By Frederick Copleston
Conceived initially as a significant presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A background Of Philosophy has journeyed some distance past the modest objective of its writer to universal acclaim because the most sensible background of philosophy in English. Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of monstrous erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the potential for metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers was once reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the inaccurate through writing an entire background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and person who supplies full place to every philosopher, featuring his proposal in a beautifully rounded demeanour and displaying his links to those that went prior to and to people who came after him.
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Additional info for A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: Greece and Rome From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus
Ps. Plut. , 2 (D. n • Frag. 1. 1 1 A 10). " It is -rt 4»wpov, the substance without limits. " 1 The encroachments of one element on another are poetically represented as instances of injustice, the warm element committing an injustice in summer and the cold in winter. ® This is an instance of the extension of the conception of law from human life to the universe at large. There is a plurality of co-existent worlds which are innumerable. 3 Each is perishable, but there seems to be an unlimited number of them in existence at the same time, the worlds coming into being through eternal motion.
While not agreeing, of course, with Nietzsche's valuations, we cannot but admire his perspicacity in seeing the relation between the Greek culture and the will to power. Not, of course, that the dark side of Greek culture is the only side—far from it. If the drive of the will to power is a fac< so is the Greek ideal of moderation and harmony a fact. We must realise that there are two sides to the Greek character and culture: there is the side of moderation, of art, of Apollo and the Olympian deities, and there is the side of excess, unbridled self-assertion, of Dionysian frenzy, as seen portrayed in the Bacchae of Euripides.
Iv, II, 5 (D. 14, 9). , p. 93, note 5. THE PYTHAGOREAN SOCIETY 3I of music and the study of mathematics were all looked on as v a l u a b l e aids in tending the soul. Yet some of their practices were of a purely external character. If Pythagoras really did forbid the eating of flesh-meat, this may easily have been due to, or at least connected with, the doctrine of metempsychosis; but such purely external rules as are quoted by Diogenes LaSrtius as having been observed by the School can by no stretch of the imagination be called philosophical doctrines.
A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: Greece and Rome From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus by Frederick Copleston