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 a long way past the modest function of its writer to universal acclaim because the most sensible background of philosophy in English. Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of tremendous erudition who as soon as tangled with A. J. Ayer in a fabled debate in regards to the life of God and the potential of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient diet of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be reduced to simplistic caricatures. Copleston set out to redress the inaccurate by way of writing a whole background of Western philosophy, one crackling with incident and intellectual pleasure -- and person who supplies full place to every philosopher, offering his proposal in a beautifully rounded demeanour and exhibiting his links to those that went ahead of and to those that 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
Philolaus and Eurytus also worked in that city. As to the religious-ascetic ideas and practices of the Pythagoreans, these centred round the idea of purity and purification, the doctrine of the transmigration of souls naturally leading to the promotion of soul-culture. The practice of silence, the influence 1 Cf. Diog. , 8, 8. • Polybius, ii, 39 (D. 14, 16). * Stace, Critical History of Greek Philosophy, p. 33. 4 ap. , 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.
Whether the tale be true or not, the ascription to Pythagoras of the doctrine of metempsychosis may be accepted. The religious revival had brought to fresh life the old idea of the power of the soul and its continued vigour after death—a contrast to the Homeric conception of the gibbering shades of the departed. In such a doctrine as that of the transmigration of souls, the consciousness of personal identity, self-consciousness, is not held in mind or is not regarded as bound up with soul, for in the words of Dr.
The constant fighting of the Greek cities among themselves, even at the heyday of Greek culture, and even when it was to their obvious interest to unite together against a common foe, the constant uprisings within the cities, whether led by an ambitious oligarch or a democratic demagogue, the venality of so many public men in Greek political life—even when the safety and honour of their city was at stake—all manifest the will to power which was so strong in the Greek. The Greek admired efficiency, he admired the ideal of the strong man who knows what he wants and has the power to get it; his conception of iptr/) was largely that of ability to achieve success.
A History of Philosophy, Vol. 1: Greece and Rome From the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus by Frederick Copleston