigorating work provides direction for those who wish to improve their lives by means of genuine philosophical thought.

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Xenophon's Socrates
Leo Strauss
St. Augustine's Press, 2004


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